What’s better than fresh, delicious summer fruits and vegetables? We do our best to keep them fresh and eat them right away, but we have all experienced grabbing a rotten tomato, unrecognizable berries, or soggy cucumber out of the crisper. However, with a few tips and tricks, we can keep our produce from spoiling too quickly and extend their shelf life. Do you know which fruits go in the refrigerator and which to store at room temperature? Do the cucumbers go in the high humidity crisper, do the strawberries go in the low humidity crisper? Should we keep them in the plastic bag or take them out?

There are lots of different ways to store your produce,  but for optimum lifespan, you should make sure to know exactly which will keep them fresh the longest. Improper storage can cause your fresh produce to go bad quickly, and if this is a struggle for you we have some great tips for you. If your usual purchases include: potatoes, carrots, onions, or apples we have some great tips on the best ways to store them. Check out the health tab on our app or our website. 

Buying fresh produce at the store is always a great option and is excellent for making your meals healthier. The biggest downside is that if you find that you can’t use them all up they go bad pretty quickly. Knowing how to store each item can be vital to keeping them fresh for longer. Also, be sure to check out the
Food Safety App that tells you the lifespan of any items you're storing both in the fridge and freezer. It will let you know the longest you can keep certain foods before they’re no longer safe to eat.

  • 1

    Watch the Ethylene

    Make sure to keep ethylene emitting fruits like apples and bananas, separate from ethylene sensitive ones including broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, and cabbage. Ethylene is emitted when the fruit is ripening, but it can cause the decay of ethylene sensitive produce if they’re not kept separated.

  • iStock/thinkstock

    On the Counter

    If you decide to keep products out of the fridge and on the kitchen counter, keep them also out of plastic bags. Produce needs lots of air to stay fresh and plastic bags can limit that and even trap condensation causing them to break down faster.

  • ThinkStock

    In the Fridge

    On the other end, produce kept in the refrigerator stays fresh longer if it is kept in sealed bags or containers. This keeps the food moist so it doesn’t dry out. 

  • Purestock/thinkstock

    What to Keep in the Dark

    When storing potatoes keep them in a dark and cool area away from other produce. Do not keep them in the refrigerator as they can go bad more quickly. If not kept in the dark, they’re also more likely to sprout or even turn green.

  • Getty Images/thinkstock
    Getty Images/thinkstock

    Roots Go in the Crisper Drawer

    Other root products, such as carrots or beets, can be stored in your refrigerator's crisper drawer. They can be stored in plastic bags, but it’s recommended by the NY Times to remove any green leaves from the top to help preserve them.

  • Marian Weyo // Shutterstock/thinkstock
    Marian Weyo // Shutterstock/thinkstock

    Storing Onions and Garlic

    Onions and garlic can be stored together. They should not be kept in the fridge but in a cool dark area with some air circulation. 

  • gary duncan/thinkstock
    gary duncan/thinkstock

    Apples, pears, and peaches oh my!

    Did you know that contrary to popular belief, these fruits should not be kept on the kitchen counter? Keep these fruits in the refrigerator crisper drawer to keep them fresh for longer. At room temperature, they will spoil very quickly.

  • 8

    Use the Humidity Zones Wisely

    As a general rule of thumb, use the low-humidity setting for anything that rots easily. That means avocados, melons, or stone fruits. The high-humidity drawer is great for anything that wilts—think thin-skinned vegetables like asparagus or leafy vegetables like greens. The high-humidity drawer is also ideal for ethylene gas-sensitive items (like strawberries). Since most of the ethylene producers will be in the other drawer, your items will be super safe here.

More From SoJO 104.9 FM