How to keep fruit fresh

Ensure your fruits and vegetables stay fresh longer by storing them properly. After giving produce a quick cleaning, knowing where to keep them means they’ll be wonderfully crisp or as sweet as possible when you’re ready to enjoy.

Instead of tossing spoiled fruit, which is basically the same as throwing your money away, try these tips for storing fruits and veggies so they last longer:

  • Use produce bags. Store fruits and vegetables in breathable produce bags so they are able to absorb moisture and air. When kept in sealed bags, fruits and vegetables break down quicker.
  • Watch out for cold-sensitive items. Storing potatoes, onions, and garlic in cool, dark spots elongates life for up to a month. But these cold-sensitive items don’t do well in the fridge, where temps dip too low for their liking.
  • Know your ethylene produce. Certain fruits and vegetables release ethylene, which speeds the ripening process. Apples, apricots, cantaloupe, and honeydew are best kept in the fridge to keep them fresh longer. But store separate from greens! The ethylene emitted will wilt your future salad.
  • Leave some produce out of the fridge. Other ethylene emitters, such as avocados, bananas, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, pears, and plumbs, are best kept on the counter and can be tossed in the fridge once ripe to lengthen shelf life. Store separately to keep them from ripening too quickly.
  • Dry your washed veggies. It’s a good idea to wash fresh greens, but tossing them in the fridge while damp may make them soggy. After rinsing, pat dry, wrap in paper towel, and store in an open container in the fridge.
  • Put grapes on a paper towel. Grapes have a tendency to mold due to moisture build-up. Remove grapes from the bag or container the fruit came, wash, and gently pat dry. Place on a paper towel in an open container and pop in the fridge.
  • Don’t wash your mushrooms. Mushrooms don’t enjoy a washing, and are best stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
  • Place stone fruit on counter. Keep stone fruit on the counter until fully ripe and then pop in the fridge to keep it sweet longer.
  • Keep peppers in a bag. Place peppers in a paper or produce bag and store in the fridge. They’ll stay crisp for a couple of weeks.
  • Separate bananas. Prolong the life of bananas by separating them from the bunch, which slows the ripening process.
  • Remove berries from containers. Berries are delicate things, and don’t like moisture. Remove from containers they came in, gently wash and pat dry, and place in a single layer on a paper towel in an open container. Store in the fridge.
  • Store citrus fruits on the counter. Citrus fruits do just fine when stored at room temperature. Instead of displaying in a bowl, simply let the fruit hang out on the counter to resist mold growth.

Not sure if something is safe to eat? Check out this list about when to toss foods.

We could each save around £230 on our annual grocery bill if we reduced the amount of edible food we throw away at home. This is based on figures from WRAP, the organisation that tackles waste and promotes sustainability. And that £230-a-year saving increases to around £540 for the average household – even more if you have children.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of throwing away what was once perfectly good food. Imagine you’ve just done your weekly grocery shop. As you try to find room in the fridge for your new purchases, you discover a sad assortment of leftover, unloved and tired-looking fruit and veg, which finds itself banished to the food waste bin. With a little know-how, however, this is a scenario that can be avoided. Here’s how…

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

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1. Keep salad crisp

You can make bagged salad last longer by transferring the leaves to a bowl or storage container, placing a couple of sheets of kitchen paper on top and tightly wrapping the whole thing with clingfilm to exclude as much air as possible. This will help it to stay crisp and prevent the leaves from wilting in the fridge.

If you’ve bought a whole lettuce, remove the individual leaves and leave them to soak in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours. Rinse them, shake off the excess water (or use a salad spinner) then spread the leaves out on a clean muslin or tea towel before rolling it up. Pop the whole thing into a large, airtight food storage box and keep it in the fridge. You’ll be surprised how long the leaves stay crisp and fresh and you’ll have a supply of pre-washed leaves to hand whenever you want to whip up a green salad.

2. Chop and freeze

Chop spring onions and freeze them inside an empty water bottle. Once they’re frozen, simply shake out what you need and return the rest to the freezer.

3. Veggie vase

Wrap damp paper towels around the bases of your asparagus or herbs, or try storing them upright in a glass with about an inch of water. This will keep them hydrated and slow down wilting.

4. No more floppy herbs

Chop any leftover herbs and store in an ice cube tray, fill with water and place them in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, just pop as many cubes as you need into your cooking.

