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How to Store Fresh Produce

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Learn how to store fresh produce properly in your kitchen to avoid food waste. These tips will make wilted lettuce and moldy strawberries in your produce drawer a thing of the past.

Wilted lettuce and moldy strawberries are so frustrating. Learn how to store fresh produce properly in your kitchen to avoid food waste.
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Eating lots of produce is one of the best things you can do for your health. A recent study suggests that eating seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day can help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. That means we all have to bring lots of fresh produce into the house to keep up with our daily servings.

Learning how to store fresh produce properly is essential if you want to avoid throwing away wilted lettuce and moldy berries. Here are five tips that will help you to keep your fruit and veggie supply fresh until you’re ready to eat it.

Storing Fresh Berries

One bad apple spoils the bunch, and it can be true of berries, too. If you leave berries in their supermarket containers and forget about them for a few days, the moisture in the berries can cause them to get moldy.

To avoid this, line a large, shallow storage container with a paper towel. Place the unwashed berries in the container in a single layer, and refrigerate them until you’re ready to use them. Don’t wash the berries until it’s time to eat them.

Storing Fresh Greens

Lettuce and other greens can wilt quickly if they’re not handled correctly when you bring them home from the market or farm. To store leafy greens and fresh herbs, wash their full leaves in the bowl of a salad spinner. Keep washing until the grit is gone, and dry them completely.

Store each set of greens in the refrigerator in its own airtight container with a paper towel on the bottom and the top of the pile of greens. With this method, lettuce should last for a week and herbs can last up to two weeks.

how to store fresh produce

Refrigerator Produce

Some produce should be stored in the refrigerator. The crisper drawers at the bottom of the refrigerator have more humidity than the rest of the fridge, and they keep most refrigerated produce fresher than the dry main compartment would.

As fruits and vegetables ripen, some of them give off ethylene gas, which can bother other produce. For this reason, it’s generally best to keep fruit in one drawer and vegetables in the other drawer.

Store these fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator:

Apples
Asparagus
Berries
Bell peppers
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage

Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherries
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Ginger

Grapes
Green beans
Greens and herbs
Kiwi
Leeks
Lemons
Limes
Mushrooms

Oranges
Pomegranates
Radishes
Rhubarb
Scallions
Summer squash
Tomatillos
Turnips

Room Temperature Produce

Several types of fruits and vegetables do best when stored at room temperature. Many of them are harvested before they’re ripe, so they need a little more time to get ready to eat.

Once the fruits on this list have ripened, they can be placed in the refrigerator for a couple days if you’re not ready to eat them right away. Onions, potatoes, and garlic do best in a cool, dry, dark cabinet or drawer.

Store these fruits and vegetables at room temperature:

avocados
bananas
melons
mangoes
garlic
potatoes
onions
nectarines

peaches
pears
pineapples
plums
winter squash
sweet potatoes
tomatoes

How to Store Fresh Produce Before It Spoils

Check your fresh produce supply every few days to make sure nothing is spoiled. If something is approaching the spoiling stage, find something to do with it.

Many fruits can been frozen or dehydrated. Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven at a low temperature to make fruit leather or other dried fruit. Vegetables can be stashed away in the freezer and saved for the next batch of homemade chicken broth or vegetable broth. Also, many fruits and vegetables can find a happy home inside a muffin or other treat. Here are several suggestions:

How do you store fresh produce in your house? We all have different ways of storing things, so I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you! The storage info for fresh strawberries was super. My daughter and twin granddaughters picked us some beautiful strawberries. It has been years since I had field to table strawberries. Buying them even at the store is pricey. I found your storage information was much appreciated!

  2. Try using Fridgesmarts from Tupperware, you will find your produce last a lot longer than a week.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I often struggle trying to keep my produce fresh and with just starting a garden I was really worried about the fruits and veggies spoiling before I can eat them or can them. Lots of useful information.

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