How long you can keep cut fruits and vegetables depends in part on how fresh your produce is and how you store it once it is cut. With proper storage and treatment, most cut fruits and vegetables will keep from four to five days in the refrigerator before losing their nutritional value. The following guide can help you decide how to store them.
*The Fresher The Fruit Or Vegetable The Longer It Will Keep
Once a fruit or vegetable is removed from it source, it no longer receives water or nutrients but starts to lose water due to evaporation and to take in oxygen from the surrounding air. Once they are cut the loss of water speeds up even more as does flavor and color loss, decay, and an increased rate of vitamin loss limiting the keep time to four or five days.
Protecting the high quality and good taste of cut fruits and vegetables until you're ready to use them can be a challenge but by storing them properly you can lengthen the time you can keep them to four or five days.
*How To Store Cut Fruits And Vegetables
While uncut fruits and vegetables in their natural husk, rind or peel, need to breathe, cut fruits and vegetables need to be shielded from the bacteria present in air. Storing the cut fruits and vegetables in plastic bags, after removing as much air as possible will allow you to keep the vegetables from four to five days though some texture and taste change may occur.
You can also store cut fruits and vegetables in closed plastic containers but it is difficult to remove the air unless you completely fill the container. The more air you can remove from the storage bag or container the longer the fruits or vegetables will maintain their color, texture, taste and vitamins.
*How To Slow The Oxidation Of Cut Fruits And Vegetables
Leaving a cut fruit or vegetable exposed to the air will hasten its natural ripening process and render it unfit for consumption in as little as a day, while some fruits and vegetables start to turn brown within a few minutes of being cut as the air starts to interact with enzymes in the fruit or vegetable.
This is the process of oxidation and there are several ways to stop it and prolong the keeping time. You can cook the food, immerse it in water or coat it with a lemon juice wash or Fruit Fresh, a product designed for just this purpose.
Using one of these methods will extend the time you can safely keep the fruits or vegetables and maintain their appearance and nutrition for up to five days. Some fruits and vegetables that require this treatment are apples, bananas, pears, peaches, potatoes, parsnips and artichokes.