Updated: Jan 17
Do you love to have fresh fruit in the house, but hate how quickly it can go bad? Don’t worry, we’re here to give you all the tips and tricks to ensure your fresh fruit will last as long as possible. Follow our tips to know where and how to store your produce to ensure lasting freshness and flavor. Consider this your definitive guide to fight food waste and save money!
*Pro tip: Apples, onions, bananas, and potatoes are some of the highest ethylene producers. Be sure to keep them away from other produce to avoid speedy spoilage!*
Here you will find:
HOW TO STORE APPLES
Biting into a crisp apple is one of the joys of autumn. Luckily, you can keep that freshness for a long time. Apples have a very long shelf life, and if stored properly, can be happy in your fridge for several months. Thick skin varieties like Granny Smith, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Northern Spy and McIntosh tend to last the longest. They like cool temperatures, with 32-35 degrees Fahrenheit being the ideal for long storage. Store your apples in a bag with holes and place them in the coolest part of your crisper. If you prefer to store your apples on the countertop, they will keep for about a week. Remember, Apples give off ethylene gas, which means they can speed the spoilage of nearby produce. Store apples away from other produce to avoid ripening your other fruit or vegetables too quickly.
As with most fruit, apples are fine to freeze. Cut the apples into slices or chunks and toss with a little lemon juice. Flash freeze them so they don't clump together. Once frozen, place in a large storage bag and use within 6 months. Frozen apples are best for smoothies and pies.
Pro Tip: Meal prep is made easy when you slice apples at the beginning of the week. Place apple slices in a container and spritz with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Apple slices will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
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HOW TO STORE AVOCADOS
Avocados are infamous for quickly turning brown, and with rising prices of grocery items, it is more important than ever to know how to properly store them. The brown color is a result of oxidation, so the key to storing cut avocados is to avoid contact with air as much as possible.
Using an avocado saver is a great option, but if you don’t have one be sure to store your avocado half with the skin intact and the pit inside. Cover the rest with cling wrap to avoid oxygen reaching the flesh. Other hacks include squeezing lemon or lime juice onto the avocado flesh as the acid helps to slow down the oxidation. You can also store the avocado half with an onion in an airtight container. Some of the onion flavor will likely be imparted, but the fumes from the onion will slow the oxidation.
If your avocado is whole be sure to keep it at room temperature on the counter until it has reached your desired ripeness. Keeping an unripe avocado in the fridge will actually diminish the taste and texture. Once the avocado is ripe, keep it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. It can last there for up to two weeks.
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HOW TO STORE BANANAS
Bananas are a notoriously fickle fruit, turning green to brown before you know it. There are several tricks though that can slow the ripening process and keep your bananas as fresh as possible!
Keep your bananas out of direct sunlight as the sun will quicken the ripening process.
Leave your bananas in the bunch! The difference is subtle, but keeping them together does indeed slightly slow down the ripening process.
Hang your banana bunch on a banana tree. This keeps air circulating around all sides of the fruit and eliminates bruises from the bananas and other fruit resting on them.
Wrap the stems of your banana in cling wrap. This will trap some of the ethylene they emit and slow down the ripening process.
Bananas are warm weather fans, so leave unripe bananas on the counter until they reach your desired ripeness. Once they are fully ripe, place them in the fridge. The skin may turn brown from the temperature but the cold will stop the ripening process so the inside will still be fresh!
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HOW TO STORE BERRIES
Berries are one of the most perishable types of fruit, so knowing how to properly store them is essential. Follow these steps for the freshest summer berries!
Sort berries and eat any that are already bruised. This means they are fully ripe so they should be eaten first to avoid any rot.
Avoid rinsing with water until you are ready to eat them! Rinsing berries in advance actually speeds up the spoiling process as it causes moisture to seep in.
Decide how long you are hoping to store the berries. If you are going to eat them in a day, simply keep them on the counter. Room temperature berries actually have the most flavor. If you are hoping to store them for 2-5 days, keep them in the fridge in a single layer. If you’re looking to keep your berries for longer than 5 days, it’s best to freeze them. They will stay good in the freezer for a year.
Pro tip: Taking this extra step will keep your berries fresher even longer. Once you get home from the store, give your berries a vinegar bath. Bathing them in a mix of 3 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar will kill any mold spores on the fruit. Be sure to give them a good rinse after to get rid of any lingering vinegar taste.
HOW TO STORE GRAPES
Just as some of the other produce we’ve discussed, it is best to avoid washing grapes until you are about to eat them. To keep them fresh they should remain as dry as possible. Grapes do best in the cold so stick them in the coldest part of your fridge (the back of the crisper drawer is great!) and leave them in the perforated plastic bag they came in. The holes in the bag allow the grapes to breathe so they do not trap moisture and speed up spoilage. Grapes can also be frozen to maintain freshness. Pro tip: frozen grapes make a great snack on a hot summer day!
HOW TO STORE JACKFRUIT
The rise in popularity of this tropical fruit is largely because of its meaty texture allowing you to easily swap it for a meatless main. You'll know your jackfruit is ripe when you press on it and it yields to the pressure. Once ripe, cut the jackfruit into pieces and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for about a week. As most fruit, you can also freeze with success! Store wrapped and freeze it for up to three months.
