FRUITS AND VEGGIES PERFECT FOR THE KITCHEN COUNTER
WELCOME back everyone to another week of What’s On the #Menu Monday.
Now, last week we discussed 7 favorite summer foods that really should be refrigerated – especially during the hot summer months. And, this week – as promised – we’ll discuss 10 common summer fruits and veggies that do not require refrigeration. In fact, these foods hate to chill. Not only will they lose substantial flavor, they may lose a large amount of their vitamin content as well.
So, even though it may be hot outside, these perineal favorites will do just fine resting in the pantry or sitting on the kitchen counter at room temperature.
Fruits first, please:
1) Apples: When it comes to this fruit, an apple will do just fine stored at room temperature for up to a week. So, if you plan on eating your apple within 7 days of purchase, great. Leave it on the kitchen counter. But, if you don’t plan to use your apple for a few weeks, then pop it in fridge. Just remember, that an apple will begin to lose its texture and flavor after refrigeration.
2) Melons: This fruit requires room temperature in order to ripen properly and sweeten. It will not ripen properly if refrigerated. Once the melon has been cut, however, any leftovers should be kept in the fridge to prevent deterioration.
3) Stone Fruit: The most common summer stone fruits include cherries, apricots, peaches and plums. And, all of them should be allowed to ripen at room temperature – and according to the experts — with the stem end down. Keep an eye on them, though. If they become soft and their sweet smell is obvious AND they haven’t yet been eaten, throw them in the fridge. This will stop the ripening process and give them a few more days of use.
4) Berries: Of course, we’re talking about strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – all plentiful during the summer months. These fresh fruits, however, have a very short shelf life. So, it’s best to leave them at room temperature and eat them within a few days. They can tolerate refrigeration, but they will lose flavor and nutritional quality. They also may become mushy.
5) Bananas: If you want to eat your banana plain – as is – then let it ripen at room temperature. This is the best way to let it ripen and develop its wonderful flavor. If your banana starts to turn brown, then put it in the fridge to slow ripening. And, if you still don’t get to it, you can freeze that banana and use it in a smoothie or banana bread at a later date.
And, now for the veggies:
6) Avocados: An avocado simply won’t ripen in cold conditions. So, keep this veggie on the kitchen counter and out of the fridge. Once it becomes slightly soft to your touch it should be perfect for guacamole or a southwestern omelet. Should you have any leftovers, go ahead and refrigerate them. But, remember they’ll lose flavor. And, to slow the browning process try leaving the pit in that leftover half.
7) Tomatoes: This veggie hates to chill. The cold breaks down the cell walls in the flesh of a tomato and results in a mealy and mushy veggie. Refrigeration also will destroy much of the tomato’s nutritional value. So, you might want to buy tomatoes while still hard and let them ripen slowly at room temperature. But, keep them out of direct sunlight which can cause them to ripen unevenly and too quickly.
8) Onions: Here’s another veggie that loves room temperature. In fact, if chilled an onion can become soft and will begin to contaminate other foods with its odor. Onions like air circulation, so keep them in the mesh bag from the grocery and place them in the pantry out of direct sunlight. And, separate your onions and potatoes as the gases and moisture from the potatoes can rot the onions.
9) Garlic: Like its cousin the onion, garlic likes air circulation. The pantry is perfect for storing this veggie and a bulb will keep up to 2 months without refrigeration. Also, the damp air of the fridge makes it likely that produce in the same drawer will take on the garlic’s odor. Refrigeration also can make the garlic sprout early.
10) Potatoes: Make room in the pantry or a dark drawer for this veggie. Don’t store it in the fridge. The cold will cause the starches in the potato to turn to sugar. And, this will result in an “off” flavor and cause the skins to darken during cooking – which can be unappealing. Storing potatoes in a paper bag is a great way to preserve flavor and freshness. Also, remember to keep your potatoes away from your onions – they really don’t get along 🙂
So, there we have it. Ten great, tasty, seasonal foods that really prefer the great outdoors and room temperatures. Take care of them properly and they will provide you with flavor and nutrition all summer long.
And, next week we’ll discuss a few other kitchen staples – food in bags, glass jars and plastic containers. Things we use throughout the summer months. Do we refrigerate them or not? Until then, thanks again for joining me everyone! Stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .