Colorful healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. Shot in a studio

The Complete Guide to Storing Fruits and Vegetables I Wish I’d Known Sooner

As hard as it is to imagine, the U.S. discards a staggering 150,000 tons of food every day. Breaking that down to the household level, each family wastes approximately $1,500 worth of food annually—nearly a pound of food per person each day—with fruits and vegetables making up 39 percent of this loss.

Colorful healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. Shot in a studio

The good news: With a few simple tricks to reduce the amount of fresh produce we toss, we can minimize the disposal of fresh produce in our homes to make a big, positive impact on both the environment and our grocery expenses.



To keep your apples fresh and delicious, find a nice spot on your countertop and place the apples in an uncovered fruit bowl, away from direct sunlight. This allows them to breathe and maintain their best.

To keep whole apples fresh for around six weeks, here’s a great hack: wrap each one in a slightly damp paper towel, then tuck them into a plastic bag with a few small holes. Place the bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. This method helps to retain their crispness and flavor for an extended period.

Remember that apples release ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process of other produce that may be sitting nearby. Apples need their own space (who can identify? I see those hands )





Keep your asparagus fresh by storing it in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer for about a week. Another option is to treat it like fresh flowers by trimming the ends slightly (about 1/4-inch) and placing them in a cup, mug, or vase with a few inches of water.

Store this setup in the fridge, or if needed, on the countertop for a few days. To maintain the crispness, cover the asparagus with plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or a paper towel. If the water becomes cloudy, replace it, ideally daily. Using these methods, you can extend the freshness of your asparagus for more than a week.




To store an unripe avocado, leave it whole on your countertop, away from other produce. It usually stays good there for four to five days, but because avocados vary, make sure to check for ripeness every day.

Once your avocado is ripe or nearly so, you can extend its freshness by refrigerating it. The fridge can keep it good for several days, but the duration depends on how ripe it is. To store it properly, use an airtight food container or the produce drawer. Be cautious if it’s in the drawer with bananas or apples, as their ethylene gas can speed up ripening. Keep an eye on it regularly in that case.

Freezing an avocado half is easy. First, take out the pit and skin. Next, add a bit of lemon or lime juice to the flesh and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. For extra protection against oxygen, use a vacuum-sealed bag or a sealed plastic bag.




When you won’t eat them right away, choose slightly green bananas and keep them apart from other fruits in the fruit bowl (since they give off lots of ethylene gas). A banana tree can help avoid bruising. Also, avoid sunlight as it speeds up ripening.



To store whole beets correctly, start by trimming most of the greens, leaving a small stub attached to the bulb. You can either discard the extra greens or cook them with garlic and olive oil. Leave the skin on the beet to preserve its freshness. Don’t wash the beets, even if they’re dirty, as moisture speeds up spoilage. Keep the beets in your crisper drawer in the fridge, without a plastic bag, to allow for proper ventilation. This setup can keep beets fresh for around two months.

If you want to freeze fresh beets, it’s better to cook them before freezing to prevent sogginess when thawed.




Once you get home, check the blueberries and take out any bad ones that might be hidden. Mold spreads quickly, so it’s smart to act early. To prevent mold, hold off on washing the berries until you’re about to eat them. Remember, moisture is what you want to avoid when keeping blueberries fresh.

For storing blueberries, use a container that allows air to flow (like the pint they came in), and put a paper towel inside to soak up extra moisture. Place the berries in the container and keep it on a shelf in the fridge. A shelf is better than a crisper drawer since it has more air circulation. Doing this, your blueberries should stay good for around a week.

To freeze blueberries, cool them in the freezer on a baking sheet for a couple of hours first, and then move them to a plastic bag or a container that’s safe for freezing.



Cut off the carrot greens and decide whether to throw them out or use them in recipes, like pesto. Keeping the greens attached makes the carrots moist and leads to quicker rotting. Don’t wash whole, unpeeled carrots until you’re ready to use them. Keeping them dry helps them last longer. To store, wrap the carrots in a dry paper towel and put them in an airtight container or bag in the coolest fridge spot.

To freeze carrots, start by blanching them. Afterward, spread them on a baking sheet in the freezer to cool for a few hours. Once they’re cool, put them in an airtight bag and back in the freezer.



