Organic Fruit and Vegetable Storage

As a new arrival to Melbourne, I am also a recent convert to seasonal eating, ethical food and hence the Fair Food organic food box delivery scheme. And yes, I have noticed that organic produce does go off more rapidly than the chemical-rich, irradiated varieties I use to pick up from the large retail monopolies. In discussing this issue with my colleagues, I realised that educating myself, and hopefully providing some useful tips on keeping your F&V fresh was going to be far less resource intensive than individually bagging carrots into plastic for you. I exaggerate about the individual part, but the point still stands!

We want to provide you with the best quality organic produce in Melbourne, but with the least amount of impact on the environment. We don’t think you’d appreciate it if we went around cryovacing everything. So the following might help bridge the divide, make us happy eaters, without upsetting the best of all our eco inclinations.

What Fair Food does to keep your C’s crisp and P’s plump?

CERES Fair Food has a low food mileage policy, meaning we source organic produce exclusively from local suppliers. This makes our organic fruit & veg boxes fresher because local seasonal food travels the least, from seed to plate.

We pack your organic fruit and vegetables the morning we deliver to your Hosts, ensuring your food box has spent as little time as possible waiting for you.

We pack  produce at different stages of maturity, with as much variety as possible, so the contents of your organic food box are ready to eat at different times, minimising loss and wasteage.

What you can do to ensure your ethically sourced grub remains good until the next delivery day?

Get them into the cold (but not too cold): make sure you pick them up on time and get them into the fridge as soon as possible. Ensure your fridge is not turned up too high because this can “cold burn” them. Place your organic F&V into the crisper drawer, which is designed to keep moisture in and air out. This wards off “droop,” keeping your celeries, capsicums, lettuces nice and perky!

Prioritize: eat the fruit and veg most likely to go off first. Items that are ripe and ready, lettuce & leafy greens.

Keep moisture in & oxygen out: place vulnerable items into recyclable airtight containers. This is particularly important for items such as carrots, which may turn black or go “rubbery” if you don’t protect the more fragile of the otherwise robust root veg family.

Preserve: Got some stone fruit about to turn en masse into liquified goo? It’s amazing what cutting them up, sprinkling them with a little sugar and squeezing some citrus on them will do. A scoop of the mix with yoghurt makes for a very easy & healthy afternoon snack. Plus it will give your tastebuds an extra buzz as the fruit mascerates and naturally sweetens.

If you got herbs this week, put them in some water. Or if you know you’re not going to get to them in time, consider freeze drying your chives, oven drying your basil, tarragon, lemon balm & mints, or simply air drying the sturdier varieties such as sage, thyme, dill, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary and marjoram. You can even steep them in oil for a great way to infuse your cooking long-term. Instructions are everywhere on the web. Here’s one post on Wiki How.

Pre-serve… slowly: A slow cooker is an amazing invention. You dump a bunch of vegetables with stock, salt and pepper and some herbs, set the timer and come home to the best cooked stew of your life. I make large scale curries like this, particularly in winter, when there is a natural glut of root veggies and onions. Not only do I not have to cook after a long day at work, but these seasonal vegetables are great for freezing, as they maintain their structural integrity and flavour. So not only can I get away with not cooking during the working week, this one is a great trick for preserving the contents of my organic fruit & veggie box for when I need it.

Any nifty tricks up your sleeve? We’d love to hear them.

9 Responses

  1. Actually I have found the opposite – my CERES fruit and veg last longer and stay much fresher than irradiated alternatives.

  2. yes i agree meg..my local farmer’s organic produce last way longer then anything I have ever bought from the big guys..:)

  3. Tupperware’s FridgeSmart series is especially designed to keep vegetables fresh for longer. Plus their products come with a lifetime guarantee and any products returned are recycled.

  4. A great way to keep herbs and leaves fresh is to wrap in damp newspaper before putting in fridge. This works a treat

  5. I totally agree with the first 2 people & was really surprised you find it doesn’t last as long as conventional fruit & veg. I am a regular buyer of organic produce but at Christmas time, when my supplier has a break, I have to resort to conventional produce. It is amazing how quickly this chemical laden stuff breaks down! But hey, thanks for the tips to make my organic stuff last even longer!! 🙂

    1. I’m glad you find our fruit and veg resilient and tasty. We get great feedback about the quality of our food boxes. There is perhaps a (mis)conception that organics don’t last as long and I wanted to address the issue by providing practical ways to keep all types of fresh produce in top nick for longer.

  6. Completely agree on organic fruit and veg not lasting as long as supermarket-bought. I’ve always found that organic turns more quickly, and have experienced the same overseas where they don’t treat their fruit and veg as much as we do in Aus. Thanks for the post!

  7. Yep, it lasts about half as long as what I buy at the supermarket or green grocer – especially the fruit. Really freaks me out if I think about it too much! (I don’t exclusively eat organic). I live alone so I have to get through my whole vege box before it goes bad – except the bananas which I’m not into, they go to my brother in law who eats the whole bunch at once. usually I roast the root veg and then take it for work lunches throughout the week, along with cheese or yoghurt. If the spinach/celery/carrots get a bit dodgy, I make soup and freeze it in containers, again for work lunches. And of course, apple sauce! Delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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