Farmer’s Market season is officially here. I have been to the Farmer’s Market a few times already this year. I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you how to store your fruits and vegetables. If your like me, you tend to wonder, how do I store that? Some may surprise you. I learned quite a bit on today’s post. I hope you find this handy-dandy guide as useful as I do. I think I got most vegetables and fruit covered. Just look for your produce and check out how to store it and how to extend the life of your produce so it doesn’t go to waste.
Artichokes‐ Store fresh artichokes at home, sprinkle them with a little water and refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag. Do not wash before storing. They should last a week when stored properly.
Asparagus‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. Will keep for a week outside the fridge.
Avocados‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in the bag with them. Once they’re soft to the touch, move them to the refrigerator, where they can keep for up to another week.
Arugula‐ arugula, like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lay flat to dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any extra moisture.
Beans, shelling‐ Store unwashed fresh beans in a reusable container or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days.
Beets‐ cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!)by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.
Beet greens‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.
Broccoli‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.
Broccoli Rabe‐ left in an open container in the crisper, but best used as soon as possible.
Brussels Sprouts‐ If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place. If they’re bought loose store them in an open container with a damp towel on top. Trim off outer leaves before cooking. Keep in mind: The longer they’re stored, the stronger their flavor will be.
Cabbage‐ left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to lose its moisture after a week , so, best used as soon as possible.
Carrots‐ Cut off any green tops to keep them fresh longer (keeping tops make the carrots go limp). Trimmed, unpeeled carrots can be refrigerated in an unsealed zip-top bag in the crisper drawer for about two weeks. Trimmed carrots (such as baby-cut carrots or carrot sticks) will last longer when kept submerged in a tightly covered container filled with water. Change the water frequently.
Cauliflower‐ will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.
Celery‐ To keep it crisp, refrigerate it wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, not plastic wrap, so the ethylene gas it produces can escape. Re-wrap tightly after each use. Store celery sticks like carrot sticks: submerged in water in a tightly covered container. Does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter.
Celery root/Celeriac‐ wrap the root in a damp towel and place in the crisper.
Corn‐ leave unhusked, and place corn in a plastic bag and place it in your refrigerator’s crisper. The corn will remain at its freshest for two days. While the corn will start to dry out after day two, it will still remain edible.
Cucumber‐ Cucumbers hate the cold. Store them on the counter if you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them. Cucumbers also are sensitive to ethylene gas, so keep them away from bananas, melons and tomatoes.
Eggplant‐ does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it, eggplant doesn’t like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage‐ place loose, in the crisper for 1 – 3 days.
Fava beans‐ place them in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator right away. The pods will keep for five to seven days in the refrigerator. Store cooked and peeled Fava Beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days at most.
Fennel‐ if used within a couple of days after it’s bought fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.
Garlic‐ store in a cool, dark, place. Open container to allow airflow, can be stored next to onions.
Green garlic‐ Place the shoots in a vase or pint glass full of water in the refrigerator, and cover with a plastic bag. Or wrap a damp paper towel around the stalks, put in an unsealed plastic bag and store in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer.
Greens‐ remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an air‐tight container with a damp cloth‐ to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.
Green beans‐ they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.
Green Tomatoes‐ store in a cool room away from the sun to keep them green and use quickly or they will begin to color.
Lettuce‐ Should be consumed within 1-2 days of purchase. But if you are going to store these greens, the best way to extend their life is to wrap the unwashed leaves in a paper towel so that the towel can absorb any excess moisture — if the leaves retain excess moisture, they will rot quickly. After wrapping in the paper towel put them in plastic bags and keep them in your fridge. Remember to toss any rotten leaves from the bunch before storing, and keep different varieties in separate bags.
Leeks‐leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).
Mushrooms – They should be stored in their packaging in the refrigerator and used within five to seven days. Like other produce, mushrooms will perish faster if they’re presliced.
Okra‐ doesn’t like humidity. So a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well, best eaten quickly after purchase
Onion‐ store in a cool, dark and dry, place‐ good air circulation is best, so don’t stack them. Can be stored next to garlic.
Parsnips‐ Parsnips can be stored in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. If the green tops are still attached, they should be removed before storing your parsnips. Otherwise, they will draw moisture from the roots.
Peppers – Refrigerate peppers for up to two weeks or store them at room temperature to keep fresh for about a week.
Potatoes‐ (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.
Radicchio‐ place in the fridge in an open container with a damp cloth on top.
Radishes‐ remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in an open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.
