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Is there any REAL way to keep veggies and fruit fresh?

Discussion in 'Recipes and Cooking' started by Angelic Rose, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. I live about 40 minutes from NYC in an apartment where I have a tiny front yard and a tiny back yard. I've been successful with growing herbs and flowers, but I don't have enough space to grow vegetables and fruit-- so I usually rely on going to my farmer's market and buying fruits and veggies there.

    Here's the problem though--- the market is about 20 minutes away and with my 4Runner it uses up a lot of gas so I can't head that way too often. But I also can't stock up on fresh fruit and veggies because after 4-5 days they go bad.

    Is there any trick or method to keeping things like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, apples, oranges, and bananas from going bad so quickly?
  2. Can't help much and this is more about using what we have got but:

    Apples seem to vary. Some keep well in a cool place others just seem to go quickly. We juice and freeze the ones from the tree here that doesn't produce keepers and as luck has it, it makes the best juice I've tasted.

    For salad stuff in the summer, I fill an air tight box with chopped tomato, salad leaves, etc. and store in the fridge. It's still good after a week but they usually get eaten in less time than that.

    Bananas, maybe you can get green ones. One supermarket in the UK actually sells a mixed bag, half ripe and half green.

    Tomatoes will freeze whole. They are no good for eating in salad but fine for cooking.

    You can also consider cooking and freezing. Apples could be turned into a stew. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, etc. could be cooked into a sort of ratatouille mixture, etc.
  3. Apples can be kept for months without going bad. The skins will get wrinkled, but the apple inside will be fine.

    I think my mom said they need to be stored at about 40 degrees F. ....probably 35 - 40 degrees.
    First wrap each apple in a piece of newspaper. then tuck them in a brown paper bag and place them in a dry cool area for storage. Oh yeah, check them over for damage. Bruised apples won't keep.

    I think my mom kept carrots over the winter, too. But the apples are the only thing I remeber how it was done.

    Blueberries have a long shelf life compared to other fruits.
  4. If you've got the right apples. Have a look at the use/keeping list/filter on the right hand side of this page. Itt goes from "does not keep" to "three months or more":

  5. I'm not so sure about that list

    Braeburn are listed in keeping 1-3 days and 3 or more months.

    Granny smith is probably what my mom kept all winter as I believe she said those were her favorite.

    What kind of Apple only keeps 1 -3 days after picking?!!!! What store would stock such an apple? That's ridiculous, Altho, I woul;d never find out on my own as when I bring fruit home it is usually gone in 1 -2 days!
  6. The filter doesn't seem to be working right but I do trust that source. I've had some helpful advice from there.

    The ones from one of our trees only last a few days and they are also bad handlers - they bruise very easily - which brings me to...

    That is a good point. Stores, particularly supermarkets are likely to be more selective for keeping qnd handling than home growers and perhaps small orchards selling direct to the public.

    Wikipedia's comments on the excellent James Grieve comes to mind:

    James Grieve apples used to be grown all over Europe and were delivered to the city markets via train or horse-and-cart, but because they bruised easily they had to be carefully packed in laundry-type wicker baskets filled with straw. Unfortunately, the fruit cannot sustain modern supermarket handling, and so they are now only grown in gardens and for direct sale to consumers. Nonetheless, James Grieve is a very good apple because it produces fruit every year, is somewhat disease-resistant, and a very good pollenizer for other apples. It may drop early in warm weather. It is also a good apple for making apple juice.
  7. When I was a kid, we had a root cellar. My parents kept all sorts of stuff down there. They use to can also. It is a tough call on how long to make fruits last. the best I have to offer is keep them in the refrigerator, except bananas.

    If you want to have a garden but lack space, look into container gardening. That is where you grow your stuff in pots and 5 gallon plastic buckets. It works amazingly well. There are all sorts of small garden tricks you can find on the internet.
  8. On thing I'm not sure about but I have seen a mentioned about in a couple of places have been comments about the possibility "leakage" from the plastics into the soil and a bit of doubt as to whether it's a good idea just to use any old container.

    That said, I haven't worried about it and (as well as growing things in the soil) use a few of these:


    189 litre/ 50us gallon capacity. I can get 4 indeterminate type tomato plants in one, say occupying 2/3 of the tub and grow other bits (not sure how it will work out but I've got radish sharing with bell peppers in one atm) in the rest. I drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
  9. Another one you can do is get some breeze blocks and fill in with soil. Here is a bed we are using for lettuce (where the pansies haven't taken over - we don't have the heart to pull them up yet) this year.


    A little further along that old pigsty wall and the path, I managed to put a leanto greenhouse this year. It's only 2 feet deep and about 8 ft long (I think this rage starts out with a 4x2 foot one) - takes 2 of those blue tubs plus a couple of pots. I had to make the top part of the back as the wall is too short but I think it should stay up OK.

  10. I would recommend two things:
    A-Look up container Gardens, there are some veggies that can grow in large pots, such as small heirloom tomatoes, or chili peppers. Also potatoes can be grown in some surprisingly small spaces.
    B-Canning, I know it lacks some of the awesomeness of fresh fruits and veggies, but if you create and process some of your own jellies, fruit butters, catsups, salsas, and sauces you can enjoy knowing exactly what is in your foods, and helps you gain a closer connection to your food. If you take up canning (either as a hobby, or seriously) you can use those veggies and fruits that you bought fresh, but are a little wilted now.

    I personally grow chili's and garlic indoors, in my back yard I have four raised boxes where I grow cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, squash, and some lettuce (I want to put onions in, but my wife stubbornly loves her lettuce). They take up most of the area, but are easy to work. I can a lot too, I'll plan menus to use three or four fruits and veggies for a couple weeks, buy as many of those as I can, then process the leftovers into sauces and such and can them.

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