Proper Storage Techniques for Fresh Produce
Proper storage of your produce can help not only keep them fresh but also prevent spoilage and food waste which in the end will reduce your grocery bill. On hot days, consider taking a cooler with an ice pack in your trunk to store your meat, dairy and produce until you make it home. Upon arrival at home promptly refrigerate those fruit and vegetables that need refrigerating. If you do pre-wash some fruit and vegetables, ensure they are thoroughly dried to prevent mold growth and spoilage.
To keep your produce at their optimum freshness and quality:
Store only in refrigerator and never at room temperature: Apples, artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger root, grapes, fresh herbs, leeks, lettuce and other greens, mushrooms, oranges, green onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, pineapple, new potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, summer squash, citrus fruit, turnips.
At room temperature until ripe or cut and then in the refrigerator: Apricots, avocadoes, kiwi fruit, mangoes, melons, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes.
Only at Room Temperature and not in the refrigerator: Bananas, garlic, globe onions, mature potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, sweet potatoes or yams.
How to keep produce fresh longer
Keep in the refrigerator keep at the front of the fridge to prevent chill injury: Berries, citrus, corn on the cob, melons and peas.
Keep in the crisper for a more humid environment: Artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger root, fresh herbs, leeks, lettuce and other greens, mushrooms, green onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, pineapple, new potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, summer squash, turnips, zucchini.
Keep anywhere in the fridge: apples, grapes, cherries.
Keep the following in the pantry or a cool room away from light and ethylene producing fruit: onions, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, winter squash, shallots, garlic.
As a general rule it is a good idea to store produce in the packaging in which it was sold. Sometimes these packages have a function that may help maintain freshness. Some bags may appear solid such as those for bagged lettuce, but in fact they allow ripening gasses to pass through freely.
Herbs: Wash and store in paper towel or cut the ends and store in a glass of water.
Asparagus spears: Cut the ends and store in water upright in the refrigerator.
Lettuce: wash and dry lettuce and store in a paper towel lined salad spinner or loosely roll washed lettuce in paper towels or dish rag and place in a zip lock bag left open to allow gases to escape.
Berries: If you need to wash them to take on a picnic, use a 3 to 1 water to vinegar solution to kill mold and bacteria. Drain in a colander and rinse under running water. Dry thoroughly in spinner and store in paper towel lined container loosely covered.
The Bottom Line:
Store your produce well and you will extend their life and freshness.