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5. Beautiful berries

Don’t wash berries before storing them – it just makes them more likely to spoil, as the dampness encourages bacteria growth.

6. Give them space

Don’t store fruit and veg together. Many fruit, such as bananas, avocados and peaches, produce ethylene gas, which acts like a ripening hormone and can speed up the ripening process of other produce.

istetianaGetty Images

7. Storage solution

Avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples and pears will continue to ripen if left out on a countertop, whereas fruits such as grapes, citrus and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated.

8. Ripe and ready

Allow stone fruit, such as nectarines and mangos, to ripen in a fruit bowl and then move them to the fridge once they’re soft enough to eat to help preserve them.

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9. Cut carefully

Once you’ve cut fruit and vegetables, they rapidly soften and can go bad even in a cold fridge.

Protect them with a reusable stretch food cover. This is better for the planet than clingfilm and flexible enough to create an airtight seal around your produce to give it the longest life.

Fresh food storage heroes

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner OXO johnlewis.com £27.99 Sistema KLIP IT Container Sistema amazon.co.uk £11.99 2 Silicone 18 Hole Ice Cube Trays Lakeland lakeland.co.uk £4.99 ZINUO Reusable Stretch Lids ZINUO amazon.co.uk £9.37

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How to Store Fruits and Veggies

How Do I Store My Fruits and Veggies So That They Last As Long As Possible?

Storing fruits and veggies is quick and easy! You can either freeze, refrigerate, or even keep them on the countertop depending on the fruit/veggie. We have included some storage tips and tricks below. Do you have a storage tip you’d like to share? Let us know via facebook or twitter.

In A Cool, Dry Place

Keep bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, lemons, and limes in a cool, dry area, not in the fridge.

Mushrooms can be kept in a cool, dry place and should only be washed just before use.

Eggplant should be stored in a cool area and used within a couple days of purchase.

Keep potatoes out of the fridge in a cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation.

In The Fridge

Store your apples in the fridge. They soften ten times faster at room temperature.

Most fruits and veggies can be stored in the refrigerator.

A crisper drawer will help protect your produce and keep the moisture in to maintain freshness for longer.

Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped with a moist paper towel or you can stand them up in a glass of cold water wrapped with a damp paper towel.

Store carrots in the fridge and peel them when you’re ready to use them.

Plastic bags with tiny vents help keep produce fresh longer by releasing moisture. They are great for grapes, blueberries, cherries or strawberries.

Store berries in the fridge and wash gently before eating or using.

Fresh heads of lettuce should be washed really well with water before refrigerating. Dry the leaves and store them in a clean plastic bag with a few paper towels.

Rhubarb should be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge, but it also freezes well.

In The Freezer

Freezing fruits at home is a fast and convenient way to preserve produce at their peak maturity and nutritional quality.

Freezing most vegetables at home is a fast, convenient way to preserve produce at their peak maturity and nutritional quality. Freezing is not recommended for artichokes, Belgian endive, eggplant, lettuce greens, potatoes (other than mashed), radishes, sprouts and sweet potatoes.

Tips:

Peel and freeze your dark bananas in a clean plastic bag. Use them later in baking or for delicious fruit smoothies.

Freeze papaya slices or mangoes on a tray, then store in a clean plastic bag for tasty frozen snacks.

For more information download ourHome Freezing Guide

At Room Temperature

Garlic and onions should be kept at room temperature (or cooler) in a well-ventilated area.

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and washed just before using.

Mangoes, plums, peaches, and pears can be ripened at room temperature in a brown paper bag and should then be refrigerated for longer storage.

Store pineapple upside down for a day or two at room temperature or in the fridge to allow the sweetness to spread throughout the fruit.

Keep whole melons at room temperature. Cantaloupe can be stored at room temperature, but it will ripen quickly.

For more information download our Home Storage Guide

There’s nothing worse than loading up during your weekly trip to the farmers market and then forgetting about all your goodies, only to find them languishing limply in your crisper drawer days later. To keep produce fresher for longer, follow these tips.

