If you cook a lot, you’ve probably wondered how to keep produce fresh for as long as possible. I know I have! In this post, we’re sharing how to make produce last longer in the fridge.
Keeping fruits and veggies fresher for longer is key to reducing food waste and saving money. Doesn’t it feel good to finish all of the produce you buy every week instead of tossing it in the compost or trash?
I hope this guide for how to keep produce fresh helps you in your cooking journey. You can grab a printable download of this guide here!
Equipment You Need For Keeping Produce Fresh
Unfortunately, a few containers and plastic bags aren’t going to cut it if you really want to keep your produce fresh in the fridge for awhile.
Here’s some of our affordable equipment picks that will help you keep those fruits and veggies crisp and delicious!
- Perforated bags (for produce that needs some airflow)
- Mason jars (for produce that needs to stand up)
- Stasher bags (reusable bags)
- Cute bowls (for the produce that’s stored outside the fridge)
- Brown paper bags (handy for storing produce and taking food on the go!)
How To Keep Vegetables Fresh In The Fridge
Here’s a handy list of some of the most common vegetables and tips for keeping them fresh, tasty and crisp in the fridge or in your pantry!
- Sprinkle with a few drops of water and store in a perforated bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- Up to 1 week
- Cut the ends off and store upright in about an inch of water
- Up to 1 week
- Bell Peppers
- Make sure peppers are firm when purchased
- Unwashed and keep them dry, as moisture will speed spoilage.
- Red and yellow peppers will last 4 – 5 days; green, 1 week
- Place in your crisper unwrapped, make sure it’s dry, don’t wash until ready to use
- 4 days
- Brussels Sprouts
- Don’t wash until needed, moisture speeds spoilage, but remove yellow or wilted leaves
- The longer you store them, the stronger they will be and less sweet
- 1 week but best at 3 to 4 days
- Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap if it’s been cut already, or put it in a sealable bag if it’s still whole. Store in the crisper drawer.
- 2 weeks
- Cut off green tops, store in the refrigerator (loose) in a container with a lid, and covered in water. Change water every 4 – 5 days
- 1 month
- Remove from sealed plastic from the store, place unwashed in a loosely sealed container with a paper towel under to absorb moisture.
- 4 – 7 days
- To keep it crisp, dampen a paper towel and wrap in aluminum foil
- Store pre-cut celery sticks submerged in water
- 1 – 2 weeks
- Wrap in damp paper towels and store unwashed in a perforated container in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- 3-5 days
- Green Beans
- Store unwashed, in a container or bag with a paper towel to soak up moisture, place in the crisper.
- Helpful hint: Fresh beans still have a ‘snap’ when broken in half.
- 7 days
- Unwashed and untrimmed in perforated or loosely wrapped to retain moisture.
- 1 – 2 weeks
- Store in a brown paper bag
- Do not store in plastic wrap or tightly sealed container, this speeds spoilage.
- 4 – 7 days
- Unlike regular onions which stay freshest at room temperature, scallions should be stored in the fridge standing upright in an inch of water in a tall container covered loosely with a zipper-lock bag.
- 1-2 weeks
- Zucchini & Summer Squash
- Unwashed in a perforated bag for airflow, and then placed in the vegetable crisper drawer.
- 1 week
Which vegetables to keep outside of the fridge
- Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F. Additionally, when stored at room temperature, cucumbers thrive and last longer, up to 1 week.
- Stored below 50 degrees, they get cold injuries, including water-soaked areas, pitting, and accelerated decay.
- Limit exposure to cold no more than three days. Store unwashed in a bag, towards the front of the refrigerator shelf, where temperatures are warmer, and off the bottom shelf, which is usually the coldest part of the fridge.
- Keep them away from bananas, tomatoes, and melons, which are all high ethylene producers.
- Store at room temperature in a cool spot and out of direct sunlight and in a ventilated bowl away from ethylene-producing fruits.
- Lasts 3 – 5 days
- Store at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh basket or open paper bag in a cupboard or pantry.
