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How to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh

Feel bad every time you have throw away your fruits and vegetables because you forgot about them?

How can you keep your bananas from quickly turning bad?

Fruits and veggies are perishables and need extra care when stored.

Here’s a list of tips and tricks on how to care for your fruits and veggies!

F R U I T S

APPLES
Store on a cool counter or shelf for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, place in a cardboard box in the fridge.

APRICOTS
Store on a cool counter in room temperature or fridge if fully ripe.

BANANAS
Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. Keep them on the counter, or in a basket with holes or openings to allow air to circulate.

BERRIES
Berries are fragile. When storing, be careful not to stack too many at once, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well. Wash just before eating.

CHERRIES
Store in an airtight container. Wash just before eating.

CITRUS
Store in a cool place with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container. Added moisture encourages mold.

DATES
Dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in. Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag, as long as it’s porous to keep the moisture away from the skin of the dates.

FIGS
Figs don’t like humidity, so no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week, unstacked.

GRAPES
Make sure to select clusters that are free from molds if you plan to keep them in your fridge.  A mistake people make when storing grapes is washing them before storing. While this may clean them and get rid of dirt on them, the water will make them mushy and promote bacterial growth. Wash just before eating.

KIWI
Keep at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate. Do not place in refrigerator longer than 1-2 weeks.

LEMONS & LIMES
If you are going to use them within a week, keep them on the counter at room temperature. Lemons and limes need air so if you place them in a bowl, you may notice their bottoms may grow mold. Try to keep them separated or in an aerated bowl. If you don’t consume them within a week, you can keep them in a bowl in the refrigerator for up to a month.

MANGOES
Store on the counter until ripe or for 2-5 days, then move to refrigerator, and keep for 5-7 days. If you want to freeze them, wash, peel, and slice into pieces. Place pieces on a cookie sheet until frozen and then transfer them into a plastic bag.

MELONS
Store uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to 2 weeks. Cut melons should be stored in the fridge, in either a closed or open container.

NECTARINES (similar to apricots)
Store in the fridge if ripe, best enjoyed cold and crisp.

PEACHES (and most stone fruits)
Refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruits will ripen on the counter.

PEARS
Will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening, put an apple in with them.

ORANGES
Stay juicier when kept at room temperature. If possible place in a basket. The baskets are preferable to other containers because they permit the air to circulate freely around each fruit piece.

PERSIMMON (Fuyu ‐ shorter/pumpkin shaped)
Store at room temperature.

HACHIYA (longer/pointed end)
Store at room temperature until completely mushy. The astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the ripening process, place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, check now and then, but don’t stack‐-they get very fragile when really ripe.

PLUMS
Store at room temperature until ripe. Once ripen, store in the refrigerator for up to 5 more days.

POMEGRANATES
Keep up to 1 month stored on a cool counter.

RASPBERRIES
Wash your berries in a vinegar solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Place berries in a refrigerator-safe bowl (plastic) with a paper towel on the bottom. Replace paper towel when it gets damp.

STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries don’t like moisture. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.

WATERMELON
Keep watermelon uncut on your counter at room temperature for up to 7-10 days. Cut watermelon can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


V E G E T A B L E S

 *Always remove any tight bands from your vegetables or at least loosen them to allow them to breathe.

ARTICHOKES
Place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.

ASPARAGUS
Place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. (Will keep for a week outside the fridge)

AVOCADOS
Place in a paper bag at room temperature. To speed up their ripening, place an apple in the bag with them.

ARUGULA
Like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lie flat to dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any extra moisture.

BASIL
Difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. The best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.

BEANS (shelling)
Open container in the fridge, eat ASAP. Some recommend freezing them if not going to be eaten right away.

BEETS
Cut the tops off to keep beets firm (be sure to keep the greens!).  Leaving the top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them lose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in an open container with a wet towel on top.

BEET GREENS
Place in an airtight container with a little moisture.

BROCCOLI
Place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.

BROCCOLI RABE
Store in an open container in the crisper, but best used as soon as possible.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
If bought on the stalk, leave them so. Store the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place. If bought loose, store them in an open container with a damp towel on top.

CABBAGE
Place out on a cool counter for up to a week, or otherwise in the crisper. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to lose its moisture after a week, so, best used as soon as possible.

CARROT
Cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long.

CAULIFLOWER
Will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they are said to taste best when consumed the day they are bought.

CELERY
Does best when simply placed in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter. If you want to keep it in the refrigerator, wrap it in tin foil. It will stay crisp for weeks.

CELERY ROOT/CELERIAC
Wrap the root in a damp towel and place in the crisper.

CORN
Leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best eaten sooner than later for maximum flavor.

CUCUMBER
Wrap in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them, they should be fine left out in a cool room.

EGGPLANT
Does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it; eggplant doesn’t like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage, place loosely in the crisper.

FAVA BEANS
Place in an air tight container.

FENNEL
If used within a couple of days after it’s bought, fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days, place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.

GARLIC
Store in a cool, dark place.

GREEN GARLIC
Store in an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two. Best used before it dries out.

GREENS
Remove any bands, twist ties, etc. Most greens must be kept in an air‐tight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.

GREEN BEANS
They like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.

GREEN TOMATOES
Store in a cool room away from the sun to keep them green and use quickly or they will begin to color.

HERBS
A closed container in the fridge to be kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.

LETTUCE
Keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.

LEEK
Leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).

MUSHROOM
Keep mushroom in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. If you are using some of the mushrooms, try to open a corner of the plastic wrap and just take what you need. Cover the rest with a paper towel and cover with more plastic wrap and place back into the refrigerator.

OKRA
Doesn’t like humidity. So a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well, best eaten quickly right after purchase.

ONION
Store in a cool, dark and dry, place. Needs good air circulation, so don’t stack them.

PARSNIP
Store in an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrap in a damp cloth in the fridge.

PEPPERS  (Sweet/Hot/Bell)
Store in a plastic bag before placing in crisper or refrigerator. Green peppers stay fresh longer than orange or red peppers. Will last 1-2 weeks in refrigerator or up to 10 months in the freezer. To freeze, cut into slices and place on cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen, then place in air-tight container or freezer bag and return to freezer.

POTATO (like garlic and onions)
Store in a cool, dark, and dry place such as a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.

RADICCHIO
Place in the fridge in an open container with a damp cloth on top.

RADISHES
Remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in an open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.

RHUBARB
Wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.

RUTABAGAS
Store in a cool, dark, humid root cellar or a closed container in the crisper to keep their moisture.

SNAP PEAS
Refrigerate in an open container.

SPINACH
Store loosely in an open container in the crisper. Spinach loves the cold.

SPRING ONIONS
Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.

SPROUTS
Keep them cold under 40 degrees F or 4 degrees C. Get them in the refrigerator as soon as possible and they should last for 10-14 days.

SUMMER SQUASH
Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.

SWEET PEPPERS
Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as wetness decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage needed.

SWEET POTATOES
Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.

TOMATOES
Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.

TURNIPS
Remove the greens (store separately). As radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.

WINTER SQUASH
Store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Many growers say winter squashes get sweeter if stored for a week or so before consumed.

ZUCCHINI
Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.


How do you keep your fruits and veggies fresh at home?

Filed under: Cook, Home

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Stephanie is the founder and curator of Chléa Living, and copywriter for Chléa Consulting. A peanut butter lover and a sucker for big band music, Stephanie loves to karaoke, bake, take pictures, and obsesses over making lists. Her biggest pet peeve is a messy space, which is why she loves cleaning and organizing. While Stephanie loves waking up in the morning to make a smoothie and meditate, her secret dream is to win an eating competition (shhh). Follow @chlealiving for a daily dose of all things happy, sunny, and yummy!

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