From onions in the CUPBOARD to eggs in the fridge: Where scientists say you should REALLY keep your food after explosive potato revelation
- Why your should keep bananas and ‘bad apples’ away from other fruits and veg
- Tomatoes lose their taste and cucumbers go mushy in the fridge, experts say
- READ MORE: You’ve been storing potatoes wrong this whole time, say experts
Knowing where to store your food at home can be a minefield.
Scientists recently backtracked on advice not to keep potatoes in the fridge, over cancer-causing fears.
Now, many are confused where to keep their fresh food.
Should eggs go in the cupboard? And what about cucumber, tomatoes and eggs?
Here, we explain — with the help of scientists — where you should really keep your food to keep it fresher for longer.
Should eggs go in the cupboard? And why should you not put cucumber and tomatoes in the fridge? Scientists have explained where you should keep your food to keep it fresher for longer
Scientists previously warned keeping raw potatoes in the fridge could be a cancer risk.
It was, for decades, thought that storing the vegetable at low temperatures led to the formation of extra sugars. Experts thought these may turn into cancer-causing acrylamide when the spuds were fried, roasted or baked.
However, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has updated its guidance to state that potatoes can be kept ‘either in the fridge or in a cool, dry place’.
And consumer group Which? has followed suit, The Mail on Sunday revealed.
Shefalee Loth, a nutritionist at Which?, said: ‘Experts now say storing spuds in the fridge – previously thought to be a health risk – is a good way to get the most out of them, especially if you won’t use them straight away.’
Professor Thomas Sanders, at Kings College London, said the science behind the cancer-causing theory has always been ‘nonsense’.
He said: ‘Acrylamide is formed at high temperatures by a reaction with an amino acid asparagine.
Scientists previously warned that keeping potatoes in the fridge could be a cancer risk. It was thought that storing raw potatoes at low temperatures led to the formation of extra sugars, which turned into cancer-causing acrylamide when the spuds were fried, roasted or baked. But this theory has not been debunked
‘This occurs mainly during deep frying and roasting. Blanching or soaking potatoes before roasting or frying reduces acrylamide formation.
‘Microwaved potatoes, baked or boiled potatoes don’t contain acrylamide.’
Potatoes should be kept in the dark, this can be in a fridge, but a dry place is better, according to registered dietitian Dr Duane Mellor, at Birmingham’s Aston University.
He said: ‘A cupboard may be better as the enclosed fridge can be more humid.’
It may surprise you that a fridge is not where you should store cucumber.
In fact, the fridge won’t preserve your cucumber, but make it go mushy, according to experts.
Dr Mellor said: ‘Although they are harvested they are still alive and the cells can breakdown when exposed to cold, affecting flavour and texture.’
What IS the best condition to eat your banana, orange and blackberries in? Experts reveal the health benefits of fruits as they ripen
How ripe your fruit is could impact how many vitamins your are getting out of it. Although by small amounts, vitamin C, antioxidants and sugar levels change as fruits get riper
Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 10C.
So, if you insist on keeping the crunchy vegetable in the fridge, make sure it is the front, where it is the warmest.
Keeping them in their plastic will act as a shield and lock in the moisture preventing it from going off too quickly, too.
You should keep bananas away from other fruits and veg, if you don’t want them to rot quicker.
Ethylene is a natural gas released by some some fruits and vegetables that can increase the ripening process.
And bananas are major culprits for producing more of this gas than other fruits, experts say.
Some fruits and vegetables are more sensitive to it than others, according to Dr Tai Ibitoye, a registered dietitian based in London.
She said: ‘It’s not necessarily a bad thing.
‘For instance, if someone wants to ripen their avocado quicker, they can store it next to a ripe banana in a paper bag and let the ethylene from the banana do its work.’
To stop this from happening, Professor Sanders suggests keeping the bananas in a sealed bag to stop this gas from ripening other nearby fruit and veg.
The fruit should also not be kept in the fridge but stored at room temperature.
Because they are a tropical fruit, they do not like the cold.
The chilly temperatures of the fridge will stop the enzymes that help them ripen from working. Instead, this will make other enzymes take over, including browning enzymes, turning the bananas black.
But if you want to make your bananas last for longer, Ms Ibitoye suggests freezing them.
Make sure they are peeled and wrapped or in an airtight container before putting them in the freezer though.
You should keep bananas away from other fruits and veg, if you don’t want them to rot quicker. Ethylene is a natural gas releases by some some fruits and vegetables that can increase the ripening process. And bananas are major culprits for produce more of this gas than other fruits
Bread should be kept in the cupboard, experts say.
