With its long days, plentiful sun and delicious fare, summer is without a doubt our favorite time of year. If you're like us here at Inhabitat, you're constantly drawn to your local fruit stand to scope out the season's ripest pickings. If you find that you scoop up more than you can munch on within just a few days, here are some handy tips to keep your favorite summer fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. And if you missed it, don't forget to check out our first handy guide here, which details how to care for and store produce commonly purchased year-round.
Broccoli + Lettuce + Celery
Suffering from limp celery, soft broccoli, or less that sprightly salads? Keep these greens their crispest by wrapping them in tin foil before storing them in the fridge. Celery will stay crisp for four weeks or more, lettuce heads up to six weeks, and broccoli up to seven weeks!
Nothing says summer more like a wedge of watermelon or a slice of cantaloupe. If you’ve got yourself a melon that’s ready to eat (it will smell sweet and be soft at the non-stem) but you aren’t ready to cut it up yet, store it in the fridge. Melons will keeps for about 10 days in the cold temperature. Just keep in mind that fruit is most flavorful at room temperature —take your melon out of the fridge and place it on the counter and allow it to warm for about 30 minutes before serving.
Slice ’em up for a sandwich, mash some into guac, or grab a few and make some vegan chocolate pudding—there seems to be no limits as to what you can do with this magical fruit. In warm weather, avocados will ripen fast, but don’t store avocados in the refrigerator unless they are cut, otherwise the cold will turn them black inside. To keep them at their most palatable state, spritz a bit of lemon or lime juice, or another acidic agent, and place in an air-tight container or tightly covered clear plastic wrap.
What’s a summer BBQ without some grilled corn? When storing corn, keep the husks on but cut away the shank (this part of the grain is a magnet for worms). Put your corn in a plastic bag and place it in your refrigerator’s crisper. The corn will remain at its freshest for two days. While the corn will start to dry out after day two, it will still remain edible.
Peaches + Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines should be bought firm, but stored at room temperature once you’ve brought them home. Don’t put them in the fridge before they’ve ripened, as chilling them before that will result in fruit that is mealy and flavorless. However, once you’ve put them in the fridge, eat them within a few days or they’ll start to lose their flavor.
Apples are a year-round delight, but some the most flavorful kinds (eg. Gala, Ginger Gold, Pink Lady) make their appearance during the summer. During the warmer months, apples should be stored in the fridge, while in the fall, they can be stored on the counter. When storing apples in the fridge, drape a damp paper towel over the container of apples (but do not put them in a drawer or air-tight container). Both the cold temperature and the moisture will help them stay their freshest for up to several weeks. Just remember: One rotten apple can spoil the bunch—compost any that are looking a little questionable.
When buying carrots look for those that are of the brightest hue and without cracks. If you’re buying them from your local farmers’ market, cut off the greens and place them in a plastic bag before sticking them in your crisper drawer. Carrots will keep for up to two weeks.
Keeping cherries cold is key to keeping them fresh. Cherries should be refrigerated in a plastic bag after you’ve brought the home. But don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them—excess moisture will hasten molding where the stem meets the fruit.