How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

When buying fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s important to first know what to look for when you are purchasing. And once you’ve done your grocery shopping and get your produce home, then you need to store it in the best way possible for it to stay fresh.

As a general rule, if you purchase something from the refrigerated section then keep it cold. Some of the fruits and vegetables will continue to ripen after being purchased, and others will only stay for a few days before starting to go bad.

Refrigerator:


Most of your fruits and vegetables will be kept in the refrigerator, but some will last much longer than others. Also, make sure you pay attention to how you are storing the produce for optimal freshness.

Fruit:

  • Apples: will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month
  • Blueberries: keep in the warmer parts of the refrigerator as too much cold will damage them
  • Cantaloupe: whole melons will keep for up to a week, sliced will keep for a few days
  • Cherries: will keep for a few days in the refrigerator
  • Grapefruit: keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks
  • Oranges: will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks
  • Peaches: keep on the counter until they are ripe, then keep in the refrigerator up to a few days
  • Pears: keep on the counter until they are ripe, then keep in the refrigerator up to a few weeks
  • Pineapples: once ripe, store whole or cut pineapple in the refrigerator for a few days
  • Strawberries: wash gently and store in the refrigerator for a few days up to one week
  • Watermelon: store ripe watermelon, whole or chunked, in the refrigerator, removing about an hour before serving for the sweetest taste

Vegetables:

  • Asparagus: store in the refrigerator with the cut ends in water, use within one to two days
  • Bell Peppers: need to be completely dry and stored in the refrigerator
  • Broccoli: don’t wash until using, lightly mist the heads and wrap in damp paper towels, refrigerate and use within one to two days
  • Cabbage: will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks
  • Carrots: store in the crisper for up to two weeks
  • Cauliflower: will last up to a week in a mesh produce bag in the crisper drawer
  • Corn: keep in the husks and refrigerate for up to one week as long as the temp is below 40F
  • Cucumbers: can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week
  • Leafy Greens: wash and dry on paper towels, then line a hard storage container with paper towels and store that in the refrigerator
  • Mushrooms: if packaged, keep in the package. If loose, keep in a damp cloth bag or paper bag, never in a plastic bag
How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Counter:

Very little of your fresh produce is stored at room temperature. Most of these do better if you allow them to fully ripen on the counter or in the pantry and then move to the refrigerator to “lock in” the ripeness for a few days.

Fruit:

  • Bananas: age more quickly in colder temperatures so keep at room temperature
  • Peaches: keep on the counter until they are ripe, then keep in the refrigerator up to a few days
  • Pears: keep on the counter until they are ripe, then keep in the refrigerator up to a few weeks
  • Pineapple: to ripen, leave the whole pineapple at room temperature away from direct sunlight

Vegetables:

  • Garlic: store in a mesh bag or wire bowl where they will get enough circulation
  • Onions: store in a paper bag that has many holes punched in it for air movement and clip it closed, store up to three months
  • Potatoes: store in a cool, dry place with air circulation (don’t keep in airtight or plastic bags)

How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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Freezer:

Freezing is a good option for any produce that you know you won’t use all of before it will go bad. For almost all of the fruits do NOT wash it before freezing. Washing adds a lot of extra water to it which doesn’t do well when freezing.

Fruit: freeze raw and unwashed
Vegetables: blanch before freezing

I found a wonderful article that describes how to blanch vegetables and a table with cooking times for many of the common vegetables: https://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/vegetables-herbs/blanching-vegetables/

Decide if you want to freeze your produce whole or sliced/diced and lay it out either way on a cookie sheet in a single layer. After a few hours, once it’s all frozen, you can move the frozen fruits or vegetables to a more permanent freezer container to use for later.

How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Overripe Produce

Try as we might, it is inevitable that you will have some of your fruits and vegetables that get neglected or forgotten and they go past their prime. Some aren’t good for much, but others can still be used in a variety of ways!

Fruit:

  • Avocado: make guacamole
  • Bananas: mash overripe bananas and use them in baking, such as banana bread
  • Cantaloupe: use to make a cantaloupe soup
  • Grapefruit: slice and sprinkle with brown sugar and broil until the sugar has melted
  • Oranges: squeeze the juice out for sauce and dressings
  • Peaches: use to make sauces
  • Pears: poach in some red wine until they take on the color
  • Strawberries/Berries: use in smoothies

Vegetables:

  • Bell Peppers: dice and saute in oil to add to casseroles or Mexican dishes
  • Carrots: use in stews and soups
  • Cauliflower: puree and serve the same way you would mashed potatoes
  • Corn: stir into casserole and use for Southwestern-style meals
  • Potatoes: make potato pancakes
  • Spinach: saute and serve in that way
How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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6 thoughts on “How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

  1. I really don’t think I store a lot of my veggies and fruits correctly, but I do know I store sweet potatoes correctly, out on the counter – I have actually read that if you put them in the fridge it increases their sugar content and reduces their resistant starch! 😮

  2. This is would be good idea for my brother to read because he just recently was asking how to keep them fresh because he Traveld for studying purposes and want to know how. I’m going to pass it to him, thank you for sharing it.

  3. So I started keeping my avocados in the crisper, then pulling one out a day ahead of when I need it for it to ripen on the counter. It works so well. Now I don’t waste a ton of avocados when I get them at Costco!

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