02 Sep How To: Make Fresh Produce Last Longer
The Secret Is All In Your Fridge…
An organised fridge is key to preserving your fresh produce. You may not know this, but there is a science behind what goes where and why. If we were to ask you where you should store your fresh fruit or vegetables, would you know? The same goes for raw meats, would you be any of the wiser?
If not, then don’t worry! Here at JR Holland, we are experts in delivering and preserving the freshest, most delicious produce to all sectors of the catering industry and we are going to share our top tips on how to organise your fridge to make your fresh produce last longer.
The ‘Chilling’ Truth
First things first, let’s get to grips with the basics. Your fridge must be well organised to provide safe storage that will prevent any bacteria penetrating your food and making you or your customers ill. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends that the ideal temperature for your fridge should be between 3-5 degrees.
Learning the correct way to store your produce not only supports your general and physical health, but it also aids you to minimise your food waste. Did you know that 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK, by the food industry?!
Shelf By Shelf, Drawer By Drawer…
The top shelves in your fridge should house the foods that do not need cooking. This could be leftovers from the night before to deli meats. These foods pose as no threat to other produce in your fridge as they do not need to be reheated or cooked through to be enjoyed.
Lower To Middle Shelves
This is where your dairy products should live. Anything from milk and yoghurts to eggs and butter. Ever thought that you should store your butter in the door shelf, usually labelled the butter compartment? You’ve thought wrong! The regular opening of the fridge door alters the temperature, essentially interrupting its time to chill.
The bottom shelves of your fridge are usually always the coldest, so this where your wrapped raw meats and fish should live.
Tip: Storing your raw meats on the bottom shelf of the fridge also prevents any risk of cross-contamination!
Again, the lower down your fridge you go, the cooler you will get. This is why you should store your fruit, vegetables and salad materials in the bottom drawers in their original packaging. It’s also an optimum place to store your herbs, too!
As we mentioned above, your door shelves usually tend to be the warmest area in your fridge and most susceptible to temperature fluctuation due to the frequent opening and closing. Store foods such as your meal condiments (mayonnaise, food sauces, jams) and juices in the door shelves. These products often have natural preservatives therefore the temperature fluctuation won’t harm them.
Additional Top Tips To Make Your Produce Last Longer
In Doubt? Bag It Up!
If you aren’t too sure how to store your produce, then always bag it up. The plastic bag (recycled, please!) will help to prevent any moisture in your vegetables from evaporating, which will help to keep them fresher for longer.
Separate ‘Gassy’ Foods
Did you know that foods such as apples, ripe bananas and pears produce a gas called Ethylene? This speeds up the ripening process of other fruits and vegetables and can often do more harm than you think! Separate these foods from others to keep your produce fresher for longer.
Freeze Your Food
The best way to preserve your fresh produce? FREEZE IT. Frozen fruit and vegetables can last up to three months if broken into pieces and stored in a resealable plastic bag, before carefully blanching in boiling hot water to reduce the loss of quality when it comes to finally enjoying the produce.
JR Holland are a food service company based in the North East. We are wholesale fruit & vegetable suppliers and provide national chilled distribution.