  1. Some fruits and veggies produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it, so keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums, and tomatoes, for example, should be stored in a different place than your apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, and watermelon. Get a longer list of fruits to store separately here.
  2. Keep potatoes, onions, and tomatoes in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.
  3. Store unripe fruits and veggies like pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes, apricots, avocados, melons, and bananas on the counter. Once they’re ripe, move them to the fridge. Banana peels will turn dark brown, but it won’t affect the flesh.
  4. Store salad greens and fresh herbs in bags filled with a little air and sealed tightly.
  5. Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes, will do fine for up to a week in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight, but you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.
  6. Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store it in the veggie bin in the fridge.
  7. Other types of produce such as carrots, lettuce, and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they’re picked, so place these in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge ASAP (make sure they’re dry since moisture speeds up spoiling).
  8. Cut the leafy tops of your pineapple off and store your pineapple upside down. This helps redistribute sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and also helps it keep longer.
  9. Avoid washing berries until right before you’re ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.
  10. If you like to wash, dry, and cut your fruits and veggies all at once, store them in covered glass containers lined in paper towels. You’ll not only be able to see them — which reminds you to eat them — but you’ll also be keeping moisture out.
  11. If you normally forget to use up fruits and veggies if you put them in the crisper, store your veggies in plain sight in Evert-Fresh or reusable produce bags that mimic your crisper’s function.
  12. Buy only what you need. Go to the market more frequently, or if that’s not possible, plan out your meals ahead of time so you only buy what you know you’ll use.
  13. If you notice any rotten produce, compost it immediately before it starts to spoil the rest of the produce.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

On a scale from 1 to the absolute worst, having veggies rot before you get the chance to enjoy them is pretty high up there. But if you constantly feel guilty about the amount of produce you toss out, there’s a quick hack that’ll make your go-tos last way longer in your fridge—and ensure you always have a healthy snack option on hand whenever you get hungry.

Instead of just putting your healthy faves, like carrots and celery, into the produce drawer and leaving their fate up to chance, keeping them nice and crisp for quite a while is as easy as cutting them into sticks and standing them upright in a Mason jar. After partially filling the container with fresh water and putting it on the top shelf of your fridge, you’ll always have access to a perfectly crunchy treat whenever your heart desires—all because that added moisture keeps the veggies from drying out, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, and owner of New York City-based Amy Gorin Nutrition.

Keeping your veggies nice and crisp is as easy as cutting them into sticks and standing them upright in a Mason jar.

When it comes to antioxidant-packed carrots, Gorin recommends trimming the green tops, which draw out moisture. And no matter which sliced veggies you’re using this water hack on—be it bell-pepper slices or stalks of asparagus—don’t scrub ’em before assembling your snack supply: “Wait until right before you’re going to eat the veggie to wash it,” she explains. “The dampness could encourage bacteria to grow, so if you’re going to have the veggies sitting in water, make sure to change that water at least daily.”

And it’s not just the vertical, sliceable veggies this hack works for: “You can also use this method for Brussels sprouts,” Gorin says. “Keep the veggies on the stem, and store the stem end in water. Then break off the sprouts as you need them.” Basically, you’ll never have to prematurely toss your expensive organic vegetables in the trash ever again.

Be sure to eat this many servings of fruit and veggies to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Or, find out how to make veggies taste more flavorful.

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

Jamie Chung

Leave refrigerated produce unwashed in its original packaging or wrapped loosely in a plastic bag. (Exceptions, such as mushrooms and herbs, are noted below.) If your greens seem sandy or dirty—think lettuce from the farmers’ market—rinse and dry them well, then wrap them in a paper towel before placing in a plastic bag. Fruits and vegetables stored at room temperature should be removed from any packaging and left loose. The guidelines below assume that your produce is ripe and ready to eat. Some items, like apricots and avocados, will ripen faster in a paper bag on the countertop (see below). The bag traps ethylene gas, which is released by the produce and acts as a maturing agent. Want to speed the process up even more? Put an apple in the bag, too.
Alfalfa sprouts
Refrigerator: 3 days
Apples
Refrigerator: 3 weeks
Apricots
Refrigerator: 5 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag until soft and fragrant.
Artichokes
Refrigerator: 1 week
Arugula, bagged and in clamshells
Refrigerator: No matter how fresh the leaves look, follow the expiration date on the package, since bacteria can develop.
Arugula, bunch
Refrigerator: 5 days
Tip: If the bunch has roots, wrap it in a damp paper towel before bagging.
Asparagus
Refrigerator: 3 days
Tip: Trim the ends before wrapping the spears in a damp paper towel, then in a plastic bag.
Avocados
Refrigerator: 3 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag until soft.
Bananas
Countertop: 5 days
Tip: Ripe bananas can be frozen for baking (the skins will blacken, but the flesh will be fine).
*Real Simple consulted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food scientists, food manufacturers, and a host of other experts—including fishmongers, cheese sellers, coffee roasters, bakers, and bartenders—to establish these storage guidelines. The first consideration was safety. But because you want your food to be delicious, too, for some products, Real Simple chose the conservative storage time for optimum freshness.

