Custom-made cabinets in the kitchen can be a life-saver, but all too often there is a food or food product that goes bad and causes the inside to smell. Every day, we are told to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but over 60% of Americans live in urban areas where they do not have access to this fresh produce on an everyday basis (for example, a daily farmer’s market). This means most of us have to acquire necessary nutrition from our weekly or bi-weekly grocery trips. Adequate storage is therefore required in order to keep produce fresh longer and safe to eat!
Yet it can be very unclear sometimes where specific foods should be stored. So, we have created a guide to show you what different fruits and vegetables require – trust us, the inside of your refrigerator and custom cabinet will smell fresh longer too! By doing this, you can not only feed your family for a longer stretch of time by extended shelf life, but also reduce food waste up to 14%. It’s a win-win!
Source: The Chopra Center
Apples – Store apples at room temperature for up to seven days, then in the refrigerator for another week. You can also store them in a cool, dark location for up to four months. Apples are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.
Asparagus – Wash and store in the refrigerator, standing upright in a glass of water with a damp paper towel draped over the tops.
Avocados – Store at room temperature until just ripe, then move to the refrigerator to stop the ripening process, store for up to 3 to 4 days. To quickly ripen avocados, place in brown paper bag with a banana.
Bananas – Store at room temperature; bananas give off a lot of ethylene gas and can make all other produce around them ripen quickly. Though brown bananas don’t look very appetizing, they actually contain more antioxidants the riper they get.
Berries – Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days; refrigeration will make them spoil faster. Wash berries just before eating.
Carrots – Store carrots in the refrigerator for up to three months; wash just prior to eating.
Celery – Store in refrigerator wrapped in foil to prolong shelf life.
Citrus Fruit (Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines) – citrus fruits last a long time at room temperature and will tend to take on odors if stored in the fridge. Ensure plenty of ventilation around your citrus fruit as they can mold easily in close contact.
Cruciferous Vegetables (Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower) – store in the refrigerator. They are sensitive to ethylene, so store away from high ethylene-releasing produce for longest shelf life.
Corn – leave husks on and refrigerate for up to two days before eating
Cucumbers – Cucumbers do best stored at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. They are also highly sensitive to ethylene and should be kept away from bananas, melons, and tomatoes.
Eggplant – Best stored at room temperature; refrigerating eggplant can make it spoil quickly. It is also easily susceptible to ethylene gas and should be kept away from high ethylene producers.
Figs – Store your figs in the refrigerator and eat them within 1 or 2 days as they are very perishable. Figs are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.
Garlic – Store garlic in a cool, dry location. Use cloves within 10 days after the head has been broken open.
Ginger – To prolong shelf life, store ginger in the refrigerator, wrapped in a paper towel, and in a zippered bag with the air squeezed out.
Grapes – Refrigerate grapes; wash just prior to eating.
Greens (Arugula, Chard, Collard, Lettuce, Kale, Spinach) – keep greens in refrigerator and wash just prior to using. Alternatively, wash, spin-dry, and wrap in paper towels, then store inside an open zippered bag to let them breathe.
Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Parsley) – Trim the ends and place like a bouquet in a jar of water on the counter. Storing them at room temperature will ensure they last a week or longer.
Kiwis – Ripen kiwis at room temperature then store in fridge to stop ripening.
Mangos – Ripen mangos at room temperature and eat once ripe. Move to the refrigerator to stop the ripening process, store for up to 3 to 4 days.
Melons (Cantaloupe, Crenshaw, Honeydew, Watermelon) – Store at room temperature until ripe. If you prefer your melon chilled, refrigerate no longer than one day to prevent pitting. Refrigerating melons can also cause their antioxidants to break down. Melons are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.
Mushrooms – Refrigerate store-bought mushrooms in their original box. Store wild mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator for a week or two.
Onions – Keep onions in a cool, dry location. Once cut, onions can be stored in a lidded container in the refrigerator for a few days.
Pears – Store at room temperature until just ripe, then move to the refrigerator to stop the ripening process. Store for up to five days.
Peas – Refrigerate in plastic bag and wash or shell just before eating. Peas have a short shelf life so eat soon after purchasing or picking.
Peppers – Refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks. Keep them dry of moisture, which can cause them to deteriorate quickly. Alternatively, store in a paper bag in a cool, dry location.
Pineapple – Can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Store upside down for a day or two to allow the sugar stored in the base of the pineapple to spread through the whole fruit before cutting.
Potatoes – Store potatoes in a cool dry place. Refrigeration will break down the starch into sugar and make them spoil quickly.
Stone Fruits (Apricots, Cherries, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Pluots) – All stone fruits do best stored at room temperature, then eaten as soon as they are ripe. Apricots are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.
Squash – Store winter squash in a cool, dry location for a month or more.
Sweet Potatoes – Store in a cool, dark location for up to one month.
Tomatoes – Store unwashed at room temperature and eat when ripe. Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator will make them mealy and spoil quickly. Tomatoes are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.
Zucchini – Store zucchini and other summer squash in a tightly wrapped plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.