VegFruits

How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling – Printable

I have been trying to eat healthier lately, and with that come a lot of veggies and fruits. The problem that I have noticed is that a lot of my produce will get soft, or rot a lot sooner than I anticipated. I can’t get fresh produce every day, so I needed to know how to store them correctly. There really is a certain way to store each veggie or fruit to make sure they last the longest. I am so sick of throwing away good fruit and veggies. Some of these tips were really surprising to me, so be sure to check them out!

How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling

How to Store Vegetables

Always remove any tight bands from your vegetables or at least loosen them to allow them to breathe.
Artichokes  place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.
Asparagus  place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. (Will keep for a week outside the fridge)
Avocados  place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening place an apple in the bag with them.
Arugula  arugula, like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lie flat to dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any extra moisture.
Basil  is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. The best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper insideleft out on a cool counter.
Beans shelling open container in the fridge, eat ASAP. Some recommend freezing them if not going to eat right away
Beets  cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!)by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.
Beet greens  place in an airtight container with a little moisture.
Broccoli  place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.
Broccoli Rabe  left in an open container in the crisper, but best used as soon as possible.
Brussels Sprouts  If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place. If they’re bought loose store them in an open container with a damp towel on top.
Cabbage  left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to lose its moisture after a week, so, best used as soon as possible.
Carrots  cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long.
Cauliflower  will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.
Celery  does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter. If you want to keep it in the refrigerator, like I do, wrap it in tin foil. It will stay crisp for weeks.
Celery root/Celeriac  wrap the root in a damp towel and place in the crisper.
Corn leave un-husked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best eaten sooner than later for maximum flavor.
Cucumber  wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room.
Eggplant  does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it; eggplant doesn’t like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage place loose, in the crisper.
Fava beans  place in an air tight container.
Fennel  if used within a couple of days after it’s bought, fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.
Garlic  store in a cool, dark, place.
Green garlic ‐ an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two is fine, best before dried out.
Greens  remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an airtight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.
Green beans  they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.
Green Tomatoes  store in a cool room away from the sun to keep them green and use quickly or they will begin to color.
Herbs - a closed container in the fridge to be kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.
Lettuce  keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.
Leeks ‐ leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).
Okra  doesn’t like humidity. So a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well, best eaten quickly after purchase
Onion  store in a cool, dark and dry, place good air circulation is best, so don’t stack them.
Mushrooms – Keep mushrooms in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. If you are using some of the mushrooms, try to open a corner of the plastic wrap and just take what you need. Then, cover with a paper towel and cover with more plastic wrap and place back into the refrigerator. 
Parsnips ‐ an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrapped in a damp cloth in the fridge.
Peppers: Sweet/ Hot/ Bell – Store in a plastic bag before placing in crisper or refrigerator. Green peppers stay fresh longer than orange or red peppers. Will last 1 – 2 weeks in refrigerator or up to 10 months in the freezer. To freeze cut into slices and place on cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen, then place in air-tight container or freezer bag and return to freezer.
Potatoes  (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.
Radicchio  place in the fridge in an open container with a damp cloth on top.
Radishes  remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in an open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.
Rhubarb ‐ wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.
Rutabagas  in an ideal situation a cool, dark, humid root cellar or a closed container in the crisper to keep their moisture in.
Snap peas  refrigerate in an open container
Spinach  store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to stay cold.
Spring onions  Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.
Sprouts - Keep them cold. Under 40 degrees F’. Get them in the refrigerator as soon as possible and they should last 10 – 14 days. 
Summer Squash  does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.
Sweet peppers  Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as wetness decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage needed.
Sweet Potatoes  Store in a cool, dark, wellventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.
Tomatoes  Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.
Turnips  remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.
Winter squash ‐ store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Many growers say winter squashes get sweeter if they’re stored for a week or so before eaten.
Zucchini  does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.
 
How to Store Fruit
Apples  store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage in a cardboard box in the fridge.
Apricots  on a cool counter to room temperature or fridge if fully ripe.
Cherries ‐ store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, any 
Bananas Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. Keep them on the counter, or in a basket with holes or openings to allow air to circulate.
Citrus  store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an airtight container.
added moisture encourages mold.
Berries - Don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.
Dates ‐ dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in. Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag as long as it’s porous to keeping the moisture away from the skin of the dates.
Figs  Don’t like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week unstacked.
Ginger - Place unpeeled ginger in a zip-lock baggie and place in vegetable crisper.
Grapes - Make sure to select clusters that are free from molds if you plan to keep them in your fridge.  Another mistake people make when storing grapes is washing them before storing. While this may clean them and get rid of dirt on them, the water will have a negative effect on the skins of the grapes; making them mushier and promoting bacterial growth in the process.
Kiwi - Keep at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate. Do not place in refrigerator longer than 1 -2 weeks. 
Lemons and Limes -  If you are going to use them within a week, keep them on the counter at room temperature. Lemons and limes need air so if you place them in a bowl, you may notice their bottoms may grow mold. Try to keep them separated or in an aerated bowl. If you don’t eat them within a week, you can keep them in the refrigerator and they will last a month. You can keep them in a bowl in the refrigerator. 
Mangoes - Store on the counter until ripe or 2 – 5 days, then move to refrigerator, then keep for 5 – 7 days. If you want to freeze wash peel and slice into pieces. Place pieces on a cookie sheet until frozen then you can transfer to plastic bag. 
Melons  uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge, an open container is fine.
Nectarines  (similar to apricots) store in the fridge it is okay if it’s ripe, but best taken out a day or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.
Oranges - stay juicier when kept at room temperature. If possible place in a basket. The baskets are preferable to other containers because they permit the air to circulate freely around each piece of fruit.
Peaches - (and most stone fruit)  refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen on the counter.
Pears  will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them.
Persimmon - Fuyu‐ (shorter/pumpkin shaped): store at room temperature.
Hachiya - (longer/pointed end): room temperature until completely mushy. The astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the ripening process place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, check now and then, but don’t stackthey get very fragile when really ripe.
Plums – Keep plums at room temperature until they ripen. Once they’re ripe, keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 more days. 
Pomegranates  keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.

Pineapples - Once you get your ripe pineapple home, you can store it in the refrigerator whole without the top on; or you can peel, cut and chill the slices in a tightly covered container (do not use aluminum wrap as it will change the flavor of the pineapple). If you wish to allow the shell to become more yellow or golden, you can leave the fruit (with the crown) on the counter for up to a few days, then cut and refrigerate.

Raspberries - Wash your berries in a vinegar solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Place berries in a refrigerator safe bowl (plastic) with a paper towel on the bottom. Replace paper towel when it gets damp. 
Strawberries  Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.

Watermelon – Keep watermelon uncut on your counter at room temperature for up to 7 – 10 days. Cut watermelon can keep in the refrigerator for up to two days. 

Click here for a formatted printable document. – Thanks Emily!

So now you know how to store your food, but what do you do when you need to freeze your foods? This might help: How to Freeze Foods – Timelines, Tips and Don’ts. 

125 thoughts on “How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling – Printable

    1. Anonymous

      Bananas – Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. Keep them on the counter, or in a basket with holes or openings to allow air to circulate.Citrus ‐ store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an air‐tight containe

      Reply
  1. My Thirty Spot

    Huh, can’t believe I forgot banana’s.
    Mist the bananas lightly with lemon juice. The lemon juice won’t affect the flavor of the banana, but will keep them from developing brown spots so quickly.

    Store bananas on the counter with the curved side up. This way, air is allowed to flow under and around the bananas or get a banana hammock.

    Reply
  2. Angel

    Also don’t store apples with other fruits or vegetables as the gases produced by the apple will make the rest of your produce ripen faster than you want them to. Make sure they are stored in a separate crisper or box from everything else.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    This is awesome! Thanks! So the ones that don’t specify whether they should be in the fridge or counter, does it not matter where?