Beets
Refrigerator: 3 weeks
Tip: Separate the leaves from the roots before storing them separately in a plastic bag; the leaves will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
Bell peppers
Refrigerator: 1 week (green); 5 days (red, yellow, and orange)
Blackberries
Refrigerator: 2 days (spread in a single layer on a paper towel–lined plate)
Tip: Discard damaged or moldy berries before storing to prevent the spread of mold.
Blueberries
Refrigerator: 1 week
Tip: Discard damaged or moldy berries before storing to prevent the spread of mold.
Bok choy
Refrigerator: 3 days
Broccoli
Refrigerator: 1 week
Broccoli rabe
Refrigerator: 1 week
Brussels sprouts
Refrigerator: 1 week
Cabbage, green and red
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Cabbage, savoy and napa
Refrigerator: 1 week
Cantaloupe
Refrigerator: 5 days (whole); 3 days (cut)
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag. Before slicing the melon, wash the rind thoroughly to prevent the transmission of bacteria.

Carrots
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Cauliflower
Refrigerator: 1 week
Celery
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Chard
Such as Swiss and rainbow
Refrigerator: 3 days
Cherries
Refrigerator: 3 days (in an open bag or bowl)
Chili peppers, fresh
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Note: Dried chili peppers will keep for 4 months in an airtight container.
Clementines
Refrigerator: 5 days
Collard greens
Refrigerator: 5 days
Corn, unshucked
Refrigerator: Best on the first day; 3 days are possible.
Cranberries
Refrigerator: 1 month
Cucumbers
Refrigerator: 5 days

Eggplant
Refrigerator: 5 days
Endive
Refrigerator: 5 days
Escarole
Refrigerator: 3 days
Fennel
Refrigerator: 1 week
Garlic
Pantry: 2 months (make sure air can circulate around it)
Ginger
Refrigerator: 3 weeks
Tip: Ginger can be frozen for up to 6 months. It’s not necessary to thaw it before grating.
Grapefruit
Countertop: 1 week
Refrigerator: 3 weeks
Grapes
Refrigerator: Best up to 3 days; 1 week is possible (in a bowl or ventilated plastic bag).
Green beans
Refrigerator: 1 week
Herbs, leafy
Refrigerator: 3 days (basil, cilantro, chives, tarragon); 5 days (parsley, mint)
Tip: Wrap the bunch in a damp paper towel before bagging.
Herbs, woody
Such as rosemary and thyme
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Honeydew
Refrigerator: 5 days (whole); 3 days (cut)
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag. Before slicing the melon, wash the rind thoroughly to prevent the transmission of bacteria.

Jicama
Refrigerator: 1 week
Kale
Refrigerator: 3 days
Kiwis
Refrigerator: 4 days
Leeks
Refrigerator: 1 week
Tip: Cut off and discard the dark green tops and keep the roots intact.
Lemons
Refrigerator: 3 weeks
Lettuce, bagged and in clamshells
Refrigerator: No matter how fresh the leaves look, follow the expiration date on the package, since bacteria can develop.
Lettuce, head
Refrigerator: 5 days (iceberg can last for 2 weeks)
Limes
Refrigerator: 3 weeks
Mangoes
Refrigerator: 4 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag until soft.
Mushrooms
Refrigerator: 1 week (in a paper bag)
Mustard greens
Refrigerator: 3 days

