How to store literally every dang fruit and vegetable

We're about to break down how to store your farmers market haul, from apples to zucchini

By Rebecca Firkser
February 11, 2021 3:00PM (UTC)
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(James Ransom / Food52)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

Welcome to Storage Wars, a new series about the best ways to store, well, everything. From how to keep produce orderly in the fridge (or not), to ways to get your oddball nooks and crannies shipshape; and yes, how to organize all those unwieldy containers once and for all — we've got you covered.

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I tend to do one big farmers market trip for all my weekly produce. I set out armed with as many reusable totes as I can shove into my trusty grocery cart (which once helped me lug the contents of an entire Thanksgiving dinner, including a frozen 17-pound turkey, by subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn). After unloading the produce haul and spending several minutes admiring the colorful bounty, panic sets in: Keeping everything fresh for the week can be challenging if not done properly.

Luckily, there are plenty of tricks to keep lettuce crisp, carrots crunchy, berries un-mushed, potatoes unsprouted, herbs perky . . . and that's only the beginning. From the best places in the kitchen to store the produce to how to store everything, there are plenty of dos and don'ts. So you never have to wonder — or bite into a limp radish — ever again, here's our ultimate guide to the best ways to store fruits and vegetables.

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All The Alliums

Garlic

Store garlic in a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation, in a mesh or paper bag.

6 Garlic Mistakes We'll Never (Ever!) Make Again

Leeks

Store leeks in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel. For extra protection, put the damp cloth inside a plastic bag (easy to reuse!). Don't forget to wash them really well.

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Leeks: A Stalk of Humble Pie

Onions

Store onions in a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation, in a mesh or paper bag.

The Right Way to Store Onions

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Crunchy, Leafy Vegetables (Herbs, Fungi and Nightshades, Too)

Carrots

Store carrots in a plastic, mesh, or open cloth bag in the refrigerator's vegetable bin; if you don't have room in the fridge, opt for a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation, in a mesh or paper bag.

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What to Do with an Overload of Carrots

Celery

Store celery wrapped tightly in aluminum foil (weird, we know!) in the refrigerator's vegetable bin; though you can reuse foil, for a more environmentally friendly option, wrap in a damp cloth towel.

The Best Way to Store Celery Might Surprise You

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Cucumbers

Store cucumbers in a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation, or in the refrigerator on a high shelf — warmer than the crisper. (Store zucchini and summer squash this way, too.)

Cucumbers and 11 of the Best Ways to Use Them

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Eggplant

Store eggplant in a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation.

Keep Your Eggplants Away from the Fridge

Fennel

Store fennel in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel with the stalks and bulb separated, in two plastic or mesh bags.

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Fennel

Greens

Store greens, unwashed until you're ready to eat them, in the refrigerator in a container with a paper or tea towel draped over the top instead of a lid (or wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel). For another idea, check out lettuce.

How to Store Greens

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Herbs

Store herbs in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel; alternatively, store them stems-down in a water-filled jar at room temperature (or in the refrigerator with the tops covered by a bag — store scallions and asparagus like this, too!). Basil is best left out of the fridge and used as quickly as possible, to avoid its turning brown.

How the Heck Do You Store Fresh Herbs?: A Quest

Lettuce

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Store lettuce directly in the salad spinner, post-wash and spin, in the fridge with the lid on (this also works for greens).

The Best Way To Store Lettuces and Other Greens (A Controversial Method)

Mushrooms

Store mushrooms in the refrigerator (or somewhere very cool), in the perforated package they were purchased in, or in a paper bag.

How to Store Mushrooms So They Stay Fresh and Slime-Free

Peppers

Store peppers in a cool spot in the kitchen, in a container covered with a cloth towel.

What to Do with an Overload (or Not) of Peppers

Potatoes

Store potatoes in a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation, in a mesh or paper bag. (Store sweet potatoes and beets like this, too!)

How to Store Potatoes (So They Can Live Their Best Lives)

Radishes

Store radishes (and their greens) in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel. If they lose some of their crunch after a couple days in the fridge, soak them in ice water until they perk up.

What to Do with an Overload of Radishes

Squash

Store squash (butternut, acorn, delicata, kabocha, etc.) in a dry, dark place with plenty of room-temperature to cool air circulation.

How to Store Butternut Squash So it Lasts and Lasts (and Lasts)

Tomatoes

Store tomatoes in a cool spot in the kitchen with plenty of air circulation; to keep super-ripe tomatoes for another day or so, store them in the refrigerator. (Store peaches the same way.)

How to Store Tomatoes So They Stay Plump and Fresh for a Very Long Time

A Produce Whisperer's Speedier Way to Make Stock

A Handy Chart for How Long Fresh Produce Will Last

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F Is For Fruit

Apples

Store apples in the refrigerator's vegetable bin — some suggest wrapping each apple in newspaper to prevent one rotting apple from spoiling the brunch.

3 Storage Tips to Keep Apples Fresh for Much Longer

Avocado

Store avocados in a cool spot in the kitchen with plenty of air circulation. If they're at prime ripeness, but you're not eating them today, transfer them to the refrigerator to preserve that ripeness level for a couple days. For cut avocados, read this article for a couple ideas to prevent the inevitable browning.

How to Store an Avocado, So You Don't End Up With Brown Mush

Bananas

Buy bananas slightly underripe, store them at room temperature until they hit ideal ripeness, then transfer them to the refrigerator to preserve that ripeness level for a couple days.

Is This the Best Way to Store Bananas?

Berries

Store berries in a container lined with paper or cloth towels, with the lid slightly open. To extend their life, first wash berries in a solution of vinegar and water, then dry thoroughly and transfer to the container.

A Trick for Storing Berries to Keep 'Em Fresher, Longer

Citrus

Store citrus fruits (including lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges) in the refrigerator in a moist environment — some say to submerge them in a bowl of water; for those with less fridge real estate, store citrus in tightly sealed zip-top or silicone bags.

The Secret to Storing Lemons to Keep Them Fresher, Longer

Mangoes

Store mangoes in a cool spot in the kitchen with plenty of air circulation. If they're at prime ripeness, but you're not eating them today, transfer them to the refrigerator to preserve that ripeness level for a couple days.

Mangoes and the 3 Best Ways to Enjoy Them in the Winter

Need Even More Produce Advice?

For extra produce-storage tips, check out this article.

 

 


Rebecca Firkser

MORE FROM Rebecca Firkser


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