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How to Store Produce for a Long Shelf Life

How to Store Produce for a Long Shelf Life

How you are storing food affects how long it will last. If you’re frustrated by the amount of food you’ve wasted or you need to stretch your grocery budget, you need to read this!

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How to Store Fresh Produce

Produce has a notoriously short shelf-life, but there are things you can do to make your fresh fruit and vegetables last longer.

Some produce belongs in the refrigerator.

These items should be stored in the refrigerator to maximize their shelf-life. However, there are specific ways to store them.

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You need this in your fridge.

If you have an ethylene gas absorber in your fridge, your produce may last up to three times longer! This kit will work for an entire year.

Apples

Apples will last longer if they are stored in the refrigerator. This is because they continue to ripen after they are picked, and the cool air of the fridge slows the degradation process.

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Apricots

Apricots will continue to ripen on the counter. Once they are fully ripe, put them in the fridge.

Artichokes

Artichokes should be kept in a bag or sealed container for maximum freshness.

Arugula

Arugula should be stored in a container with a damp towel.

Asparagus

Asparagus should be stored in the fridge. However, it should be treated like cut flowers. Stand them upright in a glass of water. Place a plastic bag over the top to protect it.

Avocado

Once an avocado is fully ripe, place it in the fridge. They should be stored loose.

Beans

Beans that are not dried or canned should be stored in a sealed container in the fridge.

Beets

Beets should be placed in a sealed container along with a dry paper towel. The leafy green tops should be removed and stored separately with other leafy greens.

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Bell Peppers

Bell peppers belong in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

Berries

Fresh berries last longer if they are rinsed in a vinegar-water mix. Place one part vinegar in ten parts water. Swirl the berries in the mixture. Drain them, rinse them, and then dry them. Make sure they are thoroughly dry! The solution is weak enough that you won’t taste the vinegar, but you’ll notice that your berries last much longer.

Place a dry paper towel in the bottom of a shallow container. Cover the towel with the berries. Do NOT seal the container, though. Air circulation is important to keep berries fresh. If you store the container, they will mold much faster.

Bok Choy

Line a container with a damp towel. Place the bok choy on top of the towel, and store it sealed.

Broccoli and broccolini

Broccoli should be stored in the crisper drawer, wrapped in a damp towel.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts should be stored in a sealed container in the crisper drawer.

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Cabbage

Cabbage should be stored loose in the crisper drawer.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe should be stored in the fridge once it is fully ripe.

Carrots

Carrots must be stored in the fridge, in a sealed container with a dry paper towel. You will need to separate the green tops before storing them. The green tops can be stored with other leafy greens.

Cauliflower

To store cauliflower, place it in a plastic bag or sealed container. Keep in the crisper drawer.

Celery

Celery should always be stored in the fridge, inside a sealed container.

Chard

Chard should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed inside a sealed container. It must be kept in the fridge.

Cherries

Cherries should be stored in a plastic bag or sealed container. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them.

Chives & Cilantro

Trim the stems of chives and cilantro before putting them upright in a glass of water. Cover with a plastic bag. Make sure you remove any bands, ties or other packaging before storing them this way.

Citrus

Citrus should be stored loose in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

Collard Greens

Collard greens should be stored in a sealed container that is lined with a damp towel. It must be kept in the fridge.

Corn

Store fresh corn loose in the fridge to maximize its longevity.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers will last the longest when they are stored loose in the fridge’s crisper drawer.

Grapes

Store grapes in a sealed container in the fridge. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them.

Green Beans

Store green beans in a sealed container or plastic bag in the fridge.

Green Onions

Green onions will last longest when they are wrapped in a damp paper towel in the fridge.

Honeydew

Honeydew will ripen when left on the counter. When it is fully ripe, it should be stored loose in the refrigerator to extend its shelf-life. Once cut, it should be covered with plastic wrap.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers should always be stored loose in a fridge crisper drawer.

Kale

To help your Kale last longer, store it in a sealed container lined with a damp towel. Put the container in the refrigerator.

Kiwi

Kiwi will ripen when left on the counter. When it is fully ripe, transfer it to the refrigerator and store it loosely to extend it’s shelf-life.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens can be sealed in a container lined with a damp towel.