Nectarines
Refrigerator: 5 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag until soft.
Okra
Refrigerator: 3 days (in a paper bag)
Onions
Pantry: 2 months (whole; make sure air can circulate around them)
Refrigerator: 4 days (cut)
Oranges
Countertop: 3 days
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Parsnips
Refrigerator: 1 month
Peaches
Refrigerator: 5 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag until soft and slightly fragrant.
Pears
Refrigerator: 5 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag until soft.
Peas, English and in pods
Refrigerator: 4 days
Tip: Leave them in the pods until ready to eat.
Pineapple
Countertop: 5 days (whole)
Refrigerator: 3 days (sliced)
Plums
Refrigerator: 5 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature until soft and the skins develop a silvery, powdery coating.
Pomegranates
Refrigerator: 3 weeks (whole); 3 days (seeds)

Potatoes, new and fingerling
Pantry: 5 days (make sure air can circulate around them)
Potatoes—red, russet, Yukon gold, and others
Pantry: 3 weeks (make sure air can circulate around them)
Radicchio
Refrigerator: 4 days
Radishes
Refrigerator: Best up to 3 days; 2 weeks are possible
Tip: Remove the leaves to prolong freshness.
Raspberries
Refrigerator: 3 days (in a single layer on a paper towel–lined plate)
Tip: Discard damaged or moldy berries before storing to prevent the spread of mold.
Rhubarb
Refrigerator: 1 week
Tip: Do not eat the leaves; they can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.
Rutabaga
Pantry: 1 week
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Scallions
Refrigerator: 5 days
Shallots
Pantry: 1 month (make sure air can circulate around them)
Snow peas
Refrigerator: 4 days
Spinach, bagged and in clamshells
Refrigerator: No matter how fresh the leaves look, follow the expiration date on the package, since bacteria can develop.
Spinach, bunch
Refrigerator: 3 days

Squash, summer
Refrigerator: 5 days
Squash, winter
Such as acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti
Pantry: 3 months (whole)
Refrigerator: 1 week (cut)
Strawberries
Refrigerator: 3 days
Tip: Discard damaged or moldy berries before storing to prevent the spread of mold.
Sugar snap peas
Refrigerator: 4 days
Sweet potatoes and yams
Pantry: 2 weeks (in a paper bag)
Tangerines
Refrigerator: 1 week
Tomatillos
Refrigerator: 1 month (in a paper bag)
Tomatoes
Countertop: 3 days
Tip: To ripen, keep at room temperature in a paper bag.
Turnips
Refrigerator: 2 weeks
Tip: Separate the leaves from the roots before storing them separately in a plastic bag; the leaves will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
Watercress, bagged and in clamshells
Refrigerator: No matter how fresh the leaves look, follow the expiration date on the package, since bacteria can develop.
Watercress, bunch
Refrigerator: 4 days
Watermelon
Refrigerator: 1 week (whole); 2 days (cut)
Tip: If you can’t refrigerate the melon whole, keep it in the pantry at a cool temperature.
Zucchini
Refrigerator: 5 days

The Best Way to Store Fruits and Veggies

Are you wasting food because it ripens-then rots-faster than you can eat it? (We’re sheepishly raising our hands along with you.) Storing food the right way can make all the difference. Ethylene, a natural gas that’s released from some fruits and vegetables, speeds up the ripening process. That can be an advantage-to ripen an avocado quickly, seal it in a paper bag-but too much ethylene can cause produce to spoil. And it’s not all about ethylene; temperature plays a role, as does how and when you wash a fruit or vegetable, and how and where it’s stored. Use this handy chart and read on to help you know where (and how) to store your produce.

Related: 5 Ways to Stop Wasting Food & Start Saving Money on Food

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Fruits & Vegetables to Store at Room Temp

  • Bananas
  • Basil
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Green beans
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash
  • Zucchini

Store These on Your Counter, Then Move to The Fridge When Ripe

  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums

Fruits & Vegetables to Store in the Fridge

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cherries
  • Cilantro
  • Corn (whole ears in the husk)
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Grapes
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Should You Store Produce Together or Separately?

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Determining whether to store your fruits and veggies in or out of the fridge is really only half the battle. Some fruits and veggies should be stored separately no matter where they land. Ethylene gas, a natural gas that some fruits emit, can speed the ripening process of some (but not other) fruits and vegetables. This can sometimes be a good thing. Want to ripen your avocado faster? Store it next to a ripe banana in a paper bag and let the ethylene from the banana do its magic.

