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How to Keep Your Fruit and Veggies Fresh

By Team Fetch

March 8, 2024

There’s nothing quite like spending a large chunk of your weekly grocery budget on produce (“You need to eat healthier,” my doc says), only to end up throwing away those same fruits and veggies just days later because they’ve already gone bad. We’ve all been there (some of us continue to be there…), simmering with frustration as we essentially dump our hard-earned money into the garbage. 

While you can’t preserve your produce indefinitely, there are things you can do to maximize their life, so you can spend more time eating green than you do throwing away your green. Here, Fetch lays out a few essential tips and tricks for keeping your fruit and vegetables fresher for longer.

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Tips for Keeping Fruit Fresh

There are several things you can do to maximize the life of your fruit and not waste as much. Ultimately, it comes down to simply knowing the proper storage methods for different types of fruits:

  • Store your fruit whole, and don’t cut it until you’re ready to eat, as exposing the inner flesh to air accelerates the spoilage process.
  • Most fruit will keep for longer if stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge; this is especially true for berries, apples*, and grapes.
  • Plastic bags with tiny holes/vents release moisture and help fruit last longer; these come in handy for fruit like strawberries, cherries, and grapes.
  • Some fruits, like apricots, mangoes, kiwi, peaches, nectarines, and plums, should first ripen on your kitchen counter before being transferred to the refrigerator.
  • Bananas and avocados should be stored on your kitchen counter, and fruits like cantaloupe, honeydew melon, figs, and papayas can either go on your counter or in the fridge.
  • In general, fruit needs room to breathe (i.e. airflow and space), which is why many fruits, like blueberries and oranges, are sold in containers designed for breathability.

*Be aware that apples (along with bananas and pears) produce more ethylene, a fruit-ripening hormone, than other fruits and should therefore be stored separately to prevent them from making your other fruit spoil too quickly.

Tips for Keeping Vegetables Fresh

When it comes to keeping your veggies fresher for longer, just like with fruit, the key is knowing how to properly store them. Some vegetables do better in your pantry, while others thrive on your counter or in the fridge. Here is a cheat sheet you can use when determining how to store your vegetables to maximize their lifespan.

Veggies to Store in Your Pantry (between 50 and 70 degrees)

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Shallots

Veggies to Store on the Counter (out of direct sunlight)

Veggies to Store in Your Fridge

With any of those vegetables going in the crisper drawer in your fridge, again, be sure to keep them away from your fruit, particularly apples and pears, to avoid these fruits causing your veggies to go bad more quickly.

How to Properly Wash Your Produce

It’s important to wash your produce before eating, as doing so can help rinse away dirt or bacteria that could otherwise potentially make you sick.

Here are the FDA’s tips for washing your fruit and veggies:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water before handling fresh produce (and after, too).
  • Gently rub produce while running under running water; you don’t need to use any kind of specialty produce wash.
  • With melons, cucumbers, and other firm produce, you can use a vegetable brush to scrub them.
  • After washing, dry your produce with a paper towel or clean cloth to remove any remaining bacteria.

Can You Freeze Fresh Fruit and Veggies?

Yes, freezing fresh produce can dramatically increase the shelf life of your fruits and veggies and also allows you to enjoy them at their most flavorful even when they’re out of season. When freezing, you’ll want to first make sure your fruit and veggies are fully ripe, so you are preserving them in their peak state.

Here are some general tips for freezing your produce:

  • Wash, dry, and (if needed) cut/seed/core your fruit prior to freezing.
  • Once you have your fruit or veggies prepped for freezing, you’ll want to “pre-freeze” them by arranging them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and placing the baking sheet in the freezer for at least two hours; this will prevent your frozen produce from sticking together when you transfer them to a bag or container to freeze for the long haul.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the freezer, and transfer your frozen fruit or vegetables to a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible; make sure to also write the date on the bag, so you know when it went into the freezer.
  • Make sure your frozen produce is stored at a temperature of 0 degrees or lower (this stops bacteria from growing).
  • Be sure to safely thaw your frozen produce before eating it.

While frozen produce won’t keep indefinitely, it should stay good for anywhere from 8-12 months in your freezer.

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