We’ve all been there. You go to use the asparagus you bought at the farmers’ market last week to make a stir-fry from your vegan meal plan and it’s totally mushy and brown. So are the bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini. Gross. Into the trash they go, and it’s vegan pizza for dinner – again!
While produce definitely doesn’t last forever, there are some ways you can extend the freshness of your favorite fruits and veggies. Imagine a world where cucumbers stay crisp and firm, tomatoes remain tender and juicy, and potatoes don’t grow eyes. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use all of the groceries you buy instead of discovering their rotting carcasses in your crisper drawer?
This fantasy can be your reality if you keep your fruits and veggies where they prefer to be stored. I know – it’s way easier to come home with your farmers’ market loot and unload everything in one place. Fridge space is at a premium, and shuffling everything around to accommodate picky peppers and selective spaghetti squash isn’t always possible. However, if you can try to stick to the guidelines below, we think you’ll see a huge improvement in how long your produce stays fresh.
Here it is, your ultimate cheat sheet to storing fruits and veggies for optimum freshness!
Store these on the counter
- Cucumber: Keep cucumbers out of the fridge and on your kitchen counter.
- Onion: Onions can stay on the counter, but keep them away from potatoes! Cut onions should go in the refrigerator.
- Tomato: Tomatoes like breathing room so don’t stack them on top of one another on your kitchen counter. Give them a couple of inches in between.
- Asparagus: Cut off the bottom inch of asparagus stalks and place them in a glass of water to keep these veggies fresh even longer.
- Basil: Do the same technique for basil as you do asparagus to keep these delicate herbs super fresh for days to come.
Here are the other fruits and veggies to keep on the counter:
Store these in the dark
- Potatoes: Keep potatoes in a cool, dry place. A kitchen cabinet works perfectly.
- Garlic: Garlic likes it dark, too. Store it in a paper bag to keep it fresh for weeks.
Here are the other fruits and veggies to keep in the dark:
Store these in the fridge
- Parsley and Cilantro: Cut off the bottom inch of the stems and place in a glass of water. They’ll keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.
- Vegetables such as bell peppers and broccoli like it humid, so keep them together in one drawer with the humidity control turned up.
- Fruits such as blueberries and grapes like it dry; so keep those together in a separate drawer at low humidity to keep them fresh longer.
Here are the other fruits and veggies to keep in the fridge:
- Green onion
- Mushrooms (store in a paper bag)
- Lima beans
- Leafy vegetables
- Brussels sprouts
- Summer squash
- Yellow squash
- Green beans
Ripen these on the counter, store in the fridge