Keeping Fruits and Vegetables Fresh
Fun fact: did you know that June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month?
Throughout the month of June, fruit and vegetable harvests are happening across the country. This makes for fresh and bountiful dishes in commercial kitchens everywhere. If your commercial kitchen is looking to make a large purchase into this fresh inventory, consider the following handling and cleaning practices. This not only keeps everyone safe but allows your fresh produce to last longer.
Cleaning Your Fresh Fruits And Veggies
Before you use any fruits or vegetables, you will need to clean them. Only clean them if you plan to use them that day or the day after. They can come into contact with pesticide chemicals used by the farmer. Being out in the environment, they could also be carrying dirt and other unwanted particles left by insects.
Wash Your Hands
Before handling any fruits or vegetables, make sure to have your staff wash their hands. Warm water and antibacterial soap must be used for a minimum of 20 seconds before you handle these items. This prevents your staff from contaminating the fruits and vegetables.
Clean And Sanitized Materials
Any knives, cutting boards, or surfaces that you plan to use for cleaning or preparation must be sanitized prior to use. Many commercial kitchens enjoy serving fruit produce raw in fruit cups or cool sides for their summer dishes, so eliminating any chance of cross-contamination is absolutely essential.
Rinsing Your Produce
Using the right rinsing equipment is at the core of cleaning and maintaining the safety of your produce. A good wash on all of your products is the first step. With the ACS-2 Basic from OptiPure, the pure water that is filtered over the product is filtered with ozone infusion. This keeps your items safe during cleaning, removing them from anything harmful on their exterior.
Separate Your Different Items
Unless you are cooking your items together, it is important to keep these separated items exactly that way; separated. Different items that will be cooked separately and for different dishes should be stored separately. You do not want to cause cross-contamination between them.
Storing Your Raw Vegetables and Fruits
Whether you are cooking your fresh produce right away or planning to cook it later, how you store it is critical to maximizing the shelf life.
Any produce that you are not planning to use right away should be refrigerated immediately to prevent them from being contaminated from bacteria. With the month of June offering rising temperatures across the nation, it is best to refrigerate under an hour if the outdoor temperature rises to or above 90 degrees. Since you have washed these items, you will need to go ahead and cut them into the desired slices and portions for your dishes.
Any produce that you plan to use beyond the next 48 hours should be frozen. Once you have cleaned and separated these items, your staff will need to wrap these veggies or fruits in the appropriate freezing bags or plastic. Write the date of storage on these items and store them at or below 0 degrees. These items will last for several months in the freezer so that you can provide fresh ingredients to your customers for months to come.
Enjoy Your Fresh Produce For Months To Come
With the right commercial equipment, you can properly sanitize your prep stations and clean these fresh food items so that your dishes are safe and delicious. Offering fresh items on your menu is something that your customers are seeking this time of year and can boost your sales significantly.
If you would like more information on getting the appropriate equipment in your kitchen, give us a call today. We look forward to reviewing and assessing your equipment needs, pairing you with the right option.