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Old 05-12-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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Questions about shelf life

I keep alot of my produce in the refrigerator's fruit and veggie bin...but I was wondering about certain things and whether they would have a longer shelf life if i kept them on my counter instead. I only cook for me and DH so some things go bad before i have a chance to use them all. I keep my garlic on my shelf but everything else goes in the fridge....so here are a few things I am curious about:

apples
onions
bell peppers
lemons
fresh herbs
oranges

do these things last longer in the fridge or on the shelf???

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Old 05-12-2008, 01:20 PM   #2
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Onions should be stored in a cool dark place, I keep mine in the garage or the veg cupboard. I wouldn't normally keep apples, oranges or lemons in the fridge, but as you are in Texas, it may be too hot for them to survive long on the shelf, again somehwere cool would probably do better than the fridge.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:29 PM   #3
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Everything on your list stays in my refrigerator. With the fresh herbs, wet a paper towel, and then wrap the herbs in the wet towel.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Here, in southwest Florida, everything goes in the fridge, even with the air on almost year round.
I used to keep my butter on the counter in a covered dish (I've done this for more that 30 years) But right after moving down here I came home from work and to my horror, there were little tiny ants ("sugar ants" I was told) were coming out of everywhere. It took me forever to get rid of them.
Then sometime later I kept bananas on the counter and the same thing happened.
Now NOTHING stays out. Not even a used glass.
It's as if they're just waiting for me to slip.
They give me the CREEPS!
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:59 PM   #5
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With the exception of the herbs, I keep all of those things on my counter, but you are correct in thinking they will all last longer in the fridge.
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:53 PM   #6
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There are two things you shouldn't refrigerate: bananas and tomatoes. There is an enzyme in those foods that is destroyed by refrigeration. Those enzymes are what give tomatoes and bananas their flavor and texture.
I don't keep onions in the fridge either. Just in a dark cool place and not close to potatoes. They give off gasses that destroy each other and cause potatoes to sprout.
As for lemons, oranges and bell peppers; these foods are not refrigerated in the supermarket so they don't need to be refrigerated in your home unless you live in a very hot, humid climate. Berries and melons once cut, should definitely be refrigerated.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
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With the exception of the herbs, I keep all of those things on my counter, but you are correct in thinking they will all last longer in the fridge.
You are correct. With the exception of the cut herbs, nothing on that list needs to be refrigerated, especially if it's going to be consumed quickly (1-2 days) Refrigeration will positively prolong their usable life.

At work, we keep all produce refrigerated, even the hand fruit. Refrigeration also discourages fruit flies. As a test, buy two peppers. Leave one on the counter, and refrigerate the other. Within 2 days the room temperature pepper will begin to shrivel and shrink and show signs of spoilage (mold) on any imperfections in the flesh, and at the stem or blossom end. After two days, the refrigerated pepper can still be virtually unchanged. You'll notice changes to that pepper in about a week (less if the pepper was 'older' at the market).

Most produce does not have to be refrigerated, after all, it grows outside, not refrigerated. However, once cut from it's life source (the vine, the roots, the soil, the water....) it's life expectancy diminishes tremendously. The only way to prolong it is to refrigerate it.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:33 PM   #8
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I put soft cut herbs, like parsley, basil and cilantro, in a glass of water covered loosely with a plastic veggie bag in the fridge. Change the water every couple of days and they will keep for over a week that way.
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:26 AM   #9
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Onions, with the exception of one or two anticipated for a hamburger perhaps, gets chopped, flash frozen and stored in the freezer. Some are chopped and dehydrated, which can then be reduced to minced and powdered for the spice cabinet. If I do anything else the onions will sprout before I get around to using them all.

Bell peppers pretty much get handled the same way.

Everything else pretty much stays on the counter, despite the temptation to toss in the refrigerator, and doesn't last long in the heat.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I put soft cut herbs, like parsley, basil and cilantro, in a glass of water covered loosely with a plastic veggie bag in the fridge. Change the water every couple of days and they will keep for over a week that way.
I used to do that too...till enough of those water filled containers got knocked over, spilling water all over the place
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