I always have the feeling that I have to use up my potatoes. I buy them. Then, before I know it, they’re going bad, and I have to use them up. Then, I feel I have to buy more because I have no potatoes in the house. And the cycle repeats.
However, I recently learned through a TV news report that apples can extend the shelf life of potatoes. So, I started storing my apples in the same drawer with my potatoes—with the result that no one in the family remembered that we had or ate any of the apples. So those went bad too.
The other day, I stumbled upon this video about and this article/exhibit by the adorable Korean artist Jihyun Ryou. She explains the apple-potato phenomenon: “Apples emit a lot of ethylene gas. It has the effect of speeding up the ripening process of fruits and vegetables kept together with apples. When combined with potatoes, apples prevent them from sprouting.”1 So, she has developed a way to keep her apples and potatoes together. I, in my DIY fashion, got an idea for how to do the same myself.
Stand up for your roots
Ryou, whose self-stated goal is to find ways to save vegetables from the [trauma of] the refrigerator, also discusses the “verticality” of root vegetables. “Keeping roots in a vertical position allows the organism to save energy and remain fresh for a longer time.”2 An interesting idea. While I have neither the space nor the inclination to keep my carrots and leeks vertically displayed on my wall, I do have this gorgeous new large (by Swiss standards) refrigerator that we bought late last year. Unlike Ryou, I have absolutely nothing against refrigeration.
It makes feeding three boys with large appetites a bazillion times easier. And I have found that standing up bunches of herbs in a cup of water with a plastic bag over them inside the refrigerator extends their life dramatically. This was a tip from my mom. It really works.
Forbidden Humid-en fruits
Apparently, I have been also been neglecting to water my vegetables … err … I mean fruits. Ryou explains: “We tend to think [of] zucchini, aubergine, cucumber, etc. as vegetables. But they are biologically fruits … Also through the ritual to water them everyday, they will stay fresh.”3
What special tricks do you use to extend the life of your fruits and vegetables?