How to Store Produce

By Heather Irwin, MS, RD, LDN

June is National Fresh Fruit and Veggie Month. Nowadays it seems like everything costs more at the grocery store so here are some helpful tips on how to store your produce to stretch your dollar.

PANTRY

The following items should be packed away in a cool dark place like a pantry or cellar:

  • Onions, garlic, and shallots
  • Squash – Winter, acorn, spaghetti, butternut
  • Sweet potatoes, potatoes, and yams
  • Watermelon

COUNTERTOP

The following items you want to store loose and away from sunlight, heat, and moisture:

  • Bananas
  • Citrus Fruit (Store lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit loose or in a mesh bag. Refrigerate
  • for longer storage)
  • Stone Fruit (Ripen avocados, apricot, nectarines, peaches, and plums in a paper bag, then move to refrigerator where they will last a few more days)
  • Tomatoes

REFRIGERATOR

Ideally store the following items in plastic bags with holes in your produce drawer, unless noted:

  • Apples and pears
  • Beets and turnips (remove greens and keep loose in crisper drawer)
  • Berries, cherries, and grapes (keep dry in covered container or plastic bag)
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Carrots and parsnips (remove greens)
  • Celery
  • Corn (store inside husks)
  • Cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers (store on upper shelf which is typically warmer part of fridge)
  • Fresh Herbs (except basil. Keep stems moist and wrap loosely in plastic)
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce and leafy greens (wash, spin or pat dry, wrap loosely in a clean dish towel or paper towels and place in plastic bag/container in vegetable drawer. Keep stems moist)
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms (keep dry and unwashed in container from store or paper bag)
  • Peas
  • Zucchini and summer/yellow squash

ADDITIONAL TIPS

Keep them apart:

  • Fruits like apples, bananas, and pears give off ethylene gas, which can make other produce ripen and rot faster
  • Store vegetables and fruit separately
  • Keep apples, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, pears, potatoes, and watermelon away from other produce.

 

Heather Irwin, MS, RD, LDN
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