Storing bread in cool temperatures will only dry it out, according to Kate Llewellyn-Waters, resident nutritionist on Channel 5’s ‘You Are What You Eat’ and author of The Immunity Cookbook.
That is because the starch molecules in bread recrystallize faster at cool temperatures. This causes the bread to go hard and stale much faster.
Again, you can freeze bread if you want to make it last that bit longer, then simply thaw when you want to eat it.
But, keep in mind storing bread in a damp location can make it go mouldy quicker.
Like garlic and root vegetables, onions should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place, like a cupboard.
But they should be kept away from fruits that produce ethylene, like bananas, as they are extra sensitive to the gas they give off, according to Ms Ibitoye.
The cold temperatures of a fridge are also not good for onions as it causes the starch to convert to sugars.
This means onions can get soggy, soft and go bad a lot faster than they would if kept in a cupboard, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Moisture and light can also cause onions to go mouldy and start to sprout.
Just like bananas, pears release the gas ethylene when they ripen which can make the other fruit in the bowl go rotten.
However, the best place for pears to thrive is the fruit bowl especially, if they are not ripe yet.
Just like bananas, pears release the gas ethylene when they ripen which can make the other fruit in the bowl go rotten
Ms Llewellyn-Waters said: ‘Keep these in the fruit bowl first for a few days and then pop in the fridge — they can be refrigerated for approximately three days before the taste is affected.’
But remember to keep pears away from vegetables like cucumber, which are sensitive to the ripening agent, ethylene.
You should keep apples out of the fruit bowl and in the fridge, according to experts.
Dr Mellor says a low temperature and low oxygen levels keep the fruit fresh, which is why they are stored and shipped in these conditions across the globe.
He said: ‘The enzymic production of ethylene requires oxygen.
‘So if you have a high nitrogen environment which apple transporting boats do, it stops the ripening and keeps the apple crisp.’
Although it is hard to control the oxygen levels at home, keeping them cold and wrapped should do the trick.
Professor Sanders added: ‘Apples also produce a lot of ethylene and this is why if you store apples you pick you wrap them up in newspaper.
‘Hence the expression about one bad apple.
‘A bad apple produces lots of ethylene causing other apples to over ripen.’
In shops, tomatoes are kept at room temperature, but many of us shove them straight in the fridge when we get them home.
Although keeping them cool in the fridge will help extend their shelf life, it can also destroy their flavour.
It can be hard to know where to store your fresh food. Should eggs go in the cupboard or the fridge and why should you not put cucumber and tomatoes in the fridge? Experts say some fruits and veg release a gas causing others to rot quicker
Just like cucumber, the cells in a tomato break down when exposed to the cold which affects their texture and flavour, according to Dr Mellor.
As a result, if you want to keep your tomatoes flavourful, keep them at room temperature and try to eat them within a few days.
But if you simply want to make them last Ms Ibitoye says you can freeze them.
She said: ‘Peppers and tomatoes can also be frozen, but will go squishy after being defrosted but are still fine to cook with.’
Although not a delicate vegetable, carrots perform better in a cooler climate.
Ms Llewellyn-Waters said: ‘Certain hardier root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips and parsnip are also best kept chilled.’
However, carrots will survive a few days in the cupboard without being refrigerated. But the colder temperatures keep them fresher for longer.
Ms Ibitoye said: ‘[Some people] may not have good storage space in fridge or around the kitchen. And it may not be a big concern to most.
‘But if people notice their produce going off quicker than usual it’s important that they’re just aware as to why that may be the case.’
She added: ‘Where possible, buying frozen vegetables like frozen carrots and chopped onions, may be a better option as frozen produce tend to last longer than fresh ones (and much cheaper too).’
Another way of keeping carrots fresh once you have chopped them, is by putting them in some water and back in the fridge. This will stop them from losing moisture and from becoming wilted.
The British egg safety body states the fridge is the best place for eggs because it gives them a longer shelf life. The Food Standards Agency says storing eggs in a ‘cool, dry place, ideally in the fridge’
Where to store eggs probably causes the most confusion.
In the supermarket eggs are kept on the shelves at room temperature.
But many when they get home store them in the fridge, which experts say is the best thing to do.
The British egg safety body states the fridge is the best place for eggs because it gives them a longer shelf life.
According to Which?, eggs are best kept on the middle shelf of the fridge because it is colder — unlike the door which is one of the warmest areas — and good for eggs, milk and leftovers.
The FSA recommends storing eggs in a ‘cool, dry place, ideally in the fridge’.
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