Do you struggle with your produce spoiling before you have a chance to eat it? There’s a lot of controversies and misguided information when it comes to the proper storage of fruit, and how to keep fruit fresh. Most fruits shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator until they’re ripe; however, this doesn’t mean you can’t put it in there when you get home from the store. How you store your fruit is a personal choice, but the guidelines below are to help maintain the freshness of your fruit.
The refrigerator is not the end-all-be-all of solutions for maintaining a longer shelf-life for fruit. In fact, the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process and the fruit will result in the loss of taste and texture. Once ripened, most fruit will maintain its freshness between 2 to 5 days.
I enjoy my peaches and nectarines rock-hard. Due to this, I buy them when they’re not ripe and I store them in the fridge, because I know they’re not going to soften up. Sure, that maybe a tad selfish on my part because I don’t like sharing my fruit. That’s right, I’m a selfish fruit eater!
Just because you like to store your fruit in the refrigerator and guidelines state they shouldn’t be refrigerated, doesn’t mean the produce police are going to track you down and arrest you.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Our surveillance camera’s caught you storing your lemons in the crisper bin. We’re gonna have to take you down to the station for some questioning”.
The guidelines below are based on fruit that has not reached its optimal ripeness level.
Apples – The best way to store apples is to place them loosely in your crisper drawer in the refrigerator. If you buy bagged apples, remove them from the bag before putting them in the fridge only if the bag doesn’t contain holes. If there are holes in the bag, the apples should be fine. If you’re planning on storing your apples loosely, place them in a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Make sure to keep apples by themselves, as they release ethylene gas which will cause other fruits and vegetables to spoil quicker. The ideal temperature to store apples would be between 30°F to 35°F. Proper storage will help apples maintain their freshness for about 8 weeks.
Apricots – Apricots are an interesting fruit. Refrigeration is needed to prevent ripe apricots from spoiling. When you buy unripened apricots, it’s best to leave them outside on the kitchen counter for 2 to 3 days. You can also store them in a paper bag during that time. At that point, they should be ready to be refrigerated. Apricots should either be placed loosely in a plastic bag or bowl. This will help maintain their freshness for about 5 days.
Bananas – Bananas are best stored at room temperature. Bananas do go bad relatively quickly, so it’s best to eat them once they ripen up. If you’re not planning on eating them quickly, you’ll want to buy them when they’re green. Avoid putting bananas in the refrigerator as it will speed up the spoiling process. Once ripe, bananas will maintain their freshness for 2 to 3 days.
Berries – (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) are best stored refrigerated in the plastic clamshell or cardboard container you purchase them in. Berries typically carry mold spores, and they require added ventilation to allow the moisture to dissipate. Berries will keep fresher longer if they’re placed in the crisper drawer, as they love low-humidity. Never wash the berries before placing them in the refrigerator. This will help maintain their freshness for 2 to 3 days.
Cantaloupe – The whole cantaloupe should be left at room temperature until it’s ripe. If you would like your cantaloupe chilled before eating, place it in the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes prior to eating. Once cut, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This will help maintain their freshness for 2 to 3 days.
Cherries – Cherries will remain fresher longer when stored in the refrigerator. Leaving them at room temperature will cause them to spoil rapidly. Store cherries in a plastic zipper bag with a piece of clean paper towel. The paper towel will absorb the extra moisture allowing the cherries to remain crisp. This will help maintain their freshness for 3 to 5 days.
Figs – Figs will get moldy very quickly if they’re not eaten quickly. Although you can keep figs at room temperature, they’ll mold faster sitting on the counter. Figs should be stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in a shallow bowl, covered in plastic wrap. This will help maintain their freshness for 2 to 3 days.
Grapefruits & Oranges – Grapefruits and oranges should remain at room temperature. If you enjoy them cold, place them in the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before eating. Storing grapefruits and oranges in the refrigerator for prolonged amount of time, may cause them to crystalize. Keep your grapefruits and oranges in a mesh produce bag. This will help maintain their freshness for 7 days.
Grapes – Grapes should always be stored in the refrigerator. If purchased in a plastic bag, remove from the bag and place it in a bowl on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Grapes must have plenty of air to circulate around them. Keep them the stems and don’t wash the grapes before storing them in the refrigerator. This will help maintain their freshness for 2 to 4 days.
Kiwi – Kiwi should never be stored in the refrigerator. You’ll want to keep your Kiwi away from apples or banana’s as it will cause them to spoil faster. Kiwi bruise easily and it’s best to store them on a plate or bowl in a single layer. This will help maintain their freshness for 7 days.
Lemons & Limes – Lemons & limes should never be refrigerated as they’re susceptible to chilling injury. Lemons & limes should always be washed before cutting to avoid transferring bacteria on the skin to the inside. Lemons & limes are best stored at room temperature. This will help maintain freshness for 1 to 3 months.
Mangos – Mangos should never be refrigerated until after they’ve ripened. Placing them in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process. Whole ripe mangos can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Once peeled and cubed, place in an airtight container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This will help maintain freshness for 3 to 4 days.
Nectarines & Peaches – Both nectarines and peaches should be stored at room temperature until they’ve ripened. If you’re not planning on eating your ripe peaches and nectarines within the next day, placing them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag will stifle the ripening process; however, it will also start to draw the moisture out of the fruit, making it mealy (this is why your peaches get wrinkled). This will help maintain freshness for 3 to 4 days.
Papayas – Papayas should remain at room temperature. Once they ripen they should be eaten with 1 to 2 days. Papaya’s shelf life is also determined by how they were picked, how they were handled before reaching your local grocery store. Cut papaya should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If kept refrigerated more than 1 day it will start to show signs of spoiling. This will help maintain freshness for 1 to 2 days.
Plums – Plums should not be refrigerated until they’re fully ripened. The longer the plum is left at room temperature, the juicier it will become. Once fully ripe, and you don’t have plans to eat them in a day or two, you can place your plums in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer. This will help maintain freshness for 3 to 5 days.
Pineapple – Pineapples are one of those fruits, like the mango that doesn’t last very long before spoiling. A whole pineapple will stay fresh at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Once cut, place it in the refrigerator and store it in an airtight container. This will help maintain freshness for 3 to 4 days. If your pineapple starts to smell like vinegar, throw it out.
Pomegranates – Pomegranates are amazing, as they’re one of the few fruits that don’t spoil quickly. Pomegranates can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The best part is, uncut, they can last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
Tomatoes – Technically tomatoes are considered a fruit, but the rest of us think of them as vegetables. There seems to be some controversy over the proper storage of tomatoes. Due to the different types of tomatoes and the thickness of the skin, some can tolerate a cold environment where-as others can’t. The only thing both camps agree on is tomatoes should be stored stem side down. If you’ll be storing them in the refrigerator they should retain their freshness for 3 to 5 days. If you’re going leave them out on the counter, a very ripe tomato should retain its freshness for 1 to 2 days.
What’s you number one struggle when it omes to keeping your fruits fresh? Share in a comment.
Until we meet again,
P.S. If you found value in this article, then you’ll want to read The Best Way To Help Vegetables Maintain Their Freshness