Smoothies make for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack. The key to a great tasting smoothie is using ripe, fresh fruit. Properly storing your fruit can help extend its freshness so your smoothies taste amazing every time.
Selecting Fruit for Smoothies
When selecting fruit for smoothies, choose fruits that are ripe but still firm. Overripe or damaged fruit will not store well and can spoil faster. Some great options for smoothies include:
- Bananas – Choose yellow bananas with some green tips
- Berries – Select berries that are plump and free of mold
- Mangos – Pick mangos that yield slightly when squeezed
- Pineapple – Opt for pineapples with fresh green leaves
- Apples – Choose firm apples without bruises
Wash all fruit thoroughly before storage. This helps remove any dirt, chemicals or microbes that could cause spoilage. Pat the fruit dry before storing.
Proper Storage Methods
Proper storage is key for keeping fruit fresh and flavorful. Here are some tips for storing common smoothie fruits:
Leave unripe green bananas out at room temperature. They will continue to ripen over several days. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator to slow further ripening. The peel may turn brown but the fruit inside will remain good for 3-5 days.
Because berries are highly perishable, store them in the refrigerator immediately after purchase. Place them in a single layer in a shallow container lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Raspberries and blackberries should last 3-4 days, strawberries 5-7 days.
Mangos will ripen best at room temperature. Store unripe mangos stem-side down on the counter. Once ripe, move to the refrigerator where they will last 2-3 days. Allow chilled mangos to come to room temperature before making smoothies, as this improves their flavor.
Whole, uncut pineapples can be stored at room temperature for 2-5 days while ripe. Refrigerate cut pineapple in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Pineapple juice and pulp also freeze well for longer storage.
Keep apples in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. While most varieties last 1-2 months refrigerated, it’s best to use within 2 weeks for peak flavor and texture. Store apples away from other produce since they emit ethylene gas that can accelerate ripening.
Freezing for Later Use
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of fresh fruits. Many fruits can be frozen whole, sliced, or puréed for smoothies later on. Some tips:
- Wash, peel, core and slice fruit before freezing
- Arrange slices or pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze solid
- Transfer frozen fruit to airtight containers or freezer bags
- Label with fruit type and freezing date
- Most fruit will retain quality in the freezer for 10-12 months
Fruits that freeze especially well for smoothies include:
- Bananas – Peel and cut in halves or slices
- Berries – Spread in single layer on tray
- Mangos – Peel, slice and freeze
- Pineapple – Cut into chunks or slices
- Apples – Slice apples to freeze
When ready to use, allow frozen fruit to thaw slightly or add directly to your smoothie for a thicker, colder texture.
Signs of Spoilage
Even with proper storage, fresh fruits have a limited shelf life. Make sure to inspect your fruit and discard any that shows signs of spoilage. Indications fruit has gone bad include:
- Moldy, mushy or leaking spots
- Shriveled or dried out appearance
- Off odors
- Brown or dry stems
- Soft or water-soaked textures
Discard fruit that displays these traits to avoid contamination and off flavors in your smoothies.
Storing Pre-Cut Fruit
For convenience, you may choose to purchase pre-cut fresh fruit from your grocery store’s refrigerated section. Follow these tips for proper storage:
- Inspect fruit for signs of spoilage before purchasing
- Store fruit cups or trays in the coldest part of the refrigerator
- Keep leftover cut fruit tightly sealed in refrigerator
- Use within the recommended use-by date
- Rinse or drain liquid from fruit before adding to smoothies
Pre-cut fruit has more surface area exposed so it’s at higher risk of spoiling. Only store for 1-2 days and make sure to use promptly.
Tips for Freezing Smoothies
In addition to freezing individual fruits, you can also freeze pre-blended smoothies for later enjoyment. Here are some freezing tips:
- Prepare smoothie with any fruits, vegetables, yogurt etc.
- Allow to blend thoroughly then pour into freezer-safe containers
- Leave 1⁄2 inch headspace to allow for expansion
- Seal lids tightly then label containers
- Lay containers flat in freezer until completely frozen
- For use: Thaw in refrigerator overnight or microwave briefly
Most frozen smoothies will retain optimal flavor and nutrition for 2-3 months. Shake or stir well before drinking to recombine any separation.
Recommended Fruit Storage Times
Here is a quick reference for approximately how long different fruits will last with proper refrigerated storage:
|Fruit||Refrigerator (35 – 40°F)|
|Apples||1 – 2 months|
|Berries||3 – 5 days|
|Cherries||2 – 3 days|
|Grapes||7 – 10 days|
|Kiwi||1 – 2 weeks|
|Mangos||2 – 3 days ripe|
|Melons||5 – 7 days cut|
|Oranges||2 – 3 weeks|
|Peaches||3 – 5 days ripe|
|Pears||3 – 5 days ripe|
|Pineapple||5 – 7 days cut|
Proper storage is key to keeping fruits fresh and delicious for smoothies. Store most fruits refrigerated in breathable containers. Allow countertop ripening for bananas, mangos, peaches and pears. Freeze sliced fruits in airtight bags or containers to extend shelf life. Always inspect fruits for signs of spoilage before use. Following these fruit storage tips will ensure your smoothies taste great every time.