I had an interesting conversation last week, not about growing fruit and veg, but storing it. To refrigerate or not refrigerate.
It reminded me of when I had just started college two years ago and I walked into the room at the tail end of a conversation about storing fruit and veg.
“Lynne’s a gardener, she’ll know. How do you store fruit and veg?”
I immediately assumed they meant any surplus grown in the garden and replied, “Traditionally it was either wrapped in newspaper and stored in crates or in damp sand.”
I will never forget the blank faces of the ‘yoof’ that stared back at me as though I was some sort of ‘dinosaur’ living in a cave. It still makes me laugh.
It transpired they were referring to the fruit and veg in your weekly shop from the supermarket and simply wondered should it be stored in the fridge or cupboard.
When relaying the ‘incident’ to my brother he immediately responded with the fact that he stores his groceries in the same conditions they are displayed at the supermarket.
If it is refrigerated in the shop, then he puts it in the fridge, just on a shelf in the supermarket then it gets put in a cupboard at home.
His theory is that the supermarkets will have spent enough money on researching storage conditions, so that he doesn’t have to.
But last week I did read some (unexpected) ‘rough rules’.
It was recommended that we should, “keep soft veg, like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines out of the fridge, but store root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips inside, preferably ‘in a container filled with cold water’.”
That’s all very well, but of course, my ‘dinosaur mind’, immediately got stuck on the fact that, to a botanist, a fruit is something that develops from the fertilized ovary of a flower. This means that tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, corn kernels, and bean and pea pods are technically all fruits, not veg – soft or otherwise.
It was also advised that opened tomato ketchup and peanut butter are fine in the cupboard whilst nuts and flour last longer if they’re kept chilled. And a ‘top tip’ was, “If your fridge starts to pong, just stick a peeled potato on the middle shelf as the starchy flesh sucks bad odours out of the air’.
Another interesting generational observation, as my nan would simply have recommended cleaning the fridge.
Back to ‘growing your own’ – Mr Fothergill’s are currently encouraging people to grow veg indoors. Their recent survey revealed that 66 per cent want to grow more plants and vegetables to keep themselves fed but many feel they are deterred by a lack of time (39 per cent), not having any outdoor space (37 per cent) and not knowing enough about how to do it (35 per cent.
TV gardener, David Domoney shares lots of top tips to grow your confidence by growing on windowsills and sunny spots indoors at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/windowsill