HOW TO STORE LEMONS & LIMES
If stored properly, lemons and limes can actually last for up to three months! A great storage hack is to keep them in a container filled with water (sealable glass containers work best). This helps to replenish moisture they may lose and keep them from bearing their weight on each other. If you are planning on using them soon though, simply place them in the crisper drawer and you’re all set! Only used half your lemon? Store the other half in an airtight container and it will last for up to a week in the fridge.
Want to learn a whole new way to cook with lemons? Check out our Preserved Lemon and Olive Chicken class live from Morocco. If limes are more your style, discover the fresh flavors of Peruvian Ceviche.
HOW TO STORE MANGOES
Knowing how to store a mango depends how far along it is in the ripening process. So how do you tell if a mango is ripe? Its skin should have changed from green to a yellow, orange, or red hue and it should soften slightly to the touch like a stone fruit. If your mango is not ripe yet, store it at room temperature on the counter for a few days. Once it is ripe, place it in the fridge where it will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Mango also freezes exceptionally well! Simply peel, cut, and place your ripe mango in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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HOW TO STORE MELONS
For cantaloupes, honeydew and other melons, if your melons aren’t ripe yet, you can leave them on the countertop for two days to ripen. Hoping to quicken up the process? Place your melon in a paper bag. This will trap the Ethylene (aka the gas that produce emits) and cause the ripening process to speed up! Once it’s ripe, keep your melons in the fridge or cut up and freeze.
Watermelons are different from other melons however. They stop ripening as soon as they’re removed from the vine, so store them in the fridge immediately for the longest shelf life.
HOW TO STORE ORANGES
How to store your oranges depends on where they are in the ripening process. If they are not fully ripe, leave them uncovered on the counter. Oranges can actually last on the counter for up to a week, but be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. This will speed up the ripening process.
If they’ve reached the perfect ripeness and you don’t plan on using them the next day or two, keep your oranges in the fridge. Storing them in a mesh, breathable bag in the crisper drawer will keep them the freshest. Oranges stored like this can last up to two months. Just like with berries, be sure not to wash them until you plan to eat them, as the moisture encourages spoilage.
As with most fruit, oranges can also be kept in the freezer for up to a year. However, thawed frozen orange slices will lose their crisp texture, so it is best to only do this if you intend to use them in smoothies. You can also juice the oranges and freeze the fresh squeezed orange juice in ice trays.
HOW TO STORE PEARS
There is a key component to pears that determines their storage method: are they a summer or winter pear? Winter pears such as Bosc, Comice, Anjou, and Winter Nelis are much heartier than summer varieties and can be kept for significantly longer. Bartlett is a relatively hearty summer pear, but will still not last as long.
Winter pears are harvested when they are mature but not yet ripe, and actually need to be kept in cold storage to properly ripen. If you are looking to keep unripe pears for the long haul, winter varieties can last in the fridge at a temperature of 30 degrees fahrenheit for 3 to 5 months while Bartletts can last for 2-3 months in those conditions. When you want to eat them, test their ripeness by pressing the neck of the pear. If it gives to the pressure they are ripe! If they’re still not ripe (or you're not looking to store them for the long haul!) Bartlett pears can be left out on the counter to ripen for 4-5 days, Bosc and Comice pears for 5-7, and Anjou pears for 7-10 days.
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HOW TO STORE PINEAPPLE
This fabulous tropical fruit is such a nice treat. To find a ripe pineapple, select a pineapple that has a sweet smell and a yellow color. It should feel heavy. Storing it on your counter will ripen it most quickly and it should be eaten within 3-4 days. To store it once cut, place it in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge for up to a week. Once it starts to brown, or you get a stinging sensation when eating it, it means it's gone bad. Pineapple is fantastic to freeze for smoothies and desserts. Cut the pineapple into bite-size chunks and flash freeze. Once frozen, store in a thick freezer bag.
HOW TO STORE STONE FRUIT
Stone fruit is a broad classification for fruits that have a thin skin and a stone in the middle. This includes peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries. Storing stone fruit in the fridge before they are fully ripe can lead to a mealy texture. After purchasing, it is best to keep them on the counter in a single layer, unwashed, and uncovered for 2-3 days until they are fully ripe. If you are hoping to speed up the ripening process, you can also keep the fruit in a paper bag.
Once your stone fruit has fully ripened, it is now safe to keep them in the fridge. Keep them in the crisper drawer and make sure they remain uncovered and unwashed. They will last in the fridge for up to 5 days. Pro tip: Place your stone fruit back on the counter and return to room temperature before eating to enjoy maximum flavor!
HOW TO STORE TOMATOES
We know many people lump tomatoes in with vegetables, but don’t forget, they are indeed a fruit! A good rule of thumb for tomatoes is to keep them at room-temperature. Tomatoes come from a warm climate, so keeping them in an area below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (like the fridge!) actually stops their flavor producing enzymes and can create a mealy texture. If you have fully ripe tomatoes you can place them in the fridge but be sure to place them back on the counter for a day or two before eating. This will allow those enzymes to start producing again so your tomatoes are still bursting with flavor.
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