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Very interesting, thank you so much for this article. I am looking forward to using these tips, I love my veggies and fruits and feel so bad throwing it our all the time.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Under Arugula it said, like lettuce, it should not stay wet. But next to lettuce it said keep damp! What’s the difference?

    Reply
  6. Sarahanne

    Great info- thank you- FYI dates actually like it cold!

    My hometown produces 95% of all dates grown in the US. http://www.shieldsdategarden.com/ produces a great booklet that ALWAYS recommends storing dates in an airtight container- for 6months-1year in the fridge and up to 3 years in the freezer.

    Reply
  7. My Thirty Spot

    Oranges and Mushrooms up and pomegranates too. Lettuce, arugula and cilantro should be cleaned, then dried as much as possible and place in the fridge with a paper towel. They will be a little damp from washing it.

    Reply
  8. Natural Mothers Network

    Thank you very much for placing this post on Natural Mothers Network’s linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it’s been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post. I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      you can store bananas in the fridge if you place them in a white plastic bag. it must be white. they will last for up to 2 weeks this way. the skin will turn black but the inside will still be the same.

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Yes, you can put bananas in the fridge Anonymous. I always do. The outside turns dark but the banana is great.

    Reply
  10. My Thirty Spot

    I agree 100% about putting bananas in the fridge. I do it all the time and it does turn the outside brown, but keeps the inside cold and firm. It is my favorite way to eat them.

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    You can also store fruit and veggies that need to be in the fridge in the Tupperware FridgeSmart. It keeps fruits and veggies 2-3 times longer.

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Definitely go with the FridgeSmart! It’s true, these containers will double the life of your produce.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I’d like to add, spring onions keep really well if you simply remove the band and place them in a glass of cool water on the kitchen counter. I change the water every couple of days.Do not cut the roots off. They’ll keep growing!

    Reply
  14. Melanie Liebmam

    I found out by accident how to store fresh basil to make it last for a week or more. I buy mine at the farmers market so when I purchased it I stuck it in the bag with the lettuce. Well I forgot about it and shoved the bag of lettuce in the crisper. When I pulled it out a few days later, the basil was totally perfect. I will always store my basil in my lettuce bag from now on!

    Reply
  15. Skulda

    I don’t always eat my eggplant all at once. I’ve been putting the ends back together and putting them in a ziplock. Should they be wrapped in a towel or tinfoil?

    Reply
  16. My Thirty Spot

    Hi Skulda,
    I would wrap loosely in a paper towel and place in the crisper in your fridge. If you put in ziplock, it can create too much moisture and it will go bad much sooner.

    Thanks for commenting!
    xoxo

    Reply
  17. Christina C

    This post is a lifesaver! Question: How about lemons/limes? I usually keep them in the fridge, but they rot fast =(

    Reply
  18. My Thirty Spot

    I want to say thanks to all the anonymous who are correcting what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. I know that anything with seeds is a fruit – Avocado, tomatoes etc. I also know corn is a grain. This list isn’t that specific. It is just a general list that most people assume is a fruit and veggie. But thanks for the lessons everyone. This isn’t that serious.

    Reply
  19. Charlie Adams

    Thank you so much for this article. Here in New England you can almost smell fall in the morning air. That means that harvest time (and therefore storing fruits & vegetables) is coming up soon. Thank you again so very much and I will pass this along to our wellness center readers if you don’t mind.

    Reply
  20. Lynette Rowland

    I was listening to NPR and there is a company that specifically tests what works on certain foods. They found that turning tomatoes upside down (stem side down) and wrapping the ends of bananas in foil makes them last longer. I will see if I can find the episode…thanks for the info…very helpful!

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I have found basil is best stored on the counter with the stems in water covered in a plastic bag. The humidity keeps it from browning and it will last quite a while.

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    You say cut watermelon in the refrigerator for only two days but I’ve always kept it for up to a week and it still tastes just fine. Why only two days? That’s not long when you’ve just cut up a whole watermelon lol!

