Texas Living

How to Store Fresh Produce

By Katie Stroh 4.10.23

There’s nothing better than bringing home a few bags of fresh produce from the grocery store or farmers market, especially in the spring and summer months when many fruits and veggies are at their peak.

Unfortunately, fresh produce often quickly spoils, wasting money and food. But luckily, lush leafy greens, juicy berries, and snappy root veggies can all be kept in the pantry or fridge for days or even weeks at a time if you know how to store fresh produce properly.

While, of course, plenty of produce keeps best in the refrigerator, other kinds — such as onions, potatoes, and bananas — are best left at room temperature.

Here are some expert tips for making your beautiful seasonal produce last until you’re ready to use it.

Prep Your Produce First

While it may be tempting to put your fresh produce away immediately after bringing it home, it can be a good idea to immediately wash and prep your produce before storing it. Having already washed and chopped veggies on hand in your fridge makes them that much easier to reach for, so they’ll be less likely to languish away in the fridge until they’re shriveled and limp.

Now, let’s break down the most common produce and exactly how to store them to keep them at peak flavor and texture as long as possible.

Apples and Bananas

Certain fruits, including apples and bananas, produce ethylene gas, which can speed up ripening and spoiling in other veggies — including cabbage, potatoes, and onions. These fruits should be kept separately in order to preserve the freshness of the rest of your produce.

Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, and Winter Squash

These types of produce shouldn’t be refrigerated — instead, store them in a cool, dark place with plenty of air circulation. That means removing them from any plastic or paper bags you may have brought them home in and keeping them separate from ethylene-producing foods like bananas.

Other Root Veggies

Other tubers like carrots, parsnips, ginger, and rutabagas will all last for a few weeks in your fridge’s crisper drawer without a plastic bag. Remove any leafy green tops before you store them in the refrigerator.

Onions, Shallots, and Garlic

Like potatoes, alliums like onions, shallots, and garlic should be stored at room temp, but keep them separate from your other room temperature produce, like potatoes and bananas.


Hardy, crunchy cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts all should keep for a week or two in the fridge. Plastic containers, bags, or glass/silicone food containers can actually help keep these veggies fresh for longer.

Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, escarole, and other leafy greens should be refrigerated in a zip-top plastic or silicone storage bag with a piece of paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Water can cause greens to rot faster in the fridge, so if you do choose to wash them before storage, be sure to dry them extremely well with a clean kitchen towel or salad spinner.

Fresh Fruit

Most fresh fruit, like grapes and berries, keep best in the fridge. Apples and ripe pears also taste best from the fridge, where the cold keeps them from getting mealy and soft. (Pears can ripen at room temp before they’re ready for the fridge.) Refrigerate your fruit in a plastic bag in a designated fruit crisper drawer if you have one. Tropical fruit like mangoes and bananas ripen best at room temperature, so they can be displayed out on the counter or stored in the pantry.

Citrus Fruit

Unlike other fruits, citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruit can be kept at room temperature for one to two weeks, or they can be stored in the fridge, where they may last longer than two weeks.

While you’re getting your produce prep in order, why not check out these convenient kitchen storage hacks that will help make meal time a breeze.