On Keeping Fruit
By Lydia on July 10, 2009 12:32 PM| | Comments (5)
I've been spending my morning eating cherries and watching Julia Child, and I've been thinking about how clueless I am regarding food. I care, and I try, and that's a good start, but I think I am a long way from the sort of effortless understanding of ingredients and techniques that I would like. I would like to have an encyclopedic knowledge of proper storage, prep and cooking method for each fruit, vegetable, fish, and cut of meat. I would like to not have to look up a recipe for biscuits. I would like to quit second guessing my cooking methods halfway through!

I assume this will only take time and practice, and by the time I'm 50 I'll be the Greatest Cook in the World. I think, though, that with the current glut of farmer's market produce (and cherries in my mouth) a good place to start is with fruit storage. I hope you don't mind reviewing with me.

Apple: If eating or using quickly, leave them out in a cool place. If storing for more than a couple of days, put them in the fridge in the driest possible spot.

Banana: Throw them on the counter, or better, hang them to avoid bruises and uneven coloration. Save way overripe ones in the freezer for banana bread.

Blackberries: Store unwashed in fridge for 1-2 days, in a single layer if possible. These don't ripen after picking, so you need to make sure the ones you buy are ripe, but then if you keep them in a pile, the bottom ones will be mooshed.

Blueberries: Make sure they are dry before refrigerating them (up to 5-6 days.) Damp berries will rot.

Cherries: Pick out any soft ones and store in the fridge for not more than a couple of days. Rinse just before using.

Grapes: Store in the refrigerator in their original, perforated, plastic bag. For best results, wrap them first in a paper towel to absorb even more moisture.  This trick is also very good with  perishable herbs, like cilantro and fresh parsley.

Mangoes: If you buy an unripe one, leave it on the counter until it's ripened, then store in fridge. It'll keep for half a week or so.

Oranges: Leave them unwrapped on the counter. If you expect them to be juicy do not refrigerate them, though they do keep a couple days longer.

Peaches: Ripen, if needed, by leaving them out stem side down. This end is the last to ripen, and will support the fruit better, leaving less bruising. This is the proper way to ripen tomatoes as well. Once ripe, store in fridge for not more than a couple of days.

Raspberries: These are very delicate. Like all berries, don't wash them until right before eating, as the damp makes the rot. Store them for as short a time as possible in a not too cold part of the fridge, like the door.

Strawberries: If you can manage it, these taste best when unrefrigerated, but they will not keep out of the cold. Pick out the mushy ones and store loosely wrapped in fridge.

So what do you think? Want to hear about the vegetables too?

 

i am in hawai'i right now and staring a perhaps the most perfect mango of my life. i can't eat it yet, though, since i'm going to a korean festival and must save precious gustatorial capacity for kalbi!!! kum sum ni daaaaaaaa!

am crying saliva in jealousy. eat a bite for the rest of us.

Right now I'm reading "Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman and I can't recommend it to you enough. His whole goal in the book is to show you how basic ingredients go together to form the foods we love cooking and baking and how slight differences in proportions can make completely different items.

I think this book may help you in your search for effortless understanding of ingredients and technique...check it out!

And I vote "yay", bring on the vegetable storage tips!

damn! I was at the library yesterday and I forgot to look for this! next time i guess. that book sounds great.

sir, i do not understand your spam, but thanks! i think?