    Reply
  23. My Thirty Spot

    Hi Anonymous,
    I agree with you, I have kept watermelon in the fridge longer than 2 days, but it is just recommend for the 2 days because that is when it starts to turn. You can just use your best judgement.
    xoxo

    Reply
  24. jen @ losing weight

    Using herbs is a great way to add flavor and cut calories when cooking. And using kitchen tools like the herb savor will help your herbs stay fresher longer. Dieting is definitely easier with kitchen and weight loss tools that aid in healthy low calorie eating.

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    I store onions in a brown bag (ie lunch sack) on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and they keep wonderfully for quite awhile. Just be sure to close the top of the bag.

    Reply
  26. Caaaaity

    Not trying to correct, but just wondering, my mom told me a while back that putting avocados in a paper bag, like a lunch sack, on the counter helps ripen them. My hubs did the shopping one week and bought 8 avocados for me. None of them were ripe, no give at all when squeezed, and I needed 3 the very next night. So in the bag on the counter they went. By the next night, they were all perfectly ripe, but the other 5 that were stored in the fridge, still in the produce bag from walmart, were still just as firm as they were the day before. I saw that under Avocado, it says to place in a paper bag at room temp. Is it the same as what I did? As for everything else, I can only make it to the store every other week and I cook from scratch, so I am def going to try out some of these :) thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  27. My Thirty Spot

    Hi Caaaaity,
    Yes, exactly what you did is what I said to do too.
    Another tip is once the avocados are ripe and you want to stop them from ripening, then move them in the fridge and they should last a few days longer.

    xoxo

    Reply
  28. Natalie Rincon

    I don’t think anonymous even read ur post or they would have known all of the answers to the questions that they ask. I did thoroughly read ur post and enjoyed learning the useful informatio. Thank you!

    Reply
  29. Anonymous

    arugula and spinach – wet a paper towel with cold water and wring excess water out. lay over top of spinach/arugula in the plastic clamshell container it came in, or in bag. Change paper towel every three days or so. Stays fresh for so much longer!

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    Saw this on Pinterest and just had to try to see if it really worked. WORKS BEAUTIFULLY! How to Keep Bananas Fresh Longer ~ Wrap the plastic tightly at the top/crown of the bananas. Carefully remove and replace the plastic cling wrap each time you get a banana. Enjoy 3-5 days longer than usual!

    Reply
  31. Anonymous

    All I do is wrap my refrigerated vegetables in a paper towel to absorb the moisture. My vegetables last several weeks.

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    The best way to store cucumbers is to wrap them in a dry paper towel and put in the crisper. They will last more than a week this way.

    Reply
  33. Sandy

    @ Anonymous-Store Ginger in a zip lok bag in your freezer, grate, and use as needed. Will keep forever..or at least until you use the entire amount! At least it does for me and I seldom use it!

    Reply
  34. Joanie Ellis

    I discovered that fresh basil will keep beautifully in a vase or glass of water on the counter top for weeks.Simply pick off the leaves as you need. It will actually grow roots in the water and tiny new leaves will grow. Parsley keeps well this way and probably other herbs.

    Reply
  35. Beer K

    I didnt read the comments but i like to add how to store parsley, put the bunch of parsley standing up in a cup of watet and put the cup on the side shelf of the fredg.

    Reply
  36. Beer K

    I didnt read the comments but i like to add how to store parsley, put the bunch of parsley standing up in a cup of watet and put the cup on the side shelf of the fredg.

    Reply
  37. Aimee Miah

    Just the perfect list for someone like me who is currently undergoing to a healthy diet procedure to remove my belly fat. You know, to maintain the freshness of all the veggies and fruits I’ve stored in my fridge.

    Reply
  38. Wings

    The best way I’ve found to store green onions is to take the rubber band off, tug off any slimy bits, and simply wrap them in foil, sealing all of the edges tightly. My green onions keep for three weeks+ this way, and I don’t have to fiddle with them or with changing water, etc.

