How to Store Fruits and Vegetables So They Last Longer – Fitnessnacks

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    Inside: If your produce goes bad too quickly, find out how to store fruits and vegetables the right way. Plus, get a free printable you can post on your fridge.

    Fresh produce including asparagus, beets, leafy greens, and strawberries sit on a wooden table.

    Fresh produce is too beautiful (and expensive!) to waste.

    Every buy a bundle of asparagus or pint of berries with the best intentions–only to find them in the depths of the fridge a week later, mushy, limp, and moldy?

    With a bounty of spring and summer produce coming into season, we’ll all be stocking up. So knowing how to keep your purchases as fresh as possible is key to avoiding waste and saving money.

    To help, I asked the folks at Yellowbird Foodshed for their best tips on how to store fruits and vegetables, then researched a few more to put together a list so you can be smarter about storage.

    BONUS: Get a printable version of this list: Grab my free produce storage chart and keep your fruits and veggies fresher, longer.

    How To Store Fruits and Vegetables: Why It Matters

    Whether you buy your produce at a grocery store or farmer’s market or participate in a CSA program like Yellowbird in your area, taking time to store fruits and veggies the right way as soon as you get home is a small investment that pays off, in fresher, longer-lasting food.

    For example, green onions stuck in the crisper drawer will turn slimy–but set them upright in a glass of water on the windowsill and they’ll last for weeks.

    When I started keeping my fresh parsley in a glass of water covered loosely with a plastic bag (instead of shoving them in that dreaded crisper drawer) it stayed fresh and usable for so much longer.

    A white bowl of red cherries sits on a wood table.

    Excess moisture can cause cherries to rot, so rinse just before eating them.

    BONUS: Get a printable version of this list: Grab my free produce storage chart and keep your fruits and veggies fresher, longer.

    How To Store Fresh Fruit

    Apples*: Keep at room temperature if eating in next few days, otherwise keep in the crisper drawer in the fridge.

    Berries: Remove any moldy berries and place in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator in a closed plastic clamshell container or partially opened plastic bag. Don’t wash until just before eating or using.

    Cantaloupe*: Ripen on the counter, then refrigerate after cutting.

    Cherries: Refrigerate in plastic produce bag. Do not wash until ready to eat; excess moisture during storage will speed decay.

    Peaches, Nectarines, and Plums*: Ripen on the counter, then refrigerate.

    Rhubarb: Wrap in plastic and refrigerate, unwashed, up to a week. To freeze, prepare it by washing and cutting it into 1-inch pieces

    *Be mindful of what else is in your fruit bowl: These fruits all release a gas called ethylene, which can speed ripening of any produce around them!

    A large white bowl full of leafy greens sits on a white countertop.

    Leafy greens should be stored with a paper towel.

    How to Store Fresh Vegetables

    Arugula (or any loose leaf lettuce mix): Place in a large resealable bag with a half-sheet of paper towel to absorb moisture. Squeeze as much air out as possible and leave the bag open about an inch or two to promote air flow.

    Asparagus: Asparagus will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store spears upright in a container with the stems in an inch of water, then cover loosely with a plastic bag.

    Basil, Parsley, Cilantro: Trim the stems and place them in a glass or jar of water, like cut flowers. Loosely cover it with a plastic bag and leave it on the counter.

    Beets: Store in plastic bag in the refrigerator; do not wash before refrigerating.

    Bell Peppers: Store in plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of refrigerator.

    Bok Choy: Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within four to five days.

    Broccoli: Place in a plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Poke small holes in the bag to allow ventilation if possible.

    Brussels Sprouts: Store Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper. They’ll keep for at least one week.

    Cabbage: You can put the cabbage in a plastic bag to help maintain moisture but it isn’t necessary. If you only use part of a head, tightly wrap the rest and put into the fridge.

    Carrots: Store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Place sliced carrots in a container with a lid and cover completely with water. Keep container in the refrigerator; change the water every 4-5 days.

    Cauliflower: Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag, with a paper towel inside to soak up any excess moisture. Whole heads of cauliflower can be kept in the refrigerator for 4-7 days.

