Here is a list of fruits and vegetables with storage tips on how to extend the life of your produce without plastic and to reduce the need for refrigeration. Whether you want to store your produce in a root seller, are trying to reduce your electricity usage to save money or go solar, or want to reduce your trash production, these tips should help.
List of Fruits and How To Store Them
Apples: These will store quite well on a counter for a couple of weeks. Try not to bruise them. They can be layered in a cardboard box, or simply stacked in a bowl. They do not need to be airtight if placed in the fridge.
Apricots: These will ripen on the counter. Either eat or place in the fridge once they are ripe. They do not need to be airtight.
Avocados: Let them ripen on the counter. Eat quickly once ripe.
Berries: Berries of all sorts are very fragile. They should not be stacked more than one layer tall. No need for plastic, they will store quite well in a paper bag.
Citrus: Oranges, lemons, and other citrus can be stored in the fridge or on the counter. They last longer when in a cool place. Make sure they have good airflow. They will get softer with age, but can still be used for juice.
Cherries: Cherries should be stored in an airtight container. They will last longer at cooler temperatures. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them as they can mold easily.
Dates: Dry dates will do fine on the counter or in a paper bag in the fridge. Moist dates that need to last longer than a week should be stored in a porous bag in the fridge. Cloth or paper is ideal.
Figs: Figs should not be stored in an airtight container as they don’t like humidity. You can put them in a paper bag or simply stack them in the fridge.
Melons: These will last just fine in a cool place for a couple of weeks. I like to keep mine on a shelf in the pantry. Once you cut a melon it should be refrigerated. An open bowl works great.
Nectarines: Nectarines and related fruits will continue to ripen on the counter. Either eat or place in the fridge once ripe.
Peaches: Same as nectarines and apricots. Let it ripen before placing in cold storage.
Persimmon: These do just fine on the counter. Some varieties need to fully ripen before being eaten and they can be stored in a paper bag with an apple.
Pomegranates: Pomegranates last forever on the counter. Okay, maybe not that long, but they are fairly sturdy and make an attractive fruit bowl centerpiece.
Strawberries: Like other berries these can easily mold and bruise. Keep them in a paper bag in the fridge, but don’t stack.
Vegetables and How To Store Them
Artichokes: These will easily dry out, so keep them in an airtight container with a little bit of moisture.
Asparagus: This does not have to be refrigerated. You can stand them on their ends in a bowl of water to keep them fresh.
Arugula: Don’t let it stay wet. After rinsing, spin or pat dry and wrap in a towel in the fridge.
Basil: There are two ways to store basil, you can place it in a jar of water like a vase, or you can keep it in an airtight container with a bit of damp paper so it doesn’t wilt.
Beans: These do fine loose in a bowl in the fridge, but the sooner you eat them the tastier they will be.
Beets: Cut the tops off so they don’t dry out. You can store them in a bowl with a wet towel over the top. If you want to use the greens, keep them in an airtight container with a little moisture.
Broccoli: For short term storage, simply set in the fridge. If you want it to last longer, wrap in a damp towel first.
Brussels Sprouts: Keep the stalk in the fridge. If they are loose, place them in a bowl and cover with a damp towel.
Cabbage: Cabbage will last a week just on the counter and much longer in the fridge. If the outside starts to look wilted pull of the outer leaves before using.
Carrots: Cut the tops off and put them in an airtight container with a small amount of moisture. I’ve found washed carrots do great in glass half gallon jars. If they’re not airtight, keep them wrapped on a damp towel. You can also dunk limp carrots in cold water to crisp them up.
Cauliflower: This will do best in a closed container in the fridge.
Celery: Celery doesn’t need much, just a shallow bowl of water on the counter to sit in.
Corn: Corn is sweetest right after being picked, but you can leave it on the counter in the husk if you must.
Cucumber: These will last for a couple days on a counter, or if they need to be kept longer wrap them in a moist towel in the fridge.
Eggplant: Eggplant is perfectly happy on the counter or loose in the fridge.
Fava Beans: Keep these in airtight container before cooking or grilling.
Fennel: Fennel can be stored like celery on the counter in a bit of water. It will last longer if you place the cup and plant in the fridge.
Garlic: Keep it cool, dark, and dry and it should last for months.
Greens: This includes lettuce, spinach, and other leafy plants. Keep them airtight and moist in the fridge. The sturdier greens such as kale will be okay on the counter in a cup of water.
Herbs: These do best airtight in the fridge.
Leeks: Store these like celery with the bottom of the plant in water. Or you can wrap them in a damp towel in the fridge.
Okra: Okra doesn’t store well, so either eat it quickly or keep it in an airtight container with a dry towel to absorb humidity.
Onion: Store these like garlic, cool, dry, and dark.
Parsnips: These can be set in the fridge, or wrapped in a damp cloth.
Potatoes: Keep these in a box or bag in a cool, dry, dark place.
Radishes: Store these like beets, with the tops removed and in a bowl with a damp towel on top.
Rhubarb: Wrap rhubarb in a damp towel in the fridge.
Rutabagas: These can be stored like potatoes in a cool, dark place, although they do better with a bit more moisture.
Spring Onions: These will be fine just loose in the fridge.
Summer Squash (and Zucchini): These last just fine for a few days on the counter.
Sweet Peppers: Peppers will last a couple days on the counter and longer loose in the fridge.
Sweet Potatoes: Don’t put them in the fridge. They’ll do best in a cool, dark place with ventilation.
Tomatoes: These also should not be refrigerated and will last well on the counter.
Turnips: Store these like beets and radishes. Cut the tops off and place in a bowl with a moist towel covering them.
Winter Squash: These can last quite a long time in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. I’ve had butternut squash last for months.
You don’t need plastic bags to store your produce. There are other ways to keep them fresh! And sometimes you don’t need the fridge either. I hope this list of fruits and vegetables with storage tips helps you reduce waste and energy usage. Good luck!
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