Wellness Club — How to Keep Your Produce Fresh for Longer

Wellness Club — How to Keep Your Produce Fresh for Longer
Abingdon, VA. - Friday, May 1, 2020.

Written by: Grace Hawkins, University of Tennessee Graduate Student and Dietetic Intern

During this time at home, finding ways to extend the life of the fresh produce you have is essential. Storing fresh produce properly can help you keep your house stocked with fresh foods longer. Follow these tips to store your produce for lasting freshness and flavor!

Leafy Greens and Fresh Herbs
Rinse in a bowl of cool water to remove residue or dirt. Spin the produce in a salad spinner or shake to remove most of the water. Lay them on a clean towel to let water drip off. Store the greens and herbs wrapped in damp paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Cold-Stored Produce
This method is best for vegetables like carrots, radishes, and other sturdy vegetables. Not sure if the produce should be kept in the refrigerator? If it was refrigerated at the grocery store, it most likely goes in your refrigerator! Rinse under cool water and scrub the surface of the vegetables. Wrap the produce in damp paper towels and store in a (reusable) plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Some fruits are best stored in the refrigerator, but they shouldn’t be washed until ready to eat. Berries should be laid out on a paper towel-lined tray or plate and covered plastic wrap. Grapes can be kept in the plastic bag they came in. Apples are tricky because as they ripen, they can also ripen other produce stored around them, so store apples separately in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Be sure to wash these fruits right before eating!

Warm-Stored Produce
Store squashes and root vegetables like potatoes in a cool and dark place. This method works for garlic, onions, and rutabaga. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature along with many whole fruits. Bananas, citruses, and melons should all be kept at room temperature. Once you cut into these fruits, it’s best to store them airtight in the refrigerator.

These guidelines will help you to keep your produce fresher for longer. Continuing to eat a colorful range of produce ensures you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need to stay happy and healthy.