Storing Fruits & Vegetables for Maximum Freshness
Keep your produce as fresh as possible with these guidelines for how to store vegetables and fruit.
Not all produce is created equal. Some fruits and vegetables last much longer than others when stored properly. Some fruits and vegetables actually ripen faster when stored with other fruits and vegetables because of the ethylene gas produced, which causes ripening.
Below we highlight the longevity of fresh produce and how to best store it, whether in a refrigerator, a cool dark place like a pantry or on the counter. Get ideas for what to make with the longer-lasting produce so you can plan your meals around those fruits and veggies to avoid frequent trips to the grocery store.
Cool, Dry, Dark Place like a Pantry
- Garlic will last 3 to 6 months at room temperature
- Onions will last for 2-3 months at room temperature as long as they are away from potatoes.
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place with adequate air-flow. Do not store potatoes near onions as that will cause them to ripen faster and grow roots. Potatoes can last 3-5 weeks when properly stored
Store on the Counter
- Avocados will last 4-5 days and should be kept on the counter. You can refrigerate avocados and you’ll get another 2-3 days out of them before they over-ripen.
- Bananas will last 3-5 days at room temperature. They should be stored on their own and not with other fruits and vegetables. Overripe bananas can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to use in a nice cream, smoothie or to make banana bread.
- Tomatoes should be stored on the counter and are good for up to 5 days
- Winter Squash like acorn, butternut and spaghetti can last 3 months on the counter or in the pantry
Store in Refrigerator
- Apples and pears will last 4-8 weeks if stored in the refrigerator.
- Artichokes will last 7 days in the refrigerator.
- Asparagus will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
- Beets will last 3 weeks in the refrigerator. The green leaves will only last for about 3 days, so you can separate the greens from the beet-roots to use before they go bad.
- Bell Peppers will last 7-8 days in the refrigerator.
- Blackberries – 2-3 days spread on a paper towel in a single layer and discard any moldy blackberries to help keep them fresh.
- Blueberries will last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. Wash just before you eat to prolong the life of your berries.
- Broccoli will last 1 – 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Cabbage can last 2 weeks in the refrigerator. You can remove the outer leaves if it is starting to wilt to get to the fresh cabbage.
- Carrots will last 3 – 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Cauliflower – can last 1 week in the refrigerator.
- Corn – is best within 1-2 days of coming home and unshucked, but can last in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- Cucumbers can last up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Eggplant – is good up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Ginger – will last 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Fresh ginger can also be frozen and does not need to be thawed before grating.
- Grapes – up to 1 week in the refrigerator is possible in a ventilated plastic bag or non-covered bowl.
- Grapefruit will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. if stored on the counter, it will last 1-2 weeks.
- Green Beans will last 6-7 days in the refrigerator.
- Lettuce will last 7 – 10 days in the fridge.
- Lemons and limes will last 3 – 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Mushrooms will last 7 days in the refrigerator.
- Oranges can last 3 – 4 weeks in the fridge.
- Strawberries will last 3-6 days in the fridge. As with blueberries, only wash them right before you eat to keep them fresh longer.
- Watermelon – a whole watermelon can last 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Cut watermelon can last 3 days.
- Zucchini and Yellow Squash will last 7 to 7 days in the refrigerator.
What to Make With Long Lasting Produce?
Since the longer-lasting produce includes potatoes, cabbage, carrots, apples, oranges, pears, grapefruit and winter squash, now is a great time to stock the pantry and refrigerator so that you don’t have to make as many trips to the grocery store. See below for a few recipes you can make with these items.
Egg Roll in A Bowl using fresh cabbage
Which Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Can be Frozen?
If you have a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand that you won’t be able to consume right away, you can freeze for later use. Some veggies have to be blanched before freezing, like carrots, while others like spinach, kale, mushrooms can just be frozen on their
You can chop and freeze onions or green onions in plastic food storage bags.
You can blanch and freeze chopped carrots.
You can chop and freeze celery and bell pepper.
Chop and freeze fresh mushrooms to use in smoothies and for cooking.
You can chop, blanch and freeze zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, and broccoli.
You can freeze whole unpeeled tomatoes to use for cooking.
You can chop cilantro or parsley into ice cube trays with a little water and freeze. Better if used in cooked foods, but you can use it in salsa.
Chop and freeze kale, spinach or chard for use in smoothies, pasta dishes, and soups.
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