We all know that one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. But did you know that even a good apple as it ripens will ruin a watermelon stored next to it? It is just one example of how certain types of fruit or vegetable can make others go off too quickly with costly consequences for shoppers. Keeping certain fruit and veg together it's so wrong - and could lead to unnecessary wastage as a result.

According to studies, keeping the right kinds together so that they stay fresh longer could save customers lots of money by cutting the amount they end up having to throw away. This is because certain fruit and vegetables produce the gas ethylene when stored together. The gas is released during the ripening process and can reduce the shelf-life of other fruit and vegetable nearby.

AgroWeb has compiled a list of the best ones to store together and those to keep apart.

Apples and watermelons are long-term enemies while bananas don’t play well with others and should be kept on their own.

But cherries are immune to the negative effects of the ethylene produced by others and can therefore be paired with a variety of partners.”

Apples, pears, apricots, bananas, kiwis, mangoes, peaches and plums all produce ethylene as they ripen – which results in changes in texture, softening and color.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes should be kept somewhere cool and dark away from fruit to prevent any early sprouting.

Other produce particularly sensitive to ethylene include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, lettuce and green beans.

However, cherries and blueberries do not produce much ethylene and the gas won’t influence their ripening.

Herbs can be notoriously tricky to keep from wilting, but if you keep them in an air-tight container wrapped in a moistened paper towel, they'll maintain their freshness for up to ten days in your fridge. The life of leafy greens can also be extended by as much as three extra days if you don't wash them before putting them in your fridge.

Keep carrots, beetroot and parsnips in the fridge, and refrigerating berries and grapes immediately.

AgroWeb offers more tips for extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables:

• Berries. Refrigerate berries, unwashed and in their original container.

• Cauliflower. Refrigerate them stem side down in a sealed plastic bag.
• Garlic. Store it in the pantry, or any location away from heat and light. It'll last up to four months.
• Peaches. Let them ripen on the counter in a paper bag punched with holes, away from sunlight.
• Tomatoes. Spread them out on the counter out of direct sunlight for even ripening.

Store Your Food Correctly to Maximize Its Shelf Life

First, you'll want to make sure your fridge is kept cold enough -- below 4 degrees Celsius. This will ensure food safety. Also leave enough space in your fridge for cold air to circulate. If your refrigerator is too tightly packed, your food will spoil faster. Next, you'll want to properly store each individual food.

You Simply Must Do This with Your Produce

Oxygen, in most cases, is not food's friend as it accelerates food decay. A simple way you can protect most of your produce from the damaging effects of oxygen in the air is to make sure you "vacuum pack" your produce.

You can easily do this using the bag at the grocery produce section to store your vegetables, and then put the bag against your chest and use your arm to squeeze the produce against your chest and force all the air out of the bag. Once the air is removed you can seal it with a twist tie and thus minimize exposure to oxygen.

This simple technique can easily double or triple the normal shelf life of your vegetables by keeping oxygen away from them.

Food Planning 

Planning your meals is important for a number of reasons, one of which is reducing the amount of food that will go to waste; since you'll only buy what you need each time you hit the store.

It will also go a long way to help you raise the nutritional content of your meals, as lack of planning combined with time constraints tend to be the number one reason for poor eating habits.

We recommend buying your food locally, preferably from a small farmers market you can visit and inspect for yourself. Not only will this guarantee you the freshest foods, giving you a few extra days of leeway before they spoil, this practice is also the most environmentally friendly, leaving the tiniest carbon footprint.

Also keep in mind that eating fresh, raw foods – selected to suit your nutritional type --is the way to be optimally healthy.

Processed "convenience foods" really don't save you much time either. In one study, the difference between meals involving more than 50 percent convenience foods, compared to limited use of such items, was negligible. Meals still took an average of 52 minutes to prepare. The only difference seen was the amount of time spent on hands-on preparation, where the use of convenience foods saved an average of 10 to 12 minutes.

However, if you want to save money, steer clear of those precut, ready-to-use foods, as they can cost twice as much as the uncut and unprepared versions.

Remember, the fresher your foods are to start with, the longer they'll be safe to eat, so choose small amounts of the freshest foods you can find and eat them as soon as possible.

Vegetables, in particular, begin to lose their nutritional value shortly after harvesting. If you have to choose between frozen or canned vegetables, frozen is better, but still cannot compare to fresh.

To use up foods that are at the height of freshness, you can also cook in large quantities, and store the surplus in glass containers in your fridge or freezer. This is perhaps the easiest way to ensure you have a healthy lunch each day.

To balance out the extra time spent cooking, you can eat many foods raw while you're on the go. Ideally, at least one third of your food should be eaten raw, such as vegetables, seeds, nuts, dairy, and organic eggs.

Vegetable juicing is also an excellent way to get more raw food into your diet, but it will need to be made fresh each day./AgroWeb.org/