Leeks

Leeks should be stored in a crisper drawer, wrapped in a damp towel.

Lemons

Lemons should be stored loose in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Lettuce

Lettuce should be stored in a sealed container, lined with a damp towel. Remove any bands, ties, or other packaging. Before you use, immerse the lettuce in ice water for 30 minutes.

Melons

Melons will ripen when left on the counter. Store them loose in the fridge once they are fully ripe. If you cut them, be sure to wrap the cut slices in plastic wrap before placing them back in the refrigerator.

Mint

Place mint in the fridge. Trim the stems and store it upright in a glass of water, with a plastic bag over the top. Be sure to remove any bands, ties, or other packaging!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms should be stored in the refrigerator, inside a paper bag.

Nectarines

Nectarines will ripen on the counter. Once fully ripe, they should be stored loose in the refrigerator.

Okra

Okra should be stored in a paper bag inside the refrigerator.

Oranges

Oranges will last longer if stored loosely in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Oregano

Oregano should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp towel and stored in a sealed container.

Parsley

Trim the stems and store upright in a glass of water. Place a plastic bag over the top.

Peaches

Peaches will ripen when left on the counter, so they should be placed in the refrigerator. Store them loose.

Pears

Pears should be stored like peaches.

Peppers

Peppers belong in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. If you store partially-used peppers with their seeds and stems intact, they will last longer.

Pineapple

Pineapple should be left on the counter to ripen. Once ripe, it should be stored loose in the refrigerator.

Plums

Plums should be stored like pineapples.

Pomegranates

Pomegranates should be stored loose in the fridge.

Radicchio

Radicchio should always be stored in the fridge. Remove any bands, ties or other packaging. Wrap it in a damp towel and store it in a sealed container.

Radishes

In order to properly store radishes, you will need to separate the green tops from the remainder of the radish. Store the green tops according to the leafy greens instructions, above. Store the radishes in a sealed container with a dry paper towel.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp towel.

Rosemary

Rosemary should be stored in a sealed container with a damp towel.

Rutabagas

Rutabagas must be separated from their green tops. Store the tops according to the leafy greens section above. Place the rutabagas in a sealed container with a dry sealed towel.

Sage

Sage should be stored like rosemary.

Scallions

Scallions should be stored in a damp towel in the fridge.

Spinach

Spinach will last longest if it is stored in the fridge, inside a sealed container that is lined with a damp towel.

Sprouts

Sprouts should be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator

Summer Squash

Summer Squash should be stored in the refrigetrator. Wrap any cut ends in a damp towel.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes should be stored in the refrigerator once they are fully ripe. Until they are ripe, store them on the counter out of direct sunlight.

Zucchini

Zucchini should be placed in the fridge. Wrap any cut ends with a damp towel.

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Some produce belongs in the cupboard.

Most produce can be kept in a cupboard, as long as it is stored properly.

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash should be stored loose, with plenty of air flow to decrease moisture.

Butternut Squash

Store butternut squash loose in the pantry.

Garlic

Fresh garlic can be stored loose in the cupboard or pantry.

Onions

Onions should be stored loose or in a mesh bag, inside a cupboard or pantry. If you put them in pantyhose and tie a knot between each onion, they can last for months!

Onions emit sulfur gas, which causes potatoes to spoil faster.

Potatoes

Potatoes should be stored loose or in a paper bag. Make sure to keep them away from the onions, or they will spoil much faster than they should!

Pumpkins

Store pumpkins loose in the cupboard or pantry.

Squash, Winter

Winter squash should be stored loosely in a cupboard or pantry. If you cut it, store it in the refrigerator inside a plastic bag or sealed container.

Some produce can be left on the counter.

Believe it or not, some produce will last longer if it is left on the counter.

Bananas

Bananas should be stored away from other fruits and vegetables. If you keep them separate, they will last longer.

Basil

Basil should be stored upright in a glass of water. Place a plastic bag over the top to protect it. Leave it on the counter, though.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes should be stored on the counter until they are fully ripe. To help them ripen faster, place them in a paper bag with an apple.

Watermelon

Watermelon should be left on the counter until fully ripe. After that, it can be stored in the refrigerator.

Learn more about how to save money on groceries and maximize your food budget!

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Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow.com, Livestrong.com, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.