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Old 12-07-2008, 13:19   #1
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Storing fruit and Vegetables....

HELP!!

I seem absolutely unable to keep fresh fruit and veg from going mouldy and horrible in a ridiculously short space of time.
Im not sure what Im doing wrong- are there certain things I shouldn't store with other things? Should things be individually wrapped?

How do you guys keep fresh produce- where do you store it, what do you do with it and how long does it last?!?!?

All ideas welcome (although I especially love the ones which work!!)

P.S - I did a search on this, as I couldn't believe its not been mentioned before, but I couldn't find anything, so sorry if I'm starting something already going... and please direct me to the right place!!
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Old 12-07-2008, 14:27   #2
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Miss-M,

A clarifying question, so answers can be targeted to your specific situation: do you have refrigeration on your boat?
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Old 12-07-2008, 14:31   #3
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What are the weather conditions that exist for you locally? And where do you store your fruits and veggies, normally. The reason I ask these questions is that you used the word "moldy", which I interpreted as growing green, black and grey fuzz after a while. Is this the case? It's going to affect the quality of our answers. Also, what fruits and veggies are you having success with, and which ones are doomed to failure? Do you store them in open bins, closed lockers, nets, sealed jars? What's the air circulation normally in the food storage area?
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Old 12-07-2008, 18:53   #4
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Most fruit and veg gives off ethylene gas in the process of ripening - some give off more gas than others. Bananas are one in particular, that you don't want to store with other fruit, unless you desire it to ripen quickly. Same reason bananas need to be kept where air circulates around them - hanging for instance. I've seen an advert for ethylene-absorbing storage bags - haven't tried them, and they're quite pricey, but they may be what you need. Mould is another issue altogether - it's caused by yeasts and fungus spores wafting around in the air or already present on your fruit. Give it the right conditions and it will thrive. Good ventilation, not storing your produce in a mouldy space, not washing it before you store it (wet fruit = bad) and promptly removing mouldy items will help. Dare I say it, irradiated fruit/veg almost never goes mouldy, and lasts for ages.


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Old 12-07-2008, 19:38   #5
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If you can get Tomatoes that are still somewhat green AND still on the vine, they keep supper well,
Keep Bananas away from any other item, they make other things rippen really fast ?? silean ethelyn gas?? Hang them outside on deck at the stearn.
There are these bags that you can purchase that help keep produce fresh, they can be reused for a while Evert-Fresh Green Produce Bags keep your delicious organics fresher longer!

Got to run now but there are lots and lots of tricks, J

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Old 13-07-2008, 01:35   #6
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All of the cruisers that I've known have used some sort of hanging nets for various categories of fruits. They will swear that this method has extended the life 5 fold. Otherwise, they become spoilt and bruised easily if in containers.. I think..

Can some other cruisers please verify this??
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Old 13-07-2008, 01:45   #7
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Hi all,
Thanks for the replies so far.
Just to clarify, we do have a small refrigeration unit, but it is not big enough for fruit or veg. At the moment we are keeping them in drawers in an area with a fresh air ventilator, but im not sure how well the air is circulating around the food itself- the drawers are quite well sealed. Perhaps I need to drill holes!??
I read somewhere about wrapping veg in newspaper or something- is this a good idea? And if it is, could someone explain why please!!
I dont wash the food before storing. Fruit such as apples, oranges and pears aren't a problem- they seem to keep for quite a while. Lettuce and salad items I know go off quite quickly anyway (although if anyone has luck keeping them for longer, please spill your secret!). The things that are completely confusing me are things like potatoes. In our house we kept a sack of them going for months, but now they dont go more than a week or two without sprouting excessively.
Admittedly, most of my produce now is shop bought rather than farm bought, so that may also be a problem.
Please keep your advice coming, there's some great suggestions here. Thanks
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Old 13-07-2008, 01:48   #8
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Sorry, just realised I missed out a question. I'm in the UK at the moment, where we are apparently having a summer- we're in British Summer Time and everything. However, the weather is cold, rainy, storm force winds and generally unpleasant. I have noticed that things go bad much quicker when its warm. The drawers themselves aren't mouldy- I clean them and disinfect them regularly.
Hope all this clarifies. Thanks
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Old 13-07-2008, 01:55   #9
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We use a small hole cargo net suspended from the ceiling (the other half has a Land Rover and I nicked it from there!). This system allows air to circulate and still gets light. I agree above about bananas and the like and its also very important to check regularly for bruising or signs of mould as one piece can trash the whole lot.
We have a book (I think) its called the Kiss cookery book (or similar) in there it has loads of tips for keeping fresh stuff and also a section on alternatives if you run out of anything. Its around 10 but money well spent.
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Old 13-07-2008, 04:24   #10
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This could be the issue. A small refrigerator is great because it doesn't use much power or take up much space.

For items like lettuce, you will need to refrigerate them, or they will wilt very quickly. Keeping them in a drawer is much like just leaving them out on the table - except there is no light or fresh air movement to prevent mold growth.