But you don’t always want your fruits and veggies ripening on fast-forward, because they may end up rotting before you can eat them. A good rule of thumb is to keep high-ethylene gas-emitting fruits apart from other produce. Apples, avocados, stone fruits, pears, bananas and tomatoes are a few of the top offenders, with delicate leafy greens being some of the most susceptible to ethylene gas.

Also, keep onions to themselves. Onions love to share their fragrance with their neighbors (especially after they’ve been cut), so they should be stored separately and especially away from potatoes, which will wilt and sprout more quickly when onions are present.

How to Store Cut Fruits & Vegetables

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Sliced fruits and vegetables are great to have on hand for snacking and to save space in the fridge. Most fruits will last about 5 days after being sliced (some vegetables a few days longer) as long as you follow a few rules: store them in an airtight container and always refrigerate cut produce. Fruits like apples, pears, bananas and avocado are not the best candidates for slicing ahead of time since they brown quickly. Instead, store these ripe fruits (with the exception of the bananas) whole in your crisper drawer. The crisper keeps the moisture in check which, in turn, adds longevity to your produce.

What to Wash and When

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It’s always a good idea to wash all of your fruits and vegetables before you eat them, even ones you peel. Why? Bacteria that cause foodborne illness can cling to the surface of the fruit or vegetable. (Cantaloupes, in particular, have had problems with Salmonella.) Even if you’re not eating the skin or peel, bacteria may contaminate your cutting board and work their way into the flesh. The chances are pretty remote, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. On a less scary note, washing simply whisks away dirt, which is never fun to bite into. Most fruits and veggies benefit from a quick shower under cold running water, but there are a few tricks to washing that can keep some of the more delicate produce intact:

Leafy Greens: We’ve found the best way to wash leafy greens is to separate the leaves from the head and soak them in a bath of cold water for about 5 minutes. Swirl the leaves gently with your hand to loosen the debris and then lift them out of the water and into a salad spinner and spin to dry. If you don’t have a good salad spinner, it’s time to invest. Storing wet leaves can turn your greens into a mushy mess almost overnight.

Berries: Berries are delicate and they hate to be wet, so washing them can be tricky. We’ve found the best way is to rinse them in a strainer, then spread them out on a paper towel-lined plate to dry before you stick them in the fridge. A microwave steamer (or any storage vessel that has a breathable rack at the bottom) is a great place to store rinsed berries. It keeps them from swimming in any water that may settle.

Related: The Best Way to Store Fresh Berries

Herbs: Wash fresh herbs like you would salad greens in cool water and then spin them dry. With the exception of basil, fresh herbs like to be stored in the fridge with a damp (but not soaking wet) paper towel to keep them fresh. You can also store them like a little mini bouquet of flowers in your fridge by trimming off an inch or so of the stem and sticking them in a jar of water with a plastic bag loosely covering the bunch. You can use the same trick for asparagus too; it helps keep the flower ends fresh. Ditto for basil, but keep you basil bouquet on your counter instead of in the fridge.

Related: Guide to Cooking & Storing Fresh Herbs

What’s the best time to wash your produce? Well, if you’re super-efficient and very good at drying, you can wash your produce as soon as you get it home, but that’s not practical for most people. Just before you plan to use it is the best time. If you’re planning for a party and don’t want to be stuck washing while your guests mingle, it’s fine to wash ahead of time. Just remember, excess moisture is the enemy of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure your produce is dry before you store it.

I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been particularly great about keeping fresh fruit in the house lately. And it’s not because I don’t like fruit, because I do! It’s mostly because when I do keep fruit in the house, I usually end up throwing half of it away because it goes bad before I can use it all. But the warmer weather we’ve been having lately has inspired me to redouble my efforts to eat better, so I decided I needed to solve the fruit problem once and for all.

I did some digging around online for answers, and it turns out that my fruit problem stemmed from how I was storing it. Little did I know that keeping fruit in a ceramic bowl was such a no-no! Apparently, using a solid bowl or container for fruit doesn’t allow for enough air circulation, which makes the fruit go bad more quickly. So what is the best way to store fruit? A fruit basket! And here are a few reasons why.

3 Reasons Why You Should Store Fruit In A Fruit Basket

1. Air Circulation. An open basket allows the gases from the fruits to escape into the air, rather than getting trapped and causing the fruit to age more rapidly.

