When subjected to higher temperatures and light, the plants become more metabolically active, causing them to wilt quicker and lose more vitamins. If vegetables are stored for too long they may rot or start to go moldy. Rotten vegetables are spoiled and are no longer suitable for consumption.
Just like fruit, some vegetables produce ethylene gas or are susceptible to it. For example, white cabbage and carrots become bitter when stored with apples. Tomatoes release the most ethylene gas of all vegetables. Therefore, tomatoes should ideally, not be stored with other vegetables that are susceptible to ethylene such as cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, potatoes, leeks, peppers or Brussels sprouts.
Some vegetables are vulnerable to cold damage if the temperature at which they are stored is too low. Vegetables that are susceptible to the cold, such as aubergines, cucumbers, potatoes, pumpkins, peppers and tomatoes should therefore be kept in a storeroom or in the cellar.
Almost all vegetables are suitable for freezing. Blanching them beforehand helps retain their colour, taste and vitamins for a longer period of time. To blanch vegetables, place them in boiling water for 1-3 minutes and then rinse in ice-cold water.
Potatoes purchased in plastic bags should be unpacked at home and stored in a cool, dark and airy place. The optimal storage temperature is 4 – 6 °C.
Potatoes that are not protected from the light develop green patches that denote the presence of the glycoalkaloid poison, solanine. This can cause symptoms of poisoning. Any green areas should always be cut out completely.