Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy and delicious, but they are also an investment that could end up in the garbage if not stored properly. Below are a few tips to help keep you produce at their best. Remember not all produce needs or should be stored in the refrigerator.
- Ripen the following on the counter, then refrigerate:
- Avocados, peaches, kiwi, nectarines, pears, and plums
- Store these at room temperature:
- Bananas, citrus fruit, melons, mangoes, papayas, pomegranates, pineapple, basil (in water), eggplant, ginger, jicama, and tomatoes (Once these fruits and vegetables are cut open, they must be stored in the refrigerator.)
- Store in ventilated pantry:
- Garlic, onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger, and all varieties winter squash
- Refrigerate all other produce.
Some produce spoils more quickly than others. Items with thin skins, like berries, lettuce, cucumbers are only good for up to 3 days. But produce with thicker skins like potatoes, winter squash, apples, and citrus fruit will stay good for longer than a week.
Also important to remember, most fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw. So follow good food safety practices to protect your family.
- Pick out produce that has no cuts or bruises.
- Wash all produce with running water, no need for bleach or special cleaners.
- Separate produce from meat, fish, poultry and eggs, in your grocery basket, grocery bags, and in the fridge.
- Refrigerator temperature should be set at 40 degrees or lower to keep all food safe.
Proper storage will improve the quality and food safety will protect you and your family. And following the tips for both will help to prevent food waste.