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Volume II
August 26, 2005


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.

Storage Location

Fruits and Melons

Vegetables

Store in refrigerator

Apples

Apricots

Blackberries

Blueberries

Cherries

Cut fruits

Figs

Grapes

Nashi (Asian pears)

Raspberries

Strawberries

Artichokes

Asparagus

Green beans

Lima beans

Beets

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Cut vegetables

Green Onions

Herbs (not basil)

Leafy vegetables

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Peas

Radishes

Spinach

Sprouts

Summer squash

Sweet Corn

Ripen on the counter first, then store in refrigerator

Avocados

Kiwifruit

Nectarines

Peaches

Pears

Plums

Plumcots

Store only at room temperature

Apples (fewer than 7 days)

Bananas

Grapefruit

Lemons

Limes

Mandarins

Mangoes

Oranges

Papayas

Pineapple

Plantain

Pomegranates

Watermelons

Basil (in water)

Cucumbers*

Dry onions**

Eggplant*

Garlic**

Ginger

Jicama

Peppers*

Potatoes**

Pumpkins

Winter squashes

Sweet potatoes

Tomatoes

*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! *



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