Produce: Fridge-friendly vs. countertop-confined

WASHINGTON – Around the area, farmer’s markets are open for the season and market baskets are brimming with fresh food.

Bringing good produce from farm to table can be challenging in a metropolitan area. Once you’ve found the perfect produce for your next few meals, you then face an added challenge – storing it once you get home.

A lot of people search for tomatoes brimming with flavor. But if you don’t store them right, you could be wasting your money.

Jennifer Shea, a dietitian with Shoppers Food Warehouse, says you should always leave tomatoes out on the counter.

“Tomatoes will get more of a mealy texture and lose a lot of their flavor and their aroma if they’re kept in the refrigerator,” she says.

Tender spring lettuce is best kept in the fridge. The same goes for asparagus, though the stems should get VIP treatment.

“The stems can be put in a glass of cold water with a damp paper towel wrapped around the top,” Shea says.

Berries don’t stay at their peak for long and they need some TLC.

“We want to wash the berries not when we get home, but right before we are going to eat them,” she says.

Berries should be stored in the fridge, Shea says, but stone fruits like peaches and plums can stay on the counter until they ripen.

“You can ripen them in a brown bag and then put them in the refrigerator once they do become ripe,” she says.

Apples can be stored in any cool dark spot and pineapples can be left out to ripen. But store them upside down, because most of the sugar in a pineapple is at the base.

WTOP’s Paula Wolfson contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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