    For celery, I trim off edges/base as I would if I were about to use them… then I lay them flat in a Rubbermaid container of water and seal the lid. I keep it in the fridge – and I haven’t had to throw out any celery in years. It’ll keep like that for a month, easy. Plenty of time to use it up.

    Reply
  39. Mariette Strauss

    Hi Erin,
    Love your blog. I’ve learned from a mushroom grower that the best way to store mushrooms is to place it (unwashed) in a brown paper bag in the fridge. This way it can last more than a week.
    Love!

    Reply
  40. eveleibius

    Thanks! This is a perfectly detailed list. We used to shrink-wrap our fresh veggies to “maintain its freshness,” or sometimes, we wrap it in tinfoil or put it in a sealed case. The others rot, while some of them don’t. No wonder, they all prefer different storage.
    - Eve Leibius

    Reply
  41. Anne

    When you’ve got part of a cut raw onion left over, wrap it in aluminum foil and put on the fridge shelf. The onion will stay fresh and the odor will not transfer to anything in the fridge.

    Reply
  42. Hailey Farnham

    One of my worries in storing foods is that molds will grow in them (which is I know is natural). But who would want to eat foods with molds? So it usually goes to waste.

    Reply
  43. My Thirty Spot

    That is true Hailey, all foods will spoil eventually, but using these tips will prolong the food from spoiling so you have a longer change to eat them.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Reply
  44. Anonymous

    LOVE this information. It will help me keep produce longer. I have been advised to keep strawberries in their plastic container, upside down in the fridge. I know it sounds weird, but my strawberries last sometimes 2 weeks. Towards the end they can tend to shrivel up, but they do not mold on the bottom. The airflow is what keeps them longer, I think. Just another idea

    Reply
  45. Diane

    About cut onions…NEVER keep leftover onions period! They release toxins if they are stored that can actually make you sick and in some cases could be deadly! Google it…I can’t remember where I read about it but it was just recently. It also said that in the old days they would cut an onion and put it in the room of a very sick person and by morning the onion was black and the person was feeling better!

    Reply
    1. BrieAnne

      Diane,
      I did check Google and the first site that came up was Snopes. In case you are not familiar with it, Snopes is a well known website that debunks false facts, myths, mysteries, and whatever the Internet mischief makers make up for whatever reason they have.
      According to Snopes the onion story is not true, which makes happy because my husband likes to purchase enormous onions which means that we always have leftovers. Good to know we’re not poisoning ourselves. :)

      Reply
  46. Anonymous

    Great list. Thanks! (P.S. I think the end of the Cherries sentence got moved to the bottom of Citrus.)

    Reply
  47. Anonymous

    Thank you so much! I’m trying to eat healthier, and I’ve been throwing a lot of stuff away because I don’t know how to store it. How about items like summer squash? Still a newbie at this fresh food thing! I’m bookmarking this for sure!

    Reply
  48. Jeanette Allen

    I am SO RELIEVED!!!! Finally some people with some information!!!! I have definitely been doing it wrong! Makes me sick to think of all of the produce that have been thrown away or tossed out for the Wildlife! UGHHHH!

    Reply
  49. miki

    for grapes, is it better to put them in a sealed tupper ware container? or leave them in the bag with air holes that they came in?
    and do they last longer when in the fridge? or is it about the same as keeping them on the table??

    Reply
  50. Anonymous

    Exactly how big are your fridges, people?! I’m lucky if I can fit everything cheek by jowl in the crisper, let alone open containers with towels and plastic containers.

    Reply
  51. Sweet Lilly

    great advise on how to store fruit and vegetable in the fridge, I like to print the info and have it in the kitchen. Do you have printer friendly service by any chance? Thanks a million, I like your blog a lot!!

    Reply
  52. Anonymous

    what about pineapple? i see its been asked a couple times with no answer. i want to know about whole pineapple mine keeps getting overripe before i remember to cut it up

    Reply

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