Vegetables and fruits continue their respiration and metabolic activities even after they are harvested. These biological activities go on even during storage and affect the nutritional value. Hence few effective steps have to be taken to preserve the nutritional components (vitamins, minerals, proteins etc) of fruits and vegetables. Here are few simple methods which can be followed to prevent loss of nutrients from vegetables and fruits.
1.Always select the seasonal vegetables and fruits.
2.The vegetables must be tender, fresh and devoid of injury and bruises.
3.Fruits must be firm (not soggy), devoid of injuries and microbial infestations like fungus or mould. They must be neither too young nor too ripened.
4.Avoid frozen vegetables and fruits as far as you can.
5.Purchase according to your needs as these can not retain their nutrients more than 2-3 days when stored in refrigerator.
6.Cut roots of green leafy vegetables before storing. Wrap them in a thin cotton cloth and place this wrapped bundle in a plastic cover. Wrapping green leaves in cotton cloth helps to absorb extra moisture and prevent rotting. Never store any vegetable or fruit in freezer.
7.Pack vegetables separately in plastic covers.
8.Wash vegetables and fruits under running water.
9.As far as possible use vegetable along with its skin.
10.If recipe requires peeling the skin of vegetable, use a peeler to remove the skin. Utilize the skin in mouth watering recipes like chutneys.
11.Never wash chopped green leafy vegetables or diced vegetables. This leads to loss of nutrients in plenty.
12.Boil vegetables till they are 3/4th cooked.
13.Never drain water in which vegetables are cooked. If recipe demand that use drained water in soups or curries.
14.The storage time for vegetables and fruits is 2-3 days in refrigerator. 1-2 days in normal room temperature.