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Why You Should Keep Some Produce Away From Each Other

Author: Apeel Team

How you store your groceries has a huge impact on their taste and longevity. As nice as a bountiful fruit bowl looks, not all produce plays nicely together. Some fruits and veggies would last longer if you kept them in the fridge, and a few are more flavorful if you leave them on the counter. By learning the proper storage techniques, you can reduce food waste at home, enjoy cooking more, and even save money!

What makes a fruit or vegetable climacteric?

Yep, "climacteric" is a real word, and it describes produce that emits a greater amount of ethylene gas as they ripen. Bananas are a common culprit. As they turn from green to brown on your countertop, they emit lots of that ripening gas. Other climacteric fruits and veggies like apples and tomatoes are sensitive to this gas and will ripen too quickly if stored next to each other. So the lesson here is not to keep your gassy fruits and veggies near each other unless you want them to ripen faster. 

Produce Storage Redesign - Blog Illustration

What can I store with my climacteric produce?

If "climacteric" is a word, then it would only make sense that "non-climacteric" is a thing too. Non-climacteric describes fruits and veggies like strawberries, bell peppers, and lemons that don't emit as much ethylene and are more tolerant of their gassy companions. So go ahead, keep all our bananas and lemons in the same bowl.

A lesson in plant science

Welcome to edible plants 101. Most fruits and vegetables produce ethylene, but why? Other than making them ripe and delicious, fruits and vegetables have evolved to be consumed by other organisms. They change color, and their sugars break down. This signals to herbivores, "Hey, come eat me." In return, the herbivores fertilize their seeds and (perhaps unintentionally) spread them throughout the earth. This process is essential for fruits and vegetables to diversify their gene pool and continue to grow. 

Produce Storage Redesign - IG

Using science to work for you

For eons, humans and animals have solely relied on this natural production of ethylene to ripen fruits. As technology improves, we have learned more about fruits and vegetables. There are some tips and tricks you can use in your home to increase or decrease the rate of ripening going on in your kitchen.

Take our favorite fruit as an example: avocados.

If you have an avocado that's hard as a rock, put it in an enclosed space (a paper bag will do the trick) with other avocados or a ripe banana. You'll trap in the ethylene gas they're producing and trigger the climacteric response. This will make your avocados ripen more quickly!

To slow down the ripening process, put your ripe or almost ripe avocados in the fridge. The cold air will slow down ethylene production. However, don't put them in the freezer, which can stop the process altogether.

If you're an avocado grower, we have an even simpler solution: using Apeel on your avocados to make them last longer. This will allow you more options with international markets, or deliver a better quality product to local markets. 

If you're a consumer and want to know where you can find longer-lasting Apeel Produce, find us using our store locator.

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Special thanks to Alex Thomas, Ph.D., Amy Keech, and Cody Vild, Ph.D.