    Corn (Ears): Refrigerate un-shucked ears in a plastic bag and use within three days.

    Collard Greens: Refrigerate in plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to use.

    Cucumbers: Store at room temperature. If you refrigerate them, use within three days.

    Fennel: Store upright in a glass of water on the counter.

    Garlic: Store whole bulbs for several months or more in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation. Removing the cloves from the bulb shortens the lifespan.

    Garlic Scapes: Keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag until ready to use.

    Green Beans: Refrigerate in a plastic bag or reusable container with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

    Green Onions: Place them in a jar and fill with water until roots are covered. Place the jar on a window sill and refill with water when low. The onions will continue growing and keep for weeks.

    Kale: Tightly wrap in a paper towel and then place in an airtight bag. Only wash your kale right before using it.

    Kohlrabi: Rinse off any dirt and remove the stems. Store in the fridge for a few weeks. It will last longer if you place it in a plastic produce bag.

    Leeks: Refrigerate in plastic bag; do not wash until ready to use.

    Mushrooms: Put whole (unwashed) mushrooms in a brown paper bag, fold down the top, and refrigerate. Stored correctly, fresh mushrooms should last up to a week.

    Potatoes: Store your potatoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid refrigerating them.

    Radishes: Remove the leaves and store radishes in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator; they will keep at least a week. If storing the greens, they will stay fresh 3-5 days refrigerated.

    Red and Yellow Onions: Store in a cool place away from light.

    Spaghetti Squash: Store squash in a cool, dry place (ideally 55-60 degrees F) up to 3 months.

    Spinach: Put paper towels in a plastic bag to absorb moisture. Store in crisper drawer.

    Swiss Chard: Store in a plastic bag, squeezing out as much air from the bag as possible, and refrigerate up to five days. Do not wash before storing.

    Tomatoes: Keep at room temperature on the counter away from sunlight.

    Turnips: Refrigerate the roots unwashed in a plastic bag; keep for 1-2 weeks.

    Yellow Squash & Zucchini: Refrigerate, unwashed, in a paper or plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.

    How to Store Cut Vegetables

    According to the USDA, after rinsing and chopping fruits and vegetables, you should place them in containers with lids and refrigerate them. Avoid keeping cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and veggies at room temperature for more than two hours.

    Cut carrots and celery (and kohlrabi) will last longer submerged in cold water in an airtight container. Change the water every few days.

    How to Reduce Plastic Waste

    A good rule of thumb: If produce came in plastic packaging at the grocery store, keep it in that packaging. That’s because the packaging was likely designed for the air flow and conditions that fruit or veggie needs.

    Otherwise, you can reduce plastic waste by washing and reusing plastic bags. For instance, if I forget my reusable produce bags at the store and need to use plastic, I save and reuse them.

    If you want to forgo using plastic bags altogether, here are some tips:

    • Use reusable glass storage containers and include a paper towel with produce like green beans or kale to absorb excess moisture. You can also get specially designed reusable produce containers like this one from OXO.
    • Keep produce in the crisper drawers, which are designed to hold fruits and veggies are the right humidity level.
    • Swap plastic bags for resuable produce bags. But be careful which kind you use. Some reusable bags are meant for bringing produce home from the store, not for longer-term storage (I’ve found this out the hard way with wilted greens and limp broccoli). Here are some ideas:
      • Cotton and linen storage bags like Swag Bags and Ambrosia Bags
      • Silicone bags like Stasher (by far the easiest silicone bag to open that I’ve tried)

    Get Your Free Printable Chart

    Want a printable version of this list you can stick to the fridge or cabinet door? Tap below.

    BONUS: Get a printable version of this list: Grab my free produce storage chart and keep your fruits and veggies fresher, longer.

    How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

    Grab the free printable to post on your fridge.

    About Yellowbird Foodshed

    Yellowbird partners with a network of small farms here in Central Ohio to provide a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Our elementary school participated in their CSA as a fundraiser: School families bought subscriptions to the weekly food boxes and a portion of the proceeds went back to the school. Here’s how to start a CSA fundraiser at your child’s school.

    Fitnessnacks- #Store #Fruits #Vegetables #Longer
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