Americans are buying more and more fresh foods. Refrigerator manufacturers are trying to keep pace. They’re packing their fridges with freshness features they say will extend the life of your fruits and vegetables. Key is keeping the temperature and humidity at the proper levels.
Some refrigerators, such as the GE Profile PWE23KMDES, $2,600, are designed with dual-evaporative cooling. Instead of using freezer air to chill the refrigerator, the refrigerator is cooled by a separate system. Consumer Reports tests find that dual-evaporative systems are better at maintaining optimal humidity in the fridge.
The Samsung RH29H8000SR, $2,500, has two doors. The first gives you easy access to frequently used items. And a separate door latch gives you access to everything in the main compartment.
Some KitchenAid models, including the KBFS22ECMS, $1,800, have a replaceable cartridge in the drawer to absorb ethylene gas. That’s the gas that some produce such as apples and bananas give off, which causes nearby produce to spoil more quickly.
With any fridge, Consumer Reports says, it’s important to have separate humidity-controlled bins for fruits and vegetables. Vegetables that wilt easily generally need high humidity. Fruits that ripen quickly tend to need low humidity.
If you’re not in the market for a new refrigerator, here are some tips to keep food fresh in the fridge you have:
- Store fruits and veggies separately to minimize exposure to ethylene.
- Keep asparagus longer by rolling stems in damp paper towels and putting it in a plastic bag.
- Don’t wash fruit until you are about to eat it.
Some food should not be kept in the refrigerator. That includes potatoes and onions, which should be put in a cool, dry place. Tomatoes should be kept at room temperature. Fresh basil also keeps better out of the fridge. Put it in a cup of water on the counter.