How to Store Fruit & Vegetables

Do you buy expensive organic produce, put it in the fridge, and in a few days, it's just green fertilizer for the compost pile?

There really is a proper way to store all produce. Some like it in the fridge; some don't.

Some things should not be store together—like onions and potatoes. Potatoes excrete moisture which makes onions decay faster.

Never Store in a Refrigerator

1. Potatoes. Cold temperatures convert the starch in them to sugar. That doesn't make them a sweet potato; it makes them a yucky weird tasting potato. Place potatoes in a cool dry place in a plastic bin. I keep mine in a bin under the folding shelf in my laundry room.

2. Onions and garlic. They come in those mesh bags for a reason. They need air circulation. Leave them in the mesh bag and hang in a cool, dry space. If that's not possible, put them in a bowl in your pantry.

Store These in a Refrigerator

1. Green onions, scallions, carrots, parnsips, turnips, and beets. Be sure if you have humidity control on your refrigerator to turn it to the dry setting.

2. Apples and other fruit keep well in the refrigerator, and they need humidity. Just get out what you need day by day and set them in a ventilated spot on your counter. 

3. Be careful about putting apples in a bowl on a table especially if you put other fruit with it. Apples emit a lot of ehtylene gas which causes fruit to ripen. At 70 degrees F., the low-end of usual for an air conditioned house, an apple can quickly become overripe. Knowing this is one way to quickly ripen something that's picked too soon. Put the unripe fruit in a brown paper bag with an apple for about a day. The unripe fruit will ripen really fast.

4. Leafy greens. Wow, do these rot fast! Best thing to do is get a big salad spinner. When you bring these home, immediately wash, rinse, and spin these dry to get every bit of moisture out. Then take a long length of plain white paper towels and lay the greens on these. Carefully bundle them up and put them in a huge Ziplok bag. They'll keep longest this way.


The best way to store herbs is to put the bunch of cilantro, parsley, or whatever in a glass of cool water on your kitchen counter. If the kitchen is really warm, place the glass in the fridge. I actually use a small crystal vase so it looks as if I have a green bouquet on my kitchen window sill.

Takeaway Truth

Good produce is expensive. Take steps to make it last.


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