How To Make Your Fruits and Vegetables Stay Fresh Longer

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Summer is officially here, and with it comes a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, fresh produce doesn’t have a long shelf life. Proper storage is required to minimize food waste, which is between 30 percent and 40 percent in the United States. This summer, as gardens flourish, here are several easy tips to extend the life expectancy of your fruits and vegetables. 

Where To Store Produce Items So They Last 


Best at Room TempBest on the Counter and
Moved to the Fridge
Once Ripe*
Best in the Fridge



Bananas

Basil

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Grapefruit

Green beans

Lemons

Limes

Onions

Oranges

Potatoes

Summer squash

Sweet potatoes

Watermelon

Winter squash

Zucchini


Apricots

Avocados

Kiwifruit

Mangoes

Melons

Nectarines

Papayas

Peaches

Pears

Pineapple

Plums


Apples

Asparagus

Blueberries

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Cauliflower

Cherries

Cilantro

Corn
(whole ears in the husk)

Dark leafy greens

Grapes

Leeks

Lettuce

Parsley

Peas

Pomegranate

Raspberries

Strawberries


*By moving this list of ripe produce to the refrigerator, you will slow its ripening and keep it from spoiling quickly. 

Source: Eating Well

Best Containers for Storage

On the counter, a nice big bowl works perfectly. Use a sealed, airtight container, such as ziplock bags, for refrigerated items. 

A few favorite containers for the refrigerator include:

  • OXO Good Grips GreenSaver Produce Keeper: The elevated colander keeps produce from sitting in moisture that can accumulate in the bottom of containers. This container also features a carbon filter to absorb gasses and further helps, which helps produce last longer. 

  • Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver, Medium and Large Storage Containers: Similar to the OXO container, these include a filter to help absorb gasses that contribute to foods breaking down. They’re also reasonably priced. 

  • Stasher Bag Starter Kit: These allow you to potentially replace your one-time-use ziplock bags with them. Not only are they leak-free, durable and environmentally-friendly, they also come in a wonderfully pleasing color pallet. 

3 Extra Tips To Extend Your Food’s Shelf Life 

Here are a few extra tips on how you can make sure the food you have in your fridge and on your counter last. Following these simple tricks can hopefully save you an extra trip or two to the grocery store

Save Wilted Lettuces and Herbs:  Take your wilted lettuce and herbs and submerge them in a sink full of ice water for about 30 minutes. This process revives the lettuce and herbs by restoring the water content.

Don’t Store Potatoes and Onions Together: The gasses that are released from the onions cause the potatoes to begin sprouting and turning green much more quickly. Store potatoes separately and  in the dark to extend freshness.

Bake or Cook Produce That Is Past Its Prime: In many cases, baking or cooking produce that’s past its prime is the best option. For example, if you have berries that are a little too ripe and a bit too juicy, add them to a saucepan with a little heat for an easy ice cream or cake topping. You can also make quick breads and muffins with just about any fruit. For vegetables like kale, stir it into soups or add it to skillet meals. For produce that has reached an unforgivable stage, consider composting. It’s an easy way to use spoiled produce to ultimately recharge your soil. 

Tags: Healthy Eating, gardening

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Written By

Stephanie May

Stephanie is a communications consultant by day, writer by night and a mom always. See Full Bio

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