2. Visibility. A basket give you a good view of what fruits you have inside, so you can easily know what you have. And if you see the fruit, you’re much more likely to eat it while it’s still fresh!

3. Room Temperature. Your fruits can sit out on the countertop in a basket without requiring refrigeration. The only fruits that need to be refrigerated are berries and fruits that have been cut.

Once I had learned that a fruit basket was the way to go, I started shopping online for one. I ended up finding several good options that could work for a variety of home and kitchen situations. Here are some of the best and most affordable ones I found:

8 Fun & Functional Fruit Baskets

1. 2-Tier Fruit Stand $18

This is the fruit basket I ended up buying. It has two-tiers, which can hold a surprising amount of food! It’s under $20, and it looks nice on my countertop.

2. Fruit Tree Bowl With Banana Hanger $16

This fruit bowl is similar to the one above, but instead of having a second bowl on top, it has a hanger that’s perfect for bananas!

3. Three-Tier Wire Market Basket $50

If a tiered design is your thing, then check out this cute design! This one stands tall at 48″ and has 3 separate baskets, so you have plenty of room for all the fresh fruit your heart desires! 🙂 You can use the other baskets to store things like potatoes, onions, garlic, or other foods!

4. 3-Tier Hanging Basket $13

If you’re short on counter space, try a hanging fruit basket! This one has 3 tiers for all your produce, and would add a cute decor element to your kitchen too.

5. 2-Tier Dish Drying Rack $30

This one doesn’t technically count as a fruit basket, but it can certainly make a great one if you’re willing to think outside the box! You can use this rack as a place to wash, dry, and display your fresh fruit!

6. Mesh Apple Fruit Basket $11

If fruit flies are a concern for you, check out this covered model! It has a mesh dome that sits on top, which allows for air flow but will also keep the flies away. And the best part is that the whole thing looks like an apple! 🙂

7. Fruit & Vegetable Hanging Storage Mesh Bags – 5 count $10 (2 count)

Another design that saves on counter space are these hanging mesh storage bags. The mesh material allows for air flow, and there’s a hole near the bottom to remove what you need. Place new fruits or vegetables in the bag through the top, so you’re always using the oldest items first.

8. Fruit And Veggie Hammock $11

And finally, the last “basket” I wanted to share is this cute fruit and veggie hammock! Hang it up under a cabinet and your fruit will stay fresh (and relaxed!) for days! 🙂

I may include affiliate links to products sold by others, but only when they are relevant and helpful. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.

Hi, I’m Jillee!

I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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Bright Ideas

Summer is in full swing, and with the warm weather comes a bounty of delicious seasonal fruit and vegetables, but keeping them fresh can be a challenge. Most of us don’t have the time to visit our grocers daily to get fresh produce, and instead buy everything at once. Sadly, with even the best intentions and voracious appetites, by the week’s end we often find ourselves with more than our fair share of wilted greens, bruised fruits and moldy berries. Thankfully, all that good food doesn’t have to end up in the compost – with just a little bit of extra attention, there are plenty of ways to keeps your greens and berries in prime shape for that summer salad or cake. Read on for 6 of our tips on how to keep your fruits and vegetables fresher, longer!

Give your berries a hot bath

Once the weather gets hot we often find ourselves eating berries by the basketful. But even with a healthy appetite and refrigeration, uneaten berries can go moldy overnight. One way to stop the onset of the fuzzy fungus is not with pesticides, but by giving your berries a hot bath before storing them. Called ‘thermotherapy’ the process simply involves immersing and swishing berries in their plastic basket in a pot of hot water. The hot water kills off mold spores and keeps them fresher longer. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries fare best at 125 degrees for 30 seconds. After bathing the berries spread them out on a towel to allow them to breathe and then store.

Keep tomatoes OUT of the refrigerator

Tomatoes are a staple for most of us year round, but keeping them from rotting in the summer can be difficult. Putting tomatoes in the fridge may seem like a sure-fire way to keep them fresher, longer, but think again. One of the most common food storage mistakes is keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator, when in fact keeping them in cold temperatures rids them of their flavor and transforms their texture in just a couple of days. Instead, put them in a bowl that you have lined with a paper towel with the stems at the top. The most tender part of the fruit is directly around the stem, making this part most likely to bruise, which leads to rotting. Temperature is another important factor when storing tomatoes and room temperature is preferable — keep them away from heat sources and direct sunlight. And if you’re still not consuming them as quickly as you hope, do move them around in the bowl to avoid bruising. For the less attentive, you can also purchase a special container with controlled ventilation and ridges to keep moisture away. Your tomatoes should keep for at least a week.

