How to: Storing fruits

The produce section is my favorite part of the supermarket. Not only is it packed full with lots of vibrant colors, but it has foods that are great for you, and delicious too. I spend most of my shopping trips there filling up my cart. But once I get home, sometimes I get stumped. Where do I put all these beautiful products? I become torn between refrigerator, counter or keeping it in a cool dark place.

Relax! I have you covered. Here’s your essential “I just bought a lot of produce and I don’t know where to put it” how-to guide. Today, let’s just look at some popular fruits.

  • Apples: For consumption within one to two days, the counter is okay. To keep apples longer, head to the refrigerator and put them in the crisper drawer. Don’t have one? No worries: put them in a container toward the back of the fridge and place a damp paper towel over them.
  • Avocados: Is it unripe? Store at room temperature between 65-75°F out of direct sunlight. If it is already ripe, but not cut open, store in the refrigerator for two to three days.
  • Bananas: Keep at room temperature. Bananas ripen faster the warmer it is; to slow this process, put them in the fridge, or in a freezer bag until you’re ready to enjoy. Tip: Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the peel to prevent browning. Speaking of brown, if your bananas are too green, put them in a brown paper bag in a warm, dry area. After a day or two, if there’s still not enough yellow on the peel, place an apple in the bag.
  • Berries: Berries are quite perishable, so give them some extra attention. In the fridge they go, uncovered. Don’t rinse until you’re ready to eat: moisture makes them spoil more quickly.
  • Cucumbers: Contrary to popular belief, keep at room temperature. Keep away from bananas, melons and tomatoes, as they can give off ethylene gas that triggers produce cells to degrade.
  • Eggplant: Technically a berry, eggplants should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within one to two days. A refrigerator can keep them fresh for several days longer.
  • Grapes: Like berries, do not wash grapes prior to consumption. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Grapefruit: Store either at room temperature (one week) or in the refrigerator (two to three weeks).
  • Lemons: Trust me on this one: keep these in sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator. They can last up to a month in the refrigerator, versus a week at room temperature.
  • Limes: Room temperature (one week) or in the refrigerator for up to a month works. Limes can also be kept in the freezer nearly indefinitely (although it is best to use them before three to four months for best quality).
  • Melons: Storage depends on what stage your melon is at. If it’s still ripening, keep in a pierced paper bag for a few days (throw an apple in the bag if you’d like to make it ripen faster). Once ripe, but uncut, store away from other fruit in the fridge for up to five days (see: Cucumbers). If you have a cut melon, keep the seeds in it and store in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Oranges: For best results, put in a sealed plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
  • Peaches: If your peach is ripe, you can store it in the refrigerator. For not-so-ripe peaches, on the counter with just a touch of sunshine will do the trick.
  • Pears: Unripe pears stay outside the refrigerator. Ripe pears can be stored for up to five days in the fridge.
  • Peppers: Keep in the vegetable crisper in a plastic bag.
  • Pineapple: If it’s whole, keep on the counter or in the fridge. If it’s cut, fridge or freezer only!
  • Watermelons: Once picked, watermelons will not ripen anymore. Keep in the fridge — warm temperatures makes the flesh dry out and become fibrous. Watermelons last in the refrigerator for two weeks (sometimes up to three). A cut watermelon should be wrapped in plastic before being kept in the fridge for up to three days.

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