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How to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh

Proper Storage Prevents Spoilage, Saving You Hundreds


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  • Not a Tupperware dealer (so no sales pitch . . . was roped into going to a party about 5 years ago)--but those veggie-keeper containers are AMAZING (expensive, but worth it). They seal tight but have two little buttons on the side for different degrees of ventilation. Before: carrots and celery would get limp; apples would shrivel, lettuce would wilt or turn to slime. Now I can literally keep things like those salad mixes for two WEEKS or more ....apples and carrots and mini-peppers and celery for a month--beautiful. For most, I don't even bother to separate--just toss all of the stuff in together. My big bin right now has satsuma oranges, peppers, brocolli, apples. One of my rectangle tubs has lettuce, carrots with leafy tops, cilantro, green onions. A smaller one: raspberries (a week!) Even better, the containers have a permanent list imprinted on the side for how to set the "buttons" for different types of fruit/veggies. I try and "group" like kinds together, but it isn't super-critical. Bottom line: I'm saving that $600 worth of produce now vs. tossing in the trash. Ha! Maybe I SHOULD sell Tupperware . . .
  • Many types of fruit and veg can be frozen from fresh without having to go through the blanching and drying. Just prep them, eg top and tail, peel, remove rinds, etc.
    Wedges of fresh lemon and lime freeze really well, and can be used from frozen in drinks.
    Once berries etc have been frozen in a single layer, they can be bagged or boxed to take up less room.
    Common sense needs to be a part of your storage - what works in a hot climate will not satisfy the needs of a cooler or a cold climate. Having said which, I would never leave cucumber out of the fridge, even in the Scottish winter.
    Find out what works for you in your home - even keep a note magnetted on the fridge doort till you've got it sussed.

    Above all - let's remember that "current" advice seems to go out of fashion after a while. For example, it used to be that one kept tomatoes in the fridge, but eggs on the worktop. Now it's very much the other way around.

    Garry65 - I intend to have a look at the website you mention. Is it averaged out, or is it specific to a particular area/climate?
    I think it's interesting many people do not agree with the countertop list. Refrigerating those fruits and vegetables certainly changes the texture, makes them go bad faster, and they lose most of their flavor, in my experience. I would only refrigerate after cutting them. The only one I disagree with is peppers as they tend to get soft after a night on the counter. One tip for mushrooms in the fridge is store in a paper bag to ward off humidity that makes them slimy!
  • GARRY65
    I agree that the counter method is not recommended. We have researched fruit & veg wastage for several years at and there are 3 primary controllers of postharvest fresh storage life. The single most important factor is temperature. Without temperature control fresh produce has a death sentence and storage life is reduced by more than 50%. Next most important is removing ethylene exposure. Once your prduce is in the refrigerator then removing ethylene gas is the critical component in keeping them fresh for longer. By removing ethylene we have been able to keep lettuce fresh for 3 weeks longer and broccoli fresh for 5 weeks longer. The 3rd critical factor is Humidity, for items without a hard protective epidermus (skin) then this is critical .... soft, bendy carrots for example are a humidity problem. Moisture loss.
  • I disagree with the "store on the countertop" list. Most of those items won't keep more than a day or two at room temperature. It makes far more sense to store them in the refrigerator.
  • ANNE007
    I don't see an easy way to print the list. Had to cut and paste then update with the color-code. Wish there was an easy print!
  • When you say to store tomatoes on the kitchen counter, what temperature is the room? I live in Las Vegas and with the cost of air conditioning, our house is 83 degrees during the day and 87 degrees at night, I would assume that these temps are way too high. Do you have any other suggestions for this delicious fruit/vegetable?
  • "Keep fruits and vegetables separate, in different drawers, because ethylene can build up in the fridge, causing spoilage."

    Good, but tomatoes qualify as both a fruit and a vegetable, so wear to place them .... ;)
    Aside from bananas and unripe pineapple, I don't store any fruits on the counter. They go bad too fast. I also like to eat my fruit cold.

    When strawberries & blueberries are in season, I stock up on them. I wash & slice the strawberries & freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer; then put them in freezer bags - great for quick desserts & smoothies. For blueberries, I wash & freeze the same way. If I need to berries fresh, I put the container in the green bags. They will stay up to 1 week in the fridge that way.

    As for vegetables, I don't store any on the counter either. A cucumber will rot in a few days if left on the counter. If a tomato isn't ripe enough I'll leave it on the counter for a day or two only.

    If you want accurate information on food storage, google it. There are several websites that have better information than this article.
  • Cucumbers on the counter? Really???
  • I have found using those bags that are sold for keeping f & v fresh really do work.
    Also, read where you should separate bananas when you get them home and they WILL ripen slower!
    Also, if you store berries in the frig., need to put them a plastic bag or they will dry and learning @ 70!

  • I cook the veggie's if I don't use them right away and then store in fridge they last a few days longer that way and I don't throw anything out.
  • Helpful article; good to save, but who has room to store blueberries, blackberries & strawberries in a single layer?
  • I see the recommendation to store pineapple on the counter which I do until it is cut up. What is the storage recommendation for cut up pineapple?
  • I see the recommendation to store pineapple on the counter which I do until it is cut up. What is the storage recommendation for cut up pineapple?

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