By April McCarthy
Although room temperature is one of the best ways to store fruit and vegetables in the short-term, due to our busy lives it is often difficult for us to preserve them without using a refrigeration source. Read these pro tips on storing the most popular produce so you can enjoy them when you want to while preventing spoilage.
- Bananas – To extend freshness, separate bananas after purchasing and store in a well-ventilated basket.
- Apples – Away from heat, these will keep for about two weeks. For longer storage, place in a cardboard box and refrigerate.
- Grapes – Store in the fridge, but only wash when ready to use to avoid mushiness.
- Peaches – Only refrigerate when fully ripe.
- Pears – A cool environment or brown paper bag is best. Pears will keep for a few weeks on the counter.
- Watermelon – Let ripen at room temperature for 7-10 days. After that, sliced watermelon can be stored in the fridge for several days.
- Pineapples – Can be stored whole in the fridge (cut off the top) or sliced and put in an airtight container (don’t use aluminum foil, as this will alter the flavor).
- Strawberries – Keep away from damp, wet places. Refrigerated strawberries placed in a brown paper bag will keep for a week if the bag is kept dry.
- Oranges – Oranges lose juiciness when refrigerated. For freshest fruit, place in a ventilated basket and keep on the counter.
- Cherries – Store in an airtight container and avoid washing until ready to eat. Keep cherries refrigerated.
- Plums – Store at room temperature until they are ripe, and then keep them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
- Blueberries – Store dry in a shallow plastic container in the refrigerator. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them, because they will quickly mold if they are stored wet.
- Tomatoes – Always keep at room temperature.
- Cucumbers – If you need to keep these fresh for more than a day or two after buying, wrap in a moist towel and refrigerate.
- Peppers – Store in a safe BPA-free plastic bag for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. If flash frozen, peppers will last up to 10 months.
- Green Beans – These keep well with humidity (drape a damp cloth over them) but not wetness.
- Carrots – Keep in a closed contained and wrapped in a damp towel or dip in cold water every few days. For lasting freshness, cut off the tops.
- Squash – Will keep at room temperature for a few days if out of direct sunlight.
- Peas – Place in an open container and refrigerate.
- Onions – Keep in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place.
- Broccoli – Store in the fridge: either wrapped in a damp towel or in an open container.
- Corn – Best to leave these in the husk until ready to be eaten, but more flavorful if eaten sooner. Keep corn refrigerated.
- Garlic – Keep away from humidity, dampness, or direct sunlight.
- Celery – Wrap in foil and place in the fridge or keep in a bowl of shallow water on the counter.
- Lettuce – Keep lettuce damp and refrigerated, preferably in an airtight container.
- Mushroom – These are best stored in their original container. Uncooked leftovers should be covered with more plastic wrap before going back in the fridge.
- Potatoes – Store in a dark and dry place or a brown paper bag.