Are you the type to throw all of your fruit and vegetables together in the drawers of your fridge? You’re not alone. In fact, many of us are guilty of it. But it turns out it is the last thing we should be doing if we want to keep our greens alive.
You may not have been aware of this, but certain fruits release gases that can cause your vegetables to ripen much quicker than usual, which is why the two should always be kept separate.
Cher Loh, the Head Tutor at the Good Housekeeping Cookery School, explained this, saying: ‘Putting bananas near vegetables can cause them to ripen quickly, in particular broccoli, potatoes, asparagus, carrots, aubergines and green beans.
‘It’s not just bananas that produce ethylene [a non-smelling hydrocarbon gas that naturally occurs during the ripening process of some fruits] – other fruits do too as they ripen, such as apples, kiwis, mangos, plums, peaches, apricots and pears. That is why it’s a good idea to keep fruits separate from vegetables.’
Ethylene is believed to be ‘the ageing hormone’ in plants as it is responsible for the changes in texture, softening, colour and other processes involved in ripening, according to a report from Washington State University.
Therefore, it is best to leave your fruit out of the fridge if possible, or at least in a separate drawer to avoid spoiling your fresh vegetables – especially when it comes to bananas. In fact, Cher warns that unripe bananas should be kept out of the fridge altogether as the cold environment stops a banana ripening completely.
‘The peel will go brown and spotty, while the flesh inside remains unripe,’ she said. ‘The ethylene gas given off in bananas helps them ripen at room temperature, which makes them taste sweet and soft.’