The smartest way to store fruits and veggies so they last longer

I have this weird thing where I’m paranoid about my food going bad. So I eat it up like crazy. Not the best habit. I also have this thing (that I totally hate) where I get totally judgey when I see someone storing their produce wrong. Tomatoes in the fridge - no way! If you’re feeling paranoid, confused, or concerned about me judging - no fear! The realm of fruit and veggie storage may not be the most familiar, but I promise it’s easy peasy. Follow below to help your happy produce last for days.

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LEAFY GREENS

  • Store in the fridge in an airtight bag or container
  • These you can wash either before storage or at time of eating
  • Pro-tip: I've had luck wrapping the greens in a damp paper towel and then storing the whole bundle in a produce bag to prolong shelf life. My CSA farmer also recommended using a damp tea towel instead

BANANAS, AVOCADOS, TOMATOES

  • Don't ruin these guys by keeping them in the fridge! They ripen on the counter and are tastiest at room temp
  • As they ripen, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, and some other fruits emit a gas called ethylene that hastens the ripening of other produce
  • Pro-tip: I do place avocados in the fridge once they're ripe to slow the process, but, as I’m sure you’ve experienced the road from perfection to mushy mess is a quick one. It's definitely better to just eat them at that sweet spot instead!

STONE FRUIT (peaches, plums, nectarines, etc)

  • Like bananas and avocados, these should live on the counter to ripen at room temperature
  • Once ripe you can store in the fridge to prolong shelf life
  • The exception here is cherries, which want to stay refrigerated
  • Pro-tip: If you’ve overdone it and find yourself with an excess of ripe stone fruit, and aren’t feeling up a pie or jam sesh, slice those juicy babies and pop in the freezer for an off season (and convenient - yes!) treat

ROOT VEGGIES

  • Most root vegetables love cool, dark storage
  • Potatoes, garlic, and onions want to be out of direct light and out of the fridge
  • I do often keep turnips (especially those cute small guys that are around this time of year), beets, and carrots in the fridge, but as long as your kitchen isn't too hot these can last at room temperature for some time
  • Cabbage is another good storage vegetable that can go either way. I keep mine refrigerated, especially in the summer when the house temperature tends to be warmer
  • Radishes tend to be fragile, so keep refrigerated
  • Pro-tip: cut the leafy end from the veggie part of radishes, turnips, and beets to keep each part lasting longest. If kept on and stored for a bit, both parts fade faster. Definitely keep those greens for a nice sauté, addition to pasta, or funky pesto
If you’ve overdone it and find yourself with an excess of ripe stone fruit, and aren’t feeling up a pie or jam sesh, slice those juicy babies and pop in the freezer for an off season (and convenient - yes!) treat

HERBS

  • Like leafy greens, these belong in the fridge; put them in a bag or, like the greens, wrap in a damp towel and then store in a plastic bag
  • You can also keep herbs fresh in the fridge by placing in a jar of water like a bouquet of flowers

CITRUS

  • Up to you! There are 2 camps here and I’m a party of both
  • I keep most citrus in the fridge, but the sticklers recommend eating grapefruit, oranges, clementines, etc at room temperature for best flavor
  • According to people who have done their research, lemons and limes last a long time kept in the fridge in a plastic bag

BERRIES

  • Store these UNWASHED and in the fridge
  • I recommend picking out any moldy or sad pieces before storing to maintain the integrity of the rest of the bunch

Almost everything else

  • Eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, corn, celery, artichokes, apples, asparagus are best in the fridge as well. Most want to be sealed for longevity

Any storage tips I'm missing? Let me know in the comments.