A fresh bowl of fruit on the counter is not only a beautiful centerpiece but can also entice everyone to make healthier snacking choices throughout the day. Ideally, the goal is to have a bowl of fruit easily accessible and within reach while keeping the fruit fresh.
Choosing the Right Bowl
Any bowl can be a vessel for fresh fruit, but look for styles that permit better air circulation all around to help maintain freshness. It is better to choose a ceramic or, preferably, a wire mesh bowl. Plastic or metal bowls tend to make fruit sweat which can speed up deterioration. Do not be tempted to choose a large bowl that looks best filled with lots of fruit as it will be difficult to manage the content's freshness.
Also, remember to change or wash the fruit bowl (just the bowl, not the fruit) at least once a week, or more often if needed, to reduce the presence of fruit flies and lower the risk of bacteria or mold that could negatively affect the fruit. Cleaning the bowl more than once a week may be necessary for bowls that do not allow for good air circulation. Be sure to dry the bowl well, or residual moisture will lead to fruit deteriorating much faster. It does not take much more than a small piece of rotting fruit to infect the rest of the bowl's contents.
When filling the fruit bowl, keep in mind that the more crowded with fruit, the less room there is for air to circulate around each piece, which can lead to premature rotting. Also, make sure to refresh the selection often. This will be easier and more natural if you do not overcrowd the bowl to begin with.
You should monitor the contents daily since some fruit varieties decay more quickly than others and will affect the remaining fruit in the bowl. Replace any decaying fruit to keep the bowl's content as fresh as possible. Washing fruit before placing it in a bowl can often start the decaying process, so wash each piece right before eating, and make sure to instruct all family members to do the same.
First and foremost, place your fruit bowl in a visible and easy-to-reach location. Do not hide it on a cluttered part of the counter. This way, everyone will be reminded to have a healthy snack whenever they enter the kitchen.
To extend the shelf life of the fruit, you may want to refrigerate your fruit bowl at night. Why leave fresh fruit out at room temperature when everyone is sleeping? Keeping the fruit cool overnight will help it to last longer.
In warm climates where kitchens are considerably above comfortable room temperatures, you may have to keep the bowl refrigerated for longer periods. In other words, only take it out of the fridge when it is close to snack time or the kids are just arriving home from school. If your kitchen is too warm, keep the filled bowl on a front-and-center shelf in the refrigerator so it is the first thing your family sees when opening the door.
As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes first. Offer various fruits of assorted colors, shapes, and flavors to satisfy everyone. Some types of fruit need closer monitoring, such as berries, which will decay more quickly than oranges. It is also important to keep in mind that certain fruits such as bananas, apples, pears, and kiwi release a gas that speeds up the ripening process. Including these varieties in your fruit bowl can lead to other fruits rotting faster.
It is also a good idea to think outside the traditional fruit bowl selection to keep things interesting. Including a lemon may encourage your kids to add slices to their water glasses, and help increase hydration. An assortment of small cracker packages or nuts mixed in with fruit can also be a welcome treat.
If you find that the fresh fruit bowl just is not working out, consider a covered container of dehydrated fruit or nuts to provide alternative healthy snacks to enjoy.