March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “go further with food”. One key to making your food go further- keep it fresh, so you can reduce your food waste!
Storing your produce in the right place will keep it fresh longer, and help you avoid throwing things away because they’ve gone bad. In general, a good rule of thumb is to store food in the same way you bought it at the grocery store. For example, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions aren’t refrigerated at the store- so you don’t need to refrigerate them at home. However, some things tend to do better if they’re kept cool after they’ve ripened. So here’s my definitive list of where to store your fruits and veggies:
Store at Room Temperature:
- Citrus fruit (oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits)
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Winter squash like acorn and butternut squash
Ripen at Room Temperature, then Refrigerate:
Don’t wash produce before putting it in the fridge- it will make it go soft or moldy more quickly.
- Apples (you can store these on the counter, but they’ll last longer in the fridge)*
- Brussels spourts
- Green Beans
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
- Summer squash
- Sweet corn
*These foods emit gases that cause the produce around them to ripen more quickly. Keep them separate from other food (don’t store them next to other items in a fruit bowl or refrigerator drawer) to keep everything fresh for longer!
Meghan Perkins is Project Angel Heart’s registered dietitian. After a semester studying baking and pastry arts at culinary school, Meghan quickly found her passion for clinical nutrition and transferred to the University of Northern Colorado to earn her bachelor’s degree in dietetics. Meghan has worked in clinical and private practice settings, educating patients about how their food choices impact their health with an emphasis on CKD, diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease, and weight management. In her free time, Meghan enjoys exploring Denver by bike with her husband, trying new coffee and tea shops, hiking in Crested Butte, and relaxing with her dog Barney.