How to Extend Your Produce’s Shelf Life

If you’ve ever bought fresh produce, only to be confused when it spoils only two days later, you aren’t alone! During our busy lives, the last thing we want to do is constantly having food spoil in our refrigerator (definitely doesn’t make dieting any easier!). Different vegetables have different methods of storing them. So if you are finding your vegetables are going bad quickly, you may not be storing them right! 


Check out our tips for keeping food fresher for longer!


What to Store on Your Countertop 

Fruits: melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew), tomatoes, apples, stone fruits (peaches, apricots, nectarines), avocado, bananas, mangoes, kiwis, oranges, pears, persimmons


These produce items do their best in a room temperature setting as it helps these fruits and vegetables ripen naturally and reach their peak levels of flavor and sweetness. Once they’re perfectly ripe, store them in the fridge to help extend their shelf life!


What to store in your pantry

Vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions (keep separate from other vegetables), garlic, winter squash (acorn and butternut), morel mushrooms


These items thrive in cool, dark places, like your pantry! The ventilation from the pantry helps keep these produce items fresher and preserve the flavor. Make sure to store them where you can easily see them, or else you’ll find a forgotten sprouted potato after a few weeks!


What to Store in your Fridge

Vegetables: bell peppers, asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, carrots, corn, celery, leafy greens (kale, lettuce, spinach), cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, herbs, cauliflower, mushrooms, summer squash


Fruits: berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), grapes, apples (once ripe), beets, okra, cherries, grapefruit


Ethylene gas is released by produce that can cause spoilage. Keeping certain fruits and vegetables refrigerated helps reduce the amount of this gas released and extend their shelf life and keep them crisper longer. Many refrigerators have specific drawers for produce, be sure to utilize them! Keep fruits and vegetables stored separately, as the ethylene gas from fruits can make vegetables spoil quicker. 


Freezing Vegetables for Future Use

If you find yourself with too many vegetables and aren’t sure if you can eat them all before they spoil, freeze them! Freezing vegetables preserves their nutrients and flavor best. Make sure to thoroughly wash and cut all produce you freeze. 


A Few More Quick Tips:

  • Wrapping the stems of bananas helps it stay fresher longer!
  • Green bell peppers remain fresher longer than red or yellow peppers.
  • Most berries come in plastic packaging with slits specifically designed to minimize spoilage, keep them in there to extend their shelf life!
  • Find that your carrots are going limp? Soak them in water to crisp them up again!
  • If your celery starts to limp, cut a few inches off the bottom, stick it in about 2 inches of water, and watch it firm up again in a few hours.


While having a good variety of fruits and vegetables is ideal, we know that it can be hard to keep track of them all. If you find your food spoiling quickly, try these storage tips and watch how much longer your produce can last!


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