- The whole bulb will last up to 6 months, but unpeeled cloves will last for 10 days to a month.
- Store whole onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place.
- Lasts 1 – 2 months if stored properly
- Store potatoes in a brown paper or burlap bag (not plastic) in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location – think cool pantry, dry, cool basement.
- Never store them with onions, as the onions will cause the potatoes to rot.
- Last for up to 2 months if stored properly
- Sweet Potatoes
- Avoid storing in the refrigerator, which will produce a hard center and unpleasant taste.
- Store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, mesh bag (not plastic).
- For best results, store them in a basement or root cellar away from strong heat sources.
- Will last for 1 to 2 weeks at normal room temperature.
- With ideal storage conditions, will last about 1 month
- Winter Squash
- Store at an even 50°F in a dark place. This could be a cool and dark shelf, cabinet, or drawer in the kitchen, pantry, or closet.
- They also store well in a warmer section of the root cellar such as on the top shelf.
- Acorn squash will keep for 5 – 8 weeks.
- Butternut squash are good for 2 – 3 months.
How to keep fruit fresh in the fridge
No more sad, soggy fruit! Here’s a handy list of some of the most common vegetables and tips for keeping them fresh, tasty and mold-free in the fridge or on your kitchen counter!
- Place them in the crisper drawer in a bag with holes in it to let in moisture or cover the apples with a damp paper towel.
- 6-8 weeks
- Allow to ripen at room temperature and eat within 1 to 2 days
- After ripe, can be placed in refrigerator in warmest part of fridge to extend life 2 -3 days
- Break the bunch and wrap the stems in plastic wrap to avoid them ripening too fast.
- Placing them in the fridge stops the ripening process but do not do so before they are ripe or they will not ripen when removed.
- Once ripe, they are best within 3 – 5 days
- Wash and dry the store container. It is perfect for allowing air circulation necessary to keep fresher longer.
- Rinse berries and place in container with paper towel on bottom.
- Don’t wash raspberries until ready to eat. It will actually cut their lifespan. Wash container and then store in container with paper towel in bottom. Refrigeration is key for raspberries.
- 5 – 10 days
Which fruits to keep outside of the fridge
- Citrus fruits
- Citrus doesn’t ripen any further after picked
- Store on counter for up to 1 week
- Store in refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks
- If planning to eat soon, store whole grapefruit at room temperature up to a week
- If needing to last longer, refrigerate in a bag and in the crisper for 6 weeks
- Helpful Hint: grapefruit will be juicier and sweeter if returned to room temperature right before serving.
- Peaches, Plums & Nectarines
- Store at room temperature and eat within 3 – 5 days
- Helpful Hint: Choose the ones that smell fresh and sweet because they will not get sweeter if they don’t smell sweet.
- At room temperature – a ripe one will keep for around 3 days.
- Do not store whole pineapples in the fridge.
- Once the flesh has been peeled and chopped it’s fine to chill it, stored in an airtight container.
- Choose pineapples with bright green leaves, yellow coloring to the rind and a sweet odor indicating ripeness. Avoid fruit with brown leaves.
- To ripen, place a whole pineapple into a paper bag with a whole apple. Fold the top of the bag over and leave at room temperature for 1 day.
- Store whole in a cool, dry and dark place. Avoid hot and humid places, even if storing for only a couple of weeks.
- Pumpkins are best stored on a board or piece of cardboard. Do not store the fruit on a cement floor, as they tend to rot.
- Lasts 8 – 12 weeks
- Unripe green tomatoes store each in brown paper bag stem side down until ripe.
- Ripe tomatoes store on counter for 2 – 3 days if you’re going to use right away.
- Refrigerate only ripened and allow to return to room temperature before using.
You can always freeze produce too!
Don’t forget that freezing produce is always an option if you have space in your freezer.
The main tip to remember is that you shouldn’t freeze produce you intend to eat fresh, like lettuce or cucumbers. The one exception is avocados! You can freeze whole unpeeled avocados and still eat them fresh. The more you know!
I hope this post gave you everything you need to know about how to keep produce fresh!