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How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

Shari's BerriesJuly 9, 2018

General storage tips for fruits and vegetables

While fruits and veggies each have their own specific storage preferences, they also have several preferences in common. To get yourself started on the right track, check what fruits are in season to make sure your favorite fruit is available. Produce always tastes best when they are in season, so learn their peak times before learning how to store fruit!

  • Immediately remove any rubber bands or ties used to keep your produce together when you get home. Leaving them on can bruise your produce.
  • Make sure to also cut off the leafy tops of root vegetables (like radishes and carrots) and store them separately. Leaving the tops on drains the moisture out of your produce and can cause the vegetables to quickly lose flavor.
  • Refrain from washing your produce unless you’re ready to eat them right away. Moisture overall is an enemy to freshness for most produce, so make sure your fruits and veggies are completely dry before storing them. Cut fruit, on the other hand, will dry up in three days and should be stored in the fridge as soon as possible.
  • The crisper, more commonly known as the fruit/vegetable drawer at the bottom of your fridge, is prime real estate for most of your fruits and vegetables. It is the coldest part of the fridge and sometimes has settings to that will let you control the humidity.

Some groups of food have specific storage preferences. See a few common preferences below.

berries header

Berries especially do not like moisture. It’s best to keep them flat on top of a paper towel on a plate or in a container that allows them to lay out on the plate in one layer. In other words, spread your berries out so they do not lay on top of each other. If you see any bad or rotten berries, make sure to toss them right away so they do not ruin the rest of the batch!

vegetables with roots header

There are a few exceptions to the moisture rule. One specific exception includes vegetables that still have roots. The roots for these vegetables should be kept moist, so wrap the roots in a damp paper towel before storing in the fridge.

leafy greens header

Another slight exception involves leafy greens. You can wash leafy greens by rinsing them with cold water prior to storage. After rinsing your greens, lay them flat on a towel or use a salad spinner to dry. Once they are completely dry, store in the fridge in an open container wrapped in a dry paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Why do I have to keep some fruits separate?

Some fruits emit a chemical called ethylene gas. This speeds up the ripening process for produce and can either be a good or a bad thing. It’s great if you are trying to ripen your avocados, but not so great when your peaches accidentally go bad. This is why it’s important to pay attention to where you store fruits in your home and even more important to store fruits and vegetables separately.

Here’s a list of some fruits that produce a lot of ethylene gas that you should keep separate from other produce:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes

Only put these high ethylene-producing fruit near your unripened produce if you’re trying to accelerate the ripening process. You can speed up the process even more by sticking them inside a brown paper bag to concentrate the ethylene-gas in a contained area.

illustrated fruits and vegetables

Where to store fruits and vegetables

Below we give you detailed storage information for your fruits and vegetables and include approximately how long they’ll stay fresh. You can also jump down to the fruit and vegetable chart if you just need to take a quick glance to know how to store fruit and veggies!

Keep in mind that approximations are under the assumption that the fruit and vegetables are already ripe, uncut, unpeeled and in its most ideal storage location. You should learn how to pick the best fruit when you’re out running errands so you have a better chance of picking up the tastiest fruit. You should also always double-check your fruit for mold or blemishes before consuming to stay on the safe side!

Refrigerator

Fruit

NameDays FreshNotes
Apples3 weeksStore in crisper in separate ventilated plastic bag, can last about 2 weeks at room temperature
Bell peppers: Green1 week
Bell peppers: Red, yellow, orange5 daysStore in a plastic bag in the crisper
Blackberries2 daysSpread in a single layer on a paper-towel lined plate or container, toss any bad berries
Blueberries1 weekSpread in a single layer on a paper-towel lined plate or container, toss any bad berries
Cantaloupe5 days
Cherries3 daysStore in crisper
Clementines5 daysStore in crisper
Cranberries1 month
Grapefruit3 weeksCan store on counter for up to a week
Grapes5 daysToss any bad grapes, store in the back of the fridge, cut and separate some of the vines to help with air circulation
Honeydew5 days
Lemons3 weeksStore in a plastic bag, can last up to a week at room temperature
Limes3 weeksStore in a plastic bag, can last up to a week at room temperature
Oranges2 weeksCan last up to a week at room temperature
Pomegranates3 weeks
Raspberries3 daysSpread in a single layer on a paper-towel lined plate or container, toss any bad berries
Strawberries3 daysStore in the crisper, spread in a single layer on a paper-towel lined plate or container, toss any bad berries
Tangerines1 week

Vegetables

NameDays FreshNotes
Artichokes1 weekSprinkle stems with water and store in a plastic bag
Arugula5 days
Asparagus3 daysTrim ends and wrap top with a damp paper towel
Beets3 weeksRemove leaves and store in a plastic bag
Broccoli1 weekStore loosely in a ventilated plastic bag
Brussels sprouts1 weekStore in a ventilated plastic bag in the crisper
Cabbages2 weeksStore in the crisper, can last up to a week at room temperature
Carrots2 weeksCut off leafy tops, place in closed container wrapped in a damp towel
Cauliflower1 weekStore loosely in a plastic bag with the stem down to prevent moisture from getting to the head
Celery2 weeksPlace in a cup of shallow water or wrap in aluminum foil
Chard3 daysStore in a ventilated plastic bag
Chili peppers2 weeks
Corn3 daysKeep in husk until ready to eat
Cucumbers5 daysWrap in a paper towel and store inside a ventilated plastic bag in the crisper
Green beans1 weekStore in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper
Jicama1 week
Kale3 daysWrap in paper towels and store in sealed plastic bag in the crisper
Leeks1 weekStore in a ventilated plastic bag
Lettuce heads5 daysWrap in dry paper towels and store in a plastic bag
Radishes2 weeksRemove leaves and store in a sealed plastic bag
Rutabaga2 weeksStore in a plastic bag
Snow peas4 daysStore in a ventilated plastic bag, leave in pods until ready to eat
Spinach3 daysStore with dry paper towels in a sealed contianer
Summer squash5 daysStore in a ventilated bag in the crisper
Turnips2 weeksStore in the crisper
Zucchini5 daysStore loosley in ventilated bag

Counter to Fridge

These fruit can’t ripen in the fridge, so keep them on the counter to ripen then move to the fridge to prolong freshness. Remember to also keep these fruit out of direct sunlight while they sit on the counter.

NameDays Fresh
Apricots5 days
Avocados3 days
Bananas5 days
Kiwis4 days
Mangoes4 days
Nectarines5 days
Papaya1 week
Peaches5 days
Pears5 days
Pineapples5 days
Plums5 days

Pantry

Most vegetables in this category should live in dark, dry and cool areas with good ventilation.

NameDays Fresh
Garlic2 months
Onions2 months
Potatoes, New or fingerling5 days
Potatoes, Red, russet or yukon gold3 weeks
Sweet potatoes2 weeks
Winter squash3 months
Yams2 weeks

How to store fruits and vegetables chart

Peruse through our chart below if you want to quickly reference how to store fruit and vegetables after a quick stop at the grocery store!

Learning how to store fruit and vegetables can help you save time, money and space in both your fridge and your counter. The best rule of thumb to follow is to eat your produce as soon as possible and not to pick up more than you can eat! While you’re waiting for your fresh produce to ripen, you can also pick up some dipped berries or dipped cherries to indulge your sweet tooth.

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