Once you’re home from the store, place cherries in the fridge to keep them from spoiling quickly. They’ll remain fresh for about a week in there. It’s best not to cover them; leaving them uncovered helps prevent moisture buildup and spoilage.

To freeze pitted cherries, wash, remove the stems, and spread them on a baking sheet in the freezer to cool. After they’re cool, transfer them to a freezer-safe container, seal it tightly, and put it back in the freezer.




First, trim the ends of the cilantro stems as you would to prefer flowers for a vase. Put the bunch, stems down, in a can or jar with a bit of water. Loosely cover the leaves with a clean plastic bag. Keep it in the fridge since cilantro likes cooler temps. Change the water if it turns discolored. This method can make cilantro last about two weeks. Don’t wash it until you’re ready to use it to prevent quick spoilage from moisture.

The best way to freeze cilantro is to blend it first with a bit of water or olive oil until smooth, then pour into an ice cube tray. Once frozen you will have cube-size cilantro whenever you need it.

Citrus Fruits


citrus fruits


Keep oranges, limes, and lemons at room temperature. Move them to the refrigerator when they’re no longer at their best to extend freshness. The same applies to tomatoes and avocados. If your citrus is getting too ripe, slice and freeze as handy as ice cubes for drinks.



After buying cucumbers, wash them and dry them well to avoid spoilage. Wrap each one in a cloth or plastic wrap, then keep them in an airtight container. The plastic wrap protects them and locks in moisture, keeping the cucumbers from getting too ripe or mushy.



Keep garlic heads in a cool, dry spot with good airflow, like a basket on your counter (away from sunlight). It’s better to avoid the fridge unless you’ll use it in a few days, as garlic prefers a cool, not cold, environment.

You can freeze garlic in various ways: whole heads, peeled cloves, or grated. For peeled cloves, spread them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then store in a freezer bag.



Keep your ginger fresh by placing it in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag, then store it in the fridge’s crisper drawer. This keeps it good for around a month, or even more.

Before freezing, wash and dry the ginger root, then put it in a plastic bag or container suitable for freezing.



Wash and dry whole grapes, then put them in a well-ventilated container in your fridge’s crisper drawer. This keeps them fresh for about three weeks. Don’t use an airtight container or plastic bag, as it hampers air circulation.

Freezing grapes is easy. Rinse, dry, and spread them on a baking sheet. Freeze for a few hours or overnight, then store them in a container for quick access.



fresh basil

To keep fresh basil and herbs, use this tip: chop the leaves with a food processor, place them in an ice cube tray with a little olive oil, and freeze. When you want basil for cooking, grab a frozen herb cube.



When dealing with lettuce like romaine or spinach, take it out of the packaging and remove any damaged outer leaves. Wrap the heads in paper towels and put them in new plastic bags in the fridge’s crisper drawer. Keep the leaves whole and unwashed until you’re ready to use them. Whole heads stay fresh longer, and avoid water, which makes them wilt.

When it comes to iceberg lettuce, the storage is a bit different. Keep it in its original packaging in the fridge’s crisper drawer until you’re ready to use it. Don’t break it apart or wash it until you’re about to eat, as extra water can make it go bad.

If you have homegrown lettuce, decide when to wash based on its cleanliness. If it’s clean, store like other types. If it’s gritty or might have bugs, wash before storing. Put washed greens in plastic bags with paper towels to soak up moisture, and keep them in the fridge’s crisper drawer. Remember, washing makes them spoil sooner, so aim to eat within a few days.




Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature, not in the fridge. They’ll get sweeter and softer over a few days. To make them ripen faster, use a paper bag. Once they yield to touch, they’re ready. Ripe mangoes can be eaten or stored in the fridge for about five days.

Freezing a ripe mango is simple. Peel, cut into cubes or slices, and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least two hours. Then, move the frozen pieces to a freezer-safe bag, remove air, seal, and label with the date.


Pile Of Mushrooms Isolated On White Background


If you bought pre-packaged mushrooms, keep them in their packaging. It’s designed to keep them dry. If not, store whole mushrooms in a brown paper bag with paper towels. Don’t seal the bag; airflow helps. Mushrooms release moisture, so they need absorbent packaging. Wash them just before using to prevent quick spoilage. Keep them in the fridge to stay fresh for about a week.