Wrap your leafy greens

Leafy greens should be consumed within 1-2 days of purchase to ensure both freshness and that you are getting all the nutrients out of them you can. But if you are going to store these greens, the best way to extend their life is to wrap the unwashed leaves in a paper towel so that the towel can absorb any excess moisture — if the leaves retain excess moisture, they will rot quickly. After wrapping in the paper towel put them in plastic bags and keep them in your fridge. Remember to toss any rotten leaves from the bunch before storing, and keep different varieties in separate bags.

Refresh lettuce and herbs with an ice bath

If your greens have started to look a little wilted due to the cold temperature of your fridge, or from being left on the counter for a little too long, you can easily refresh them by giving them and ice bath. Simply place the lettuce leaves or herbs in a large bowl of ice water and shake the greens around a bit to revive them. A minute or two should awaken them and get them looking fresh and new!

Freeze your fruits and veggies

If you overestimated how quickly you could consume your purchases, don’t get down on their eventual demise – and waste. Instead, chop those ripened fruits and veggies up and freeze them for use on a future occasion. You can freeze items such as bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, bananas… and the list goes on! Just make sure you blanch them in hot water before sticking them in below freezing temperatures. Blanching neutralizes bacteria present in foods, delaying spoilage.

Refrigerate ripened bananas

There has always been a lingering myth that says refrigerating bananas only makes them go bad faster. While a banana in the fridge may find a brown or black skin in just a few hours, what lies beyond the peel remains perfectly edible. The cold temperature of a fridge encourages an enzyme found in bananas (polyphenyl oxidase) to polymerise phenols in the banana skin into polyphenols, which in turn blackens the banana skins. However, the cold temperature also keeps the banana from ripening even further keeping the fruit perfect within. If you’re adverse to peeling a blackened banana, try putting the ripe bananas into a plastic bag and seal the bag prior to placing it in your fridge’s crisper. This little trick should keep them looking more palatable.

In Season

As summer stretches into long, balmy afternoons and ripens to a peak, so does the fruit in the fields and orchards. Suddenly the market is brimming with sweet, juicy nectarines, ruby red strawberries, and plump indigo blueberries. And then, poof! As quickly as they appeared, they’ll be gone. If this brief, dizzying moment of plenty sends you into a buying frenzy, you’re not alone. Once you’ve carried home your weight in peak-ripeness apricots and raspberries, how do you keep them from turning to mush before you can devour every last one? Here’s how to extend the life of your precious summer bounty.

Keep it cool.
Refrigerate all berries and ripe stone fruits as soon as you bring them home. Once they’ve reached their peak, the heat (even room temperature) will cause spoilage, quickly. Perfect strawberries can go bad in a single afternoon on the counter.

Keep it dry.
Humidity is the enemy. Don’t wash your fruit until ready to eat, and store on paper towels or a clean dish towel to absorb any excess moisture. Keep it on a shelf in your fridge, not in the crisper drawer — unless you have one you can program. The standard fridge drawers offer a higher-humidity environment suited to vegetables, but unfriendly to fruit.

Give it space.
Ripe fruit is soft and injures easily. Don’t leave raspberries piled into the box they came in to be mushed under their own weight, and don’t cram juicy nectarines into a produce bag where they bash and bruise each other senseless every time you rustle them. Whenever you damage the flesh, you create an opportunity for mould.

Give it air.
If fruit is packed tightly, there is little air circulation, which means more humidity and faster rot. Store ripe stone fruit like peaches, plums and cherries in a shallow bowl in the fridge. Gently transfer fragile berries to a wide container lined with paper towels, keeping them in a single layer or close to it. Leave the container lid slightly ajar to let excess moisture escape.

Wash in acid.
If you’ve brought home apricots or strawberries that are still slightly under-ripe, try giving them an acid bath. Swish any whole (never cut), firm fruit in one part vinegar to 10 parts water. The solution kills off any mould spores already on the fruit, potentially increasing its longevity.

Looking for more tasty recipes? Try one of our 36 Strawberry Desserts to Celebrate Summer.