Storing food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, is often equated with putting everything in a fruit bowl or together in the refrigerator. However, there are actually some foods that you should never store next to each other. Here are a few of them.
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10 ethylene producing and ethylene sensitive foods that should never be together
1. Apples: Producing ethylene
One of the most important considerations in food storage is ethylene production and sensitivity. Ethylene is simply a gas hormone that certain fruits and vegetables emit when they ripen. Usually fruits produce more ethylene than vegetables.
Because of this gas hormone, some fresh foods just cannot be placed side by side. In particular, ethylene-producing plants should be kept away from ethylene-sensitive plants. One of the most common examples of ethylene producing products is apples.
In general, apples should be kept away from other products. In fact, it might be best to keep them in a separate bowl in the center of the table. This is true unless you are trying to ripen other fruits like persimmons or avocado.
Ethylene affects apples differently depending on when they were harvested. In particular, the gas hormone causes the skin of apples to be scalded and browned if they were harvested before their peak.
Apples can also be stored in your pantry for up to four weeks, your refrigerator for six weeks, and your freezer for eight months.
2. Asparagus: sensitive to ethylene
Ethylene tends to accelerate the lignification or “hardening” of asparagus stalks. Worse, it can even turn the vegetables yellow.
Be sure to keep asparagus in your refrigerator. It takes three to four days here. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 5 months.
3. Avocados: Producing ethylene
Since avocados don’t ripen on the tree, picking them at the perfect time can be quite difficult. It starts producing ethylene as soon as you pick it from the tree. The amount of ethylene in production only increases as the avocado ripens.
An avocado is considered ripe when it is already tender to the touch. You may also notice that the skin becomes darker as it matures. They usually keep for three to four days when stored in the refrigerator. If they are underripe, you can store them next to ethylene-producing fruits like apples to encourage ripening.
4. Broccoli: sensitive to ethylene
When broccoli is exposed to ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables, the shelf life can be reduced by up to 50 percent. This is a big deal considering they only last three to five days in the refrigerator.
When exposed to fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene, the florets begin to turn yellow. You may also notice that the taste is more bitter after cooking.
Broccoli can last 10 months to a year in your freezer. When it comes to storing this particular vegetable, it is best to keep it in the freezer.
5. Bananas: Producing ethylene
Banana hooks can be great for showing off your bananas in their best light, but it’s also a surefire way to rip them all at once. That means you have roughly two days of either eating bananas left and right or throwing them away one at a time.
The solution? Break up the heap. Keep some of these in a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter and let them mature. In the meantime, keep some in the refrigerator to delay the ripening process.
Since the ethylene from bananas comes from the stick, you can also keep them fresh by wrapping the ethylene-releasing part in plastic wrap. With these fruits it is particularly important to limit the carbon dioxide load in order to delay the release of the gas hormone.
Once bananas have reached the desired degree of ripeness, they will only keep in the refrigerator for about three days. They can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.
If things get worse and you’ve spotted bananas, you can always use them to make banana bread. Throw them in the freezer and you have a quick DIY banana ice cream.
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6. Brussels sprouts: sensitive to ethylene
Brussels sprouts, which are also in the same family as cabbage, produce a small amount of ethylene. However, they are also extremely sensitive to the gas hormone. Once the vegetables are exposed, they will begin to turn yellow and their leaves will also begin to fall off.
Be sure to store these vegetables separately. Just like broccoli, these can usually be kept for three to five days in the refrigerator and 10-12 months in the freezer.
7. Honeydew: Producing ethylene
Some melons produce ethylene while others are sensitive to ethylene. Honeydew is an example of the former.
Honeydew ripens more slowly before it is cut. Once the melon is sliced, its ethylene production begins to increase.
Melons can stay in the pantry for seven days. Once you feel it is tender, you know the fruit is ripe. If unopened, melons can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When cut into slices, the melons will keep for up to four days.
You can also leave them in the freezer, where they can be kept for up to a month.
8. Carrots: sensitive to ethylene
Most people get the idea that carrots can be stored for a long time. This may apply if stored in the refrigerator; They can take up to three weeks. However, when it comes into contact with ethylene, the bitter taste can develop.
When storing foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, kohlrabi, onions, and other root vegetables, be sure to keep them away from foods that generate ethylene. This helps them maintain the nutrients that they absorb from the soil.
Ideally, storage in a root cellar is the best choice. If that’s not available, you can also put them in a plastic or paper bag before putting them in your refrigerator.
9. Mangoes: Producing ethylene
Mangoes produce less ethylene compared to other fruits. However, the ethylene they produce is still enough to affect other fruits and vegetables you may have.
You can leave them in your pantry for up to five days and in your refrigerator for up to a week. These fruits can be kept in the freezer for up to eight months.
Similar to broccoli, cauliflower is extremely sensitive to ethylene. In the presence of this gas hormone, the fruits can turn yellow and their leaves begin to fall off the stems.
Keep them away from ethylene-forming foods like melons and apples. They’ll last up to five days in your refrigerator and up to a year in your freezer.
Are you storing food properly? Check out this list of foods you’ve likely misstaged courtesy of Bright Side:
When it comes to food storage, it is crucial to know which foods are good for others and which are not in order to keep them fresh. Make sure to keep ethylene producing foods away from those who are gas hormone sensitive so that they stay as tasty as if they were picked yesterday.
Do you have any further questions about the correct storage of food? Ask us in the comments section below!
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