Rhubarb‐ Wrap fresh rhubarb in plastic, put it in the refrigerator, and don’t wash it until you’re ready to use it. Rhubarb will keep for up to a week if you store it carefully
Rutabagas‐ in an ideal situation a cool, dark, humid root cellar or a closed container in the crisper to keep their moisture in.
Snap peas‐ Refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag. They’ll last four or five days.
Spinach‐ store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to stay cold.
Spring onions‐ Wrap your green onions in a slightly damp paper towel. Then, place them inside a plastic bag or storage container. Remoisten the paper towel, if it dries out; replace it, if it because too wet. You can also place your green onions in a jar, and fill it with an inch or two of water (just enough to cover the roots). Then, place the jar on the windowsill in your kitchen. Your onions will not only stay fresh, but continue to grow. Change or add water every couple of days, as needed.
Summer Squash‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.
Sweet peppers‐ Refrigerate peppers for up to two weeks or store them at room temperature to keep fresh for about a week.
Sweet Potatoes‐ Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.
Tomatoes‐ Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.
Turnips‐ remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.
Winter squash‐store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Many growers say winter squashes get sweeter if they’re stored for a week or so before eaten.
Zucchini‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.
Apples‐ During the warmer months, apples should be stored in the fridge, while in the fall, they can be stored on the counter. When storing apples in the fridge, drape a damp paper towel over the container of apples (but do not put them in a drawer or air-tight container). Both the cold temperature and the moisture will help them stay their freshest for up to several weeks.
Bananas – Break up the bunch. Then wrap each stem in plastic wrap. That will reduce the emission of ethylene gas, and the bananas will ripen more slowly. Once a banana reaches the desired amount of ripeness, you can refrigerate it; the cold will keep it from ripening further.
Citrus‐ Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh for two weeks, or store at room temperature to keep fresh for seven to 10 days.
Apricots‐ Store at room temperature once you’ve brought them home. Don’t put them in the fridge before they’ve ripened, as chilling them before that will result in fruit that is mealy and flavorless.
Cherries‐store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, any added moisture encourages mold.
Berries-Don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.
Dates‐dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in. Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag‐ as long as it’s porous to keeping the moisture away from the skin of the dates.
Figs‐ Don’t like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week un‐stacked.
Grapes – Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Do not was until ready to eat.
Melons‐ uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple of weeks or stored in the fridge for up to 10 days. Cut melons should be in the fridge, an open container is fine.
Nectarines‐ (similar to apricots) Store at room temperature once you’ve brought them home. Don’t put them in the fridge before they’ve ripened, as chilling them before that will result in fruit that is mealy and flavorless.
Peaches (and most stone fruit)‐ Store at room temperature once you’ve brought them home. Don’t put them in the fridge before they’ve ripened, as chilling them before that will result in fruit that is mealy and flavorless.
Pears‐ will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them. Once ripe, refrigerate for up to a week.
Persimmon –Fuyu‐(shorter/pumpkin shaped): store at room temperature.–Hachiya‐ (longer/pointed end): room temperature until completely mushy. The astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the ripening process place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, check now and then, but don’t stack‐they get very fragile when really ripe.
Pomegranates‐ keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.
Strawberries‐ Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.
Freeze your fruits and veggies
If you overestimated how quickly you could consume your purchases, don’t get down on their eventual demise – and waste. Instead, chop those ripened fruits and veggies up and freeze them for use on a future occasion. You can freeze items such as bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, bananas… and the list goes on! Just make sure you blanch them in hot water before sticking them in below freezing temperatures. Blanching neutralizes bacteria present in foods, delaying spoilage.
Woah! I’ve been doing so many wrong things storing my vegetables! No wonder they go limp so easily within a few days. Thank you very much for this article, and by the way, those bunches of cauliflowers are gorgeous! I’d love to get my hands on all of them. 🙂
Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers says
Hi Andy, I know, I was the same way. I did a lot of research to figure it all out. Since I learned from this post, my veggies have lasted a lot longer. Thank you for commenting.
Very informative. Thank you for sharing. Will definitely be implementing some of these tips!
Melissa Watson says
Jennifer, THANK YOU! I was doing some of what you described, but I have definitely learned a lot. I’m just about to wrap each bananas in plastic wrap. Thank you again.
Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers says
You are very welcome!
When you say keep something in a bag, what type of bag are you referring to? Are there any that are reusable? Thanks for the info.
Felicity Hall says
Could I please ask when leaving tomatoes out on the countertop do they need to be in an airtight bag?
Felicity Hall says
Could I please ask when leaving tomatoes out on the countertop do they need to be in an airtight bag or some sort of airtight container?
Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers says
Hi, I leave my tomatoes on the counter in a bowl. Don’t put them in a container. Hope this helps.