written by Meghan Perkins, registered dietitian

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: 

Fruit Bowl
  • Bananas*
  • Citrus fruit (oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits)
  • Garlic
  • Mangoes*
  • Melons*
  • Onions*
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes*
  • Winter squash like acorn and butternut squash

Ripen at Room Temperature, then Refrigerate:

  • Avocados*
  • Kiwi*
  • Nectarines*
  • Peaches*
  • Pears*
  • Plums*

Refrigerate Immediately

Refrigerator

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)*
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels spourts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Grapes
  • Green Beans
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Zucchini

*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!