All fruits and vegetables (excepting bananas, kiwis, certain tropical fruit) will keep for more than a week in a refrigerator.

If you look closely, you may save money by getting a new refrigerator system, complete with freezer. Sure, it will cost a lot up front, but produce is expensive. Over a few years, the new fridge will pay for itself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by miss-m View Post
Hi all,
Thanks for the replies so far.
Just to clarify, we do have a small refrigeration unit, but it is not big enough for fruit or veg. At the moment we are keeping them in drawers in an area with a fresh air ventilator, but im not sure how well the air is circulating around the food itself- the drawers are quite well sealed. Perhaps I need to drill holes!??
I read somewhere about wrapping veg in newspaper or something- is this a good idea? And if it is, could someone explain why please!!
I dont wash the food before storing. Fruit such as apples, oranges and pears aren't a problem- they seem to keep for quite a while. Lettuce and salad items I know go off quite quickly anyway (although if anyone has luck keeping them for longer, please spill your secret!). The things that are completely confusing me are things like potatoes. In our house we kept a sack of them going for months, but now they dont go more than a week or two without sprouting excessively.
Admittedly, most of my produce now is shop bought rather than farm bought, so that may also be a problem.
Please keep your advice coming, there's some great suggestions here. Thanks
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Old 13-07-2008, 04:37   #11
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This article has a section on storing fruits and vegetables.
Provisioning for the Caribbean - SailNet Community

I've been told by locals not to store citrus fruits with anything else, because they inhibit ripening. Perhaps you could use that to your advantage.
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Old 13-07-2008, 06:26   #12
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Just a couple of hints that worked for us.
We found that cabbage could be kept for several weeks if stored whole, upside down and a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) of common salt placed on the cut section of the stork. To use, just remove the most outer complete leaf at a time. Replenish salt as necessary. This was in Queensland which is quite tropical.
Buy the most fresh were possible - it makes a big difference with storage times assuming the storage conditions are OK
I expect your well sealed drawers are part of the problem. Also guessing that the storage conditions for the potatoes might be replicating planting conditions. Also unwashed potatotes usually store much better than washed ones but around here it very difficult to find unwashed potatotes for sale.
BTW, we cruised for several years in the tropics without refrigeration room for fruit or veg. Just takes some practice and experimentation to find what works. Often had bits of fruit / veg scattered all around the boat so as not to mix different types of food together. e.g. kept root veges together, onions away from most things except garlic etc.
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Old 13-07-2008, 06:41   #13
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Hi, we have a fruit and veg, hamock. You buy your produce greenish...and just sit them there. Lots of air flow. (its just under the head lining of the fore cabin). Daily squeeze and sniff, and use what ever is closest to ripe. ( or closet to edible out the other end!)
We only have an ice chest on little boat so with things like lettuce etc...it is determined by how hot it is. Big boat will have a fridge. Perhaps a big difference is that we get produce very fresh. The growers are close to where we sail and the transport is minimal.
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Old 13-07-2008, 07:09   #14
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Small plastic storage bins with slotted sides to allow air flow for your fruit and veggies is what we do on our boat. It works pretty good. There are several reasons why.

You can move the bins around when you are going to weather and keep them in a place when they aren't going to get bashed around.

When not in use they nest and can be tucked in just about anywhere.

They are easily cleaned.

Also helps with keeping the various friut/vegetable items organized.

For things like lettuce which really is a luxury item (cabbage keeps almost forever and is almost always available) you really have to keep it in the reefer. Unless you are cruising in extremely cold climates, and then I suppose you could even keep the beer secured on the deck and always enjoy a cold one!
Check out the book by Lin and Larry Pardy "The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew". It is full of information and is a good read.
Good Luck.
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Old 13-07-2008, 12:39   #15
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Those green bags work

We've been "out" for five years now and here's what I've found (much of this has already been said, I'm just casting my vote in agreement):

-ventilation ... air is a must to prevent mold/rotten veggies/fruit
-specifically for potatoes do NOT store anywhere near onions
-the evergreen bags (mentioned in previous post) really DO work ... I had a bunch of carrots once and left half out and put half into the bags and sure enough the ones out went bad first. You can get the bags at a reasonable price online. They recommend refrigeration, but I use them in "airy" bins outside the refrig.
-do NOT wash fruits/veggies before storing

The way I work it is to put any critical veggies (those that spoil fast) that I can fit into the refrig (in the green bags); things like lettuce & non-green tomatoes. All other veggies go into green bags and stored in wicker bins. Any time room opens up in the refrig I put in the next "most likely to go bad" vegetable into the frig. Also checking the veggie bins daily does make a difference, as someone pointed out, a rotten veggie in the group will cause everything to go bad that much faster.

My 'guess' on the newspaper is that it helps prevent gases from escaping and also keeps the veggie/fruit dark - both of which slow down ripening. In really humid climates wipe down bins or inside any storage bags periodically to prevent moisture build up.
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