Produce mistakes to avoid
Fresh fruit and vegetables are some of the most nutrient-rich foods you can buy. But sometimes it seems like they spoil way too quickly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Storing produce properly can make it last longer, and cooking it or consuming it in certain ways can maximise the health benefits.
“Fresh fruit and vegetables are some of your most powerful tools for health and wellness and it’s worth learning how to buy and cook them,” says dietitian Shari Portnoy.
Ever wonder if it’s possible to make better use of ‘scraps’ like stems, leaves and peels? The answer is yes. “There are so many myths about food and that leads to a lot of common mistakes when shopping for groceries, including produce,” says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix and author of Read It Before You Eat It.
Refrigerating all produce
Though it’s tempting to dump everything in the fridge, some produce belongs on the kitchen counter. Refrigeration can compromise the texture and flavour of certain fruit and vegetables, Taub-Dix says. Tomatoes, for instance, don’t get a chance to ripen properly at low temperatures and can get mealy; melons can lose antioxidants and other nutrients in the fridge; and onions can get mushy and even develop mould when refrigerated.
Always buying under-ripe fruit
Despite the common misconception, not all fruit continues to ripen once you get them home, Portnoy says. Though it’s true that bananas, figs and peaches come into their own a few days after harvest, strawberries, raspberries and pineapples do not. The ones that continue to ripen are called climacteric; they continue to emit ethylene gas which helps the fruit to reach maturity and taste better, according to Food & Nutrition Magazine, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The non-ripeners are non-climacteric, meaning they just age without maturing and don’t taste better after sitting on your counter. Reference this handy chart from The Produce Nerd to see which produce to pick ripe and which to pick a bit prematurely.