These storage tips will help you do just that
There’s nothing worse than stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables and having them go bad well before you get around to using them.
You can help your produce stay fresh—and for much longer—with the help of a few easy storage guidelines.
Keep your produce fresh following a few guidelines
- Separate your fruits and vegetables. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables.
- Most refrigerated produce should be left unwashed and in its original packaging, or wrapped loosely in a plastic bag.
- Herbs should be left unwashed until used, but stored in a plastic bag that is sealed tightly with little air.
- Mushrooms do best when stored in a paper bag and unwashed until it’s time to use them.
- Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the faster they will rot.
- If your greens seem sandy or dirty, rinse and dry them well, and then store in a plastic bag sealed tightly with a little air.
- Fruits and vegetables stored at room temperature should be removed from any packaging and left loose.
- Keep potatoes, onions, and tomatoes out of the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavour, so it’s best to store them in a cool, dry place.
- Store garlic and ginger outside the fridge in a cool, dry location. Ginger can be frozen up to six months and you can grate it without having to thaw it.
- Avoid washing berries until you are ready to eat them. Wetness will encourage the growth of mold.
- Wrap celery tightly in aluminum foil and store it in the fridge. The foil allows for the ripening hormone to escape, while a plastic bag traps it and encourages moisture loss and spoilage.
- Only buy what you need. Hit up the farmers’ market and grocery store more frequently, or plan your meals and snacks for the week and only buy what you know you’ll use until the next shopping day.
- If you notice anything rotting in the fridge or on the counter, compost it immediately before it starts to spoil the rest of your produce.
More facts about storing fruits and vegetables
- Some items—like apricots, avocados, and cantaloupe—will ripen faster in a paper bag on the counter. The paper bag traps ethylene gas and acts as a maturing agent.
- Before slicing melons you should wash the rind thoroughly to prevent the transmission of bacteria.
- Bananas ripen quickly and will speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.
- When dealing with packaged greens, you should always follow the expiration date on the package, no matter how fresh the leaves look because bacteria can develop.
- You can trim the bottoms of fresh herbs and stand them upright in a small glass of water, just like a bouquet of flowers. Slip a plastic bag over top and you’ve just increased their life by at least a week!
- Avocados continue to ripen after picking so store them whole in a cool—not cold—place. Once ripe, you can stabilize them for a few days in the fridge.
- Grapes are best stored in a paper bag (or perforated plastic one) in the fridge. They will last 1 to 2 weeks like this.
- Pomegranates should be kept in a cool, dark place like a paper bag in the fridge.
- Lemons stored in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge will last four times as long as lemons stored at room temperature!
- Cucumbers last longer stored at room temperature!
- Cut the leafy tops off pineapple and store upside down. This helps redistribute sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping, and helps it last longer.