Storing Fresh Produce for Best Flavor
Protect your perishable foods by following these tips for storing fresh produce.
Store Only in the Refrigerator
- Apples (more than 7 days)
- Asian pears
- Belgian endive
- Green beans
- Green onions
- Leafy vegetables
- Summer squash
- Sweet corn
All Cut, Peeled & Cooked Fruits & Vegetables within 2 Hours
- Place fruits and vegetables in separate perforated plastic bags.
- Use within 1 to 3 days for maximum flavor and freshness.
- Store fruits and vegetables in different produce drawers in the refrigerator to minimize the detrimental effects of ethylene produced by the fruits on the vegetables.
Ripen then Refrigerate
- To prevent moisture loss, store fruits and vegetables separately in a paper bag, perforated plastic bag, or ripening bowl on the counter away from sunlight. Ripening fruit in a bowl or paper bag can be enhanced by placing an apple with the fruit to be ripened.
- After ripening, store in refrigerator and use within 1 to 3 days.
Store Only at Room Temperature
- Apples (less than 7 days)
- Citrus fruits
- Basil (in water
- Sweet potatoes**
- Winter squash
- Many fruits and vegetables should only be stored at room temperatures. Refrigeration can cause cold damage or prevent them from ripening to good flavor and texture. For example, pink tomatoes ripen to a better taste and red color if they are left at room temperature. In the refrigerator they do not turn red, and even red tomatoes left in the refrigerator lose their flavor.
- Keep away from direct sunlight
*Cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers can be refrigerated for 1-3 days if they are used soon after removing from the refrigerator
**Store garlic, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes in a well-ventilated area in the pantry.
Cleaning Your Produce
- Keep produce separate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Never use detergent or bleach to wash produce.
- Rinse under running tap water immediately prior to use, including those with skins
and rinds that are not eaten.
- Washing too early removes some natural preservatives.
- However, head lettuce or leafy greens remain crisper when washed right away and then refrigerated.
- Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed” need not be washed.
- Refrigerate all cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables within 2 hours.