Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
by Amy Hunt
The flavor of fruits and vegetables is influenced by maturity and quality at harvest and by how they are stored afterwards. To maintain the freshness and flavor of the produce you buy at the supermarket or grow in your garden, it is important to know how to store it at home.
At the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center they have done studies to determine the best ways to store produce. The following table and information comes from their findings.
Fruits and Melons
Store in refrigerator
Nashi (Asian pears)
Herbs (not basil)
Ripen on the counter first, then store in refrigerator
Store only at room temperature
Apples (fewer than 7 days)
Basil (in water)
*Cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days if they are used soon after removal from the refrigerator.
**Store garlic, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in a well-ventilated area in the pantry. Protect potatoes from light to avoid greening.
The counter storage area should be away from direct sunlight to prevent produce from becoming too warm. Do not place produce in sealed plastic bags on the counter because this slows the ripening and may increase off-odors due to accumulation of carbon dioxide and depletion of oxygen inside the sealed bag.
Refrigerated fruits and vegetables should be kept in perforated plastic bags in the produce drawers of the refrigerator. Separate fruits from vegetables to minimize the detrimental effects of ethylene (produced by fruits) on the vegetables. Use all refrigerated produce within a few days since longer storage results in loss of freshness and flavor.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *