Inside: If your produce goes bad too quickly, find out how to store fruits and vegetables the right way with this free printable you can post on your fridge.
Every buy a bundle of asparagus or pint of berries with the best intentions–only to find them in the depths of the fridge a week later–mushy, limp, and moldy?
With a bounty of spring and summer produce coming into season, we’ll all be stocking up. So knowing how to keep your purchases as fresh as possible is key.
To help, I asked the folks at Yellowbird Foodshed for their best storage tips, then researched a few more to put together a FREE printable so you can be smarter about fresh fruit and vegetable storage.
They partner with a network of small farms here in Central Ohio to provide a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Our elementary school participates in their CSA as a fundraiser: School families buy subscriptions to the weekly food boxes and a portion of the proceeds goes back to the school.
Why It Matters
Where and how you store fresh produce matters. For example, green onions stuck in the crisper drawer will turn slimy–but set them upright in a glass of water on the windowsill and they’ll last for weeks.
When I started keeping my fresh parsley in a glass of water covered loosely with a plastic bag (instead of shoving them in that refrigerator drawer) it stayed fresh and usable for so much longer.
Whether you buy your produce at a grocery stores or farmer’s market or participate in a CSA program like Yellowbird in your area, taking time to store fruits and veggies the right way as soon as you get home is a small investment that pays off, in fresher, longer-lasting food.
How to Store Fruit
Apples: Keep at room temperature if eating in next few days, otherwise keep in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Berries: Remove any moldy berries and place in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator in a closed plastic clamshell container or partially opened plastic bag. Don’t wash until just before eating or using.
Cantaloupe: Ripen on the counter, then refrigerate after cutting.
Cherries: Refrigerate in plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to eat; excess moisture during storage will speed decay.
Peaches, Nectarines, and Plums: Ripen on the counter then refrigerate.
Rhubarb: Wrap in plastic and refrigerate, unwashed, up to a week. To freeze, prepare it by washing and cutting it into 1-inch pieces
How to Store Vegetables
Arugula (or any loose leaf lettuce mix): Place in a large resealable bag with a half-sheet of paper towel to absorb moisture. Squeeze as much air out as possible and leave the bag open about an inch or two to promote air flow.
Asparagus: Asparagus will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store spears upright in a container with the stems in an inch of water, then cover loosely with a plastic bag.
Basil, Parsley, Cilantro: Trim the stems and place them in a glass or jar of water, like cut flowers. Loosely cover it with a plastic bag and leave it on the counter.
Beets: Store in plastic bag in the refrigerator; do not wash before refrigerating.
Bell Peppers: Store in plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of refrigerator.
Bok Choy: Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within four to five days.
Broccoli: Place in a plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Poke small holes in the bag to allow ventilation if possible.
Brussels Sprouts: Store Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper. They’ll keep for at least one week.
Cabbage: You can put the cabbage in a plastic bag to help maintain moisture but it isn’t necessary. If you only use part of a head, tightly wrap the rest and put into the fridge.
Cut Carrots: Store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Place carrots in a container with a lid and cover completely with water. Keep container in the refrigerator; change the water every 4-5 days.
Cauliflower: Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag, with a paper towel inside to soak up any excess moisture. Whole heads of cauliflower can be kept in the refrigerator for 4-7 days.
Corn (Ears): Refrigerate un-shucked ears in a plastic bag and use within three days.
Collard Greens: Refrigerate in plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to use.
Cucumbers: Store at room temperature. If you refrigerate them, use within three days.
Fennel: Store upright in a glass of water on the counter.
Garlic: Store whole bulbs for several months or more in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation. Removing the cloves from the bulb shortens the lifespan.
Garlic Scapes: Keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag until ready to use.
Green Beans: Refrigerate in a plastic bag or reusable container with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
Green Onions: Place them in a jar and fill with water until roots are covered. Place the jar on a win- dow sill and refill with water when low. The onions will continue growing and keep for weeks.
Kale: Tightly wrap in a paper towel and then place in an airtight bag. Only wash your kale right before using it.
Leeks: Refrigerate in plastic bag; do not wash until ready to use.
Mushrooms: Put whole (unwashed) mushrooms in a brown paper bag, fold down the top, and refrigerate. Stored correctly, fresh mushrooms should last up to a week.
Potatoes: Store your potatoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid refrigerating them.
Radishes: Remove the leaves and store radishes in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator; they will keep at least a week. If storing the greens, they will stay fresh 3-5 days refrigerated.
Red and Yellow Onions: Store in a cool place away from light.
Spaghetti Squash: Store squash in a cool, dry place (ideally 55-60 degrees F) up to 3 months.
Spinach: Put paper towels in the bottom of a plastic bag to absorb moisture. Store in crisper drawer.
Swiss Chard: Store in a plastic bag, squeezing out as much air from the bag as possible, and refrigerate up to five days. Do not wash before storing.
Tomatoes: Keep at room temperature on the counter away from sunlight.
Turnips: Refrigerate the roots unwashed in a plastic bag; keep for 1-2 weeks.
Yellow Squash & Zucchini: Refrigerate, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.
Get Your Free Printable
Want a printable version of this list you can stick to the fridge or cabinet door? Tap below.