How to Properly Store Fruits and Vegetables

Produce Market, Airline Dr., Houston, Texas 0811091717

This month’s theme belongs to that infamous word, temporary.  While everyone on the site is posting about how to deal this word within the military community, I would like to take the time to discuss how to maneuver around this word in the food world, particularly when it comes to produce.

We hear it on the news everyday.  It’s in the magazines we read and all over social media.  If you want to live a healthier lifestyle and lose those extra 10 pounds, incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is the way to go. We all know they help to ward off cancer and other life threatening diseases and that the benefits of consuming them far outweigh the risks.

As a home cook and a mother of two very picky children, fusing fruits and veggies into our daily diets has been a tricky act to carry on.  One week my daughter may crave blueberries, the next week she wants nothing to do with them.  Thus, leaving us with half a pint of blueberries sitting in the refrigerator until it reaches it’s expiration date.  Their time in our house is temporary.  Which leads me to this question, how can we properly store fruits and vegetables so they can have a longer shelf life?

Certain fruits and vegetables can produce an odorless and colorless gas called ethylene that can speed up the ripening process.  Separating the foods that produce the ethylene from the ones that are sensitive to the gas is your first step in achieving proper storage.

As your resident food expert, I have compiled a cheat sheet of sorts to aide in proper storage.  Print this list out, pin it to your refrigerator, and save an apple or two in the process 😉

Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction

Refrigerate these ethylene foods:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs
  • Honeydew

Ethylene foods that do not require refrigeration:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas, unripe
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes

Foods that need to stay away from ethylene:

  • Bananas, ripe
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce and other leafy greens
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon

It also noted that you can freeze certain fruits as well.  For strawberries, chop them up, place them on a cookie sheet, and place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 3 hours. This is what is known as flash freezing.  Once frozen, place in a gallon sized ziplock bag and label with the date.  The strawberries will keep for a few months.

Have some bananas that are going ripe and don’t feel like baking?  Why not peel them, place them in a ziplock bag, and freeze them?  They will keep for a few months also.

How do you like to store your fresh vegetables and fruit?


  1. Good to know with strawberries about freezing them! Especially since it is strawberry season and they are so cheap in the store right now!

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