To freeze mushrooms, clean them and place in an airtight freezer-safe bag or container. This keeps them good in the freezer for around two months.

Onions, Potatoes


Keep onions, potatoes, and shallots fresh in a cool, dark spot like a cupboard or cellar. Don’t use plastic bags, as they can cause spoilage. Once cut, put onions in a resealable bag in the fridge for about a week. To make onions last longer, chop and freeze them in a container.

Potatoes are like onions—they’re not great in the fridge but can be frozen. For best results, make your potato dish (like mashed potatoes or tater tot casserole), then freeze it in a freezer-friendly container. You can also par-cook the potatoes to reduce moisture and prevent them from getting mushy when frozen.




To ripen peaches, leave them on the counter in a single layer for a few days. Once ripe, enjoy them right away or refrigerate to slow the ripening. Only wash peaches before eating to preserve their freshness, as the skins help keep the flesh protected.

Absolutely, you can freeze peaches without any issues. Freezing peaches is a smart way to prevent food waste and enjoy the taste of summer peaches later on. They’ll remain fresh in the freezer for approximately 6 to 12 months.

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath beside the pot.
  2. Use a small knife to carve a shallow X in the bottom end of each peach.
  3. Place peaches in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice water bath.
  4. Gently peel off the peach skins with your hands. This should be very easy.
  5. Pit and slice the peaches then lay them out in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  6. Freeze until solid, roughly three hours.
  7. Move the frozen peach slices to a freezer-safe sealed plastic bag, and return to the freezer.





For storing strawberries, just pop a clean, dry paper towel in a container and lay unwashed strawberries on it. Seal the container and pop it in the fridge.

To freeze strawberries, great for desserts or smoothies, just lay them cut-side down on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Freeze for a few hours, then transfer to a sealed container and back in the freezer. Using this way, frozen strawberries stay good for around 10 to 12 months.


tomatoes in a wooden bowl isolated on white background

If your tomatoes aren’t ripe yet, leave them on the counter for a few days until they’re fragrant and slightly soft to the touch. Once they’re ripe, eat them or store in the fridge to keep them fresh—they’ll stay good for around two weeks.

If you have a bounty of ripe tomatoes and you’re not going to use them all, give them a rinse, let them dry, remove their stems, and freeze them in a freezer-proof container or bag. Once thawed, frozen tomatoes will not be good for slicing, but awesome in stews an sauces!


watermelon slice isolated on white

If you’re not digging into your watermelon immediately, keep it on the counter, away from direct sunlight. In mild weather or air conditioning, it’s good on the counter for 1-2 weeks. If it’s ripe but you’re busy, no worries. Keep the whole watermelon in the fridge, and it will stay fresh for another 2-3 weeks.

To freeze watermelon, cut it from the rind, then chop it into small pieces and take out the seeds. Lay the pieces on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, and freeze them quickly for a few hours. Once frozen, transfer the chunks to a freezer-safe container or bag, label them with the date, and pop it back in the freezer.



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4 replies
  1. Lillian Silva says:

    I keep my washed and dried strawberries and cherries in canning jars. They keep for 2-3 weeks. I also freeze chopped celery. I found I can add the celery to salads. My motto, before I throw it out, I try to freeze it.

  2. JJ says:

    Thank you for all the work you do to make life so much easier for the rest of us! God bless you for your hard work and love for your fellow “cheapskates”!

    Just wanted to share a little tip: we store pretty much all of our fruits and vegetables in berry boxes (specifically the Hutzler Berry Box. We’ve tried other brands and they have not worked as well. And, no, this is not a paid advertisement. I do not have any connection with the company other than being a loyal customer). They’re amazing! We wash and air-dry everything according to your recommendations (LOVE your produce wash!) and put them into the boxes. I’ve even put damp blueberries in and still have great results. I believe that’s because it’s a ventilated box that sits elevated inside another box. This keeps the produce out of any moisture that collects at the bottoms. One of the best inventions ever, in my opinion! And they come in 3 sizes so they fit every need.

  3. George Foster says:

    My sister gave me the best way to keep avocados fresh longer. Once they’re close to ripe, wrap them in foil and put them in the refrigerator. Will keep them a week or more.


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