How do you store your unrefrigerated fruit (including tomatoes)?
July 31, 2019 5:45 PM   Subscribe

A bin on the counter? A fruit basket? A hanging one? A tiered one? It's stone fruit season still in California for a bit longer, but the kittens have decided that all round-ish objects are toys to be batted to the ground or to be gnawed on. In order to eat the last farmers market haul, we had to cut out tooth and claw marks. I am skeptical of fruit baskets because they seem like the wire kind would bruise nectarines etc. Hope me save the fruit from the cats.
posted by spamandkimchi to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Keep the fruit away from the cats. Can they leap to the top of the fridge? The wire kind are fine, as are ceramic fruit bowls, hanging baskets (fiber or cloth) and/or plastic containers.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:49 PM on July 31, 2019

I have a big wooden bowl (I think it's mango wood?) that I have on the kitchen counter. It has pretty high sides so round objects would be hard to scoop out with paws. In winter it's for onions potatoes and garlic. I agree that wire baskets tend to bruise perfectly ripe stonefruit, tomatoes and pears. I also keep baskets of berries and cherry tomatoes and things that need to ripen around said bowl, but I usually keep them stored in small paper bags that I get at the grocery store. So if your cats are going to be intrigued with a potentially crinkly paper bag that's not going to work for you, but if they're not too curious it's worth a try. My cats will only go after paper bags if they're in an unusual location like the floor (or if they smell like ketchup because cats are weird.)

I'd avoid the top of the fridge because it's often very hot. My parents used to have a big bread box on the counter, the kind with a roll top, kind of like this. I bet it would protect your fruit pretty well.
posted by Mizu at 5:56 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have some 3 tier tray for my fruit and the tiers are made of some kind of hard solid material. I don't like it because the part of the fruit that is touching the tier doesn't get to breathe and if fruit ever gets moldy that is where it happens. Some kind of fine mesh would be much better but if I buy a new fruit tray what do I do with the old one?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:23 PM on July 31, 2019

I put paper towel on the wire bowl when putting easily bruising fruit in there.
posted by The Toad at 6:35 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]

Team Big Wooden Bowl as well. This time of year I have multiple Big Wooden Bowls going. It’s a little cluttered but it works.
posted by sallybrown at 6:40 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really like colanders for this. I can prove no science but it seems like bare metal is worst, plastic or enamel-coated seem better. Allows airflow, protects the fruit pretty well, the gaps in the container aren't so large that stonefruit etc try to sink through the gaps.

When I've really got a lot a lot of stuff to store, a colander with a plate on top with another colander on that seems to still work fine.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:49 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have a metal basket with attached banana hook that I use, but especially in the warm summer weather I toss everything in the fridge as soon as it's ripe. OTOH I also end up storing my tomatoes in the fridge even though it messes with the texture because they will go moldy so fast at room temp it isn't even worth it.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:05 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

Another big wooden bowl vote here.
posted by crunchy potato at 7:23 PM on July 31, 2019

You can buy zippered mesh bags for storing veggies and fruit. I use a plastic bag inside the zip bag with the plastic half open. I can hanf this in my three tiered metal hanging basket, lately that has become pasta storage, and the fruit goes in a bowl, bagged. Tomatoes are so ripe now I refrigerate them. Also Trader Joes sellsnsome stuff in hard plastic boxes. The last stone fruit I stored out, was in boxes with tomatoes in box, in a zippered mesh bag. Then no bugs, no cats.
posted by Oyéah at 7:31 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I just keep mine corralled on a butcher block.

(Use Ssssscat to train your kittens to stay off the kitchen counters. It works. And it is worth it.)
posted by janell at 10:01 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Put a mesh picnic cover over the top of the bowl of plate you store the produce in.

Unsolicited life and cat advice: stop eating produce with claw marks. Cats fling their poop around with their feet. The bacteria laden microscopic smears of poo from that travels into the wet fruit and at room temperature finds a growing bonanza.

This is the best time to train kittens to not use the kitchen counters for anything. If these cats grow into the tyoe that enjoy knocking things off ledges and counters, you’ll have to keep everything off those surfaces. But mostly they’re wiping their poop feet and little poopy butts on your food prep surfaces.
posted by bilabial at 5:29 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

No pets but I prefer to buy ripeish fruit and veg and everything except onions, garlic and potatoes goes in the fridge. I’d sooner make an effort to remember to take things out of the fridge and let them come to room temp for flavour reasons than deal with fruit flies and food waste if I don’t manage to get through the food as quickly as I’d hoped.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:25 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Wooden bowls for tough fruits like apples & oranges. Rubbermaid Freshworks containers for the softer fruit. I keep all fruit & veg in the fridge in them & delicate fruits that can go from hard to rotten too quickly but need ripening in the same containers on the counter. Also most summer fruits freeze well for up to 3 months (then they get ice crystals). Remove pits from stonefruits and freeze as is The texture changes a little but is great in smoothies, oatmeal or for baking.
posted by wwax at 7:41 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Invert a colander OVER your fruit to keep them away from it.
posted by metasarah at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's a metal version of the picnic cover I'm talking about.
posted by bilabial at 8:52 AM on August 1, 2019

I have one of those three-basket hanging basket thingies, they're fine for all kinds of fruit. Usually I have too much to fit in it, so the rest of it just sits on the counter. I have a cat but my cat is less of an a-hole than most. Even if she was an a-hole, she'd never be able to get to the hanging basket so that gets my vote.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:52 AM on August 1, 2019

Keep apples away from other fruits unless you are trying to ripen them. Apples exude a gas or something that ripens other fruit. I just lost some donut peaches this way because I wasn't thinking and carelessly tossed them all in the same bowl.

I just use a huge plastic bowl. I feel like bananas ripen better if you hang them. I used to have a hook thing for that and it worked pretty well.
posted by Aquifer at 9:00 AM on August 1, 2019

Response by poster: Poopy butts indeed. So far we've managed to keep the kittens off the actual kitchen counters, but we had been keeping fruit on the dining table and it began to be impossible to keep them off the table. We don't usually eat there anyway, so we conceded after several weeks of battle and the sight of one of them doing a pull up onto the table.

Note to past self - creating a climbing gym for the kittens out of a laundry drying rack was a really good idea except for the fact that now the kittens are gaining strength and agility even more quickly.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:13 AM on August 1, 2019

We use one of these. Specifically, the variant with the cloth liner.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:18 AM on August 1, 2019

We have two of the three-basket hanging thingies, rearranged into three two-basket hanging thingies, which makes each of them short enough to hang under a cabinet and far enough above the counter to make the counter really, really easy to clean. Towels in the basket if the fruit seems delicate.

Also the pair of smallest baskets, which is right next to the knives and cutting boards, only has onions and garlic and shallots and is called the Spem.
posted by clew at 1:27 PM on August 1, 2019

Another vote for hanging tiered one, small towel for ripe peaches.

PSA "in the refrigerator" is explicitly not an answer to this specific question about unrefrigerated fruit.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:00 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

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