Tips and Tricks For Fresh Produce Storage

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Published on March 07, 2021

Fresh Produce Storage Tips and Tricks

-Amy Getman, Registered Dietitian

Learning to properly store fresh produce will not only help you save money, but will also help you reduce trips to the grocery store – something increasingly important during a pandemic. While advances in supply chain have made it possible to purchase a wide variety of fruits and vegetables year round, it is not always clear what the best storage methods are to ensure you get the most out of your produce. The following tips and tricks will help!

It may seem obvious, but when meal planning, try using the most perishable produce items first. Save the longer lasting items for later in the week. Using ingredients like tomatoes and fresh herbs soon after your grocery trip will ensure you are eating them when they are as fresh as possible, and it will cut down on the amount of produce you’ll end up throwing away because it went bad.

It is also important to consider how fresh produce is when you buy it. Local produce typically will be the freshest option, since it didn’t spend a long time in transit to your local grocery store. However, in the middle of winter, this may not be an option. In this case, avoid buying pre-cut or pre-washed produce. This will typically go bad faster compared to produce that is still intact. For example, cut-up pineapple pieces will not last as long as a whole pineapple.

Next, it is important to store fruits and veggies properly. Some veggies will last longer stored outside of the fridge, while others will last longer inside the fridge.

  • Keep in a cool, dark place (i.e., pantry):

    • Potatoes/sweet potatoes
    • Onions/garlic
    • Winter squash

Quick tip: Don’t store onions next to potatoes. The onions can make the potatoes decay faster.

  • Keep on the counter:

    • Mangos (until ripe, then refrigerate)
    • Bananas
    • Stone fruit, like peaches, plums and cherries
    • Oranges (refrigerate to keep longer)
    • Tomatoes
  • Keep inside the fridge:

    • Ears of corn (store in the husk if possible)
    • Leafy greens/herbs
    • Green beans
    • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
    • Mushrooms
    • Bell peppers
    • Zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant
    • Other root vegetables, like carrots, beets, turnips
    • Berries
    • Apples
    • Grapes

Note: Always remove produce from plastic bags before storing. This can help with air flow.

Chart from

Food storage tips - chart/image

Chart from

If this seems like a lot to remember, consider thinking about your produce in different categories. For example: berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc.), hard vegetables (potatoes, winter squash, onions), leafy greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale), etc. The produce within each category have similar storage needs. This can help simplify storage options. Also, if you are unsure, try to remember how your produce was stored at the grocery store. Typically, grocery stores keep their produce stored in a way that will maximize its freshness for as long as possible.

Learning how to best store produce can help prevent food waste and allow you to feel more confident stocking up on fresh produce next time you are at the store.

Learn more!

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