Smart Storage

Keeping your fresh produce fresher for longer

All businesses, including spaza shops and taverns are bound by the Health and Food Regulations Acts. Spaza shops are a crucial part of the informal economy and a lifeline to many of our poorer communities in terms of access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the food items wasted most are fresh fruit and vegetables. This is typically because we have bought too much, stored them incorrectly or didn’t sell them in time. By storing fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness, they will taste better and last longer, helping you sell more of them before they spoil and saving you money in the long run.


Buying fresh produce tips

    By storing fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness, they will taste better and last longer, helping you sell more of them before they spoil and saving you money in the long run.
  • Choose fresh foods that freeze well if there’s a chance you won’t get around to selling them in time.
  • The length of time that food will last depends on how fresh it was when you bought it.
  • Try to buy local, in-season produce as this will last much longer and is cheaper too.

How to Store

Eggs – Keep eggs fresh by storing them in a sealed container in the middle or bottom of the fridge.

Bananas, Apples, Avocados and Tomatoes – store these by themselves. Many fruits give off a ripening agent called ethylene which will cause other produce to ripen and rot sooner than they should. Bananas are well-known to give off ethylene and affect the other fruit and vegetables stored around them. Store bananas outside of the fridge and far away from other fruits and vegetables. Store apples, avocados and tomatoes separately, outside of the fridge. Make sure to store your tomatoes out of sunlight. To stop your cut apples and avocados from turning brown, spray them with a little lemon juice.

Carrots - Storing carrots in a covered container filled with water will dramatically increase their shelf life.

Potatoes and onions - Storing potatoes and onions together will lead to the potatoes spoiling faster. Potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool environment outside of the fridge. Storing them in a brown paper bag will also help them to keep for longer. Onions can be stored for up to 6 months if you separate each onion. A good trick to try is to put the onions in a pair of pantyhose and separate them from each other by tying knots between each one.

Lettuce, leafy greens and fresh herbs – The best way to store lettuce and preserve their crispiness is to use paper towels and a plastic bag. Wash and dry the leaves and lay the lettuce leaves out on paper towels. Then, roll them up and store in a plastic bag. Fresh herbs and leafy greens can be placed in a vase with water. This trick will make them last much longer.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms shouldn’t be washed before storing, but rather just before using them. Store mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the fridge to make them last longer.

Pallet boxes are a cheap and attractive way to store fresh produce separately.  Always keep an eye on what is going on with your fresh produce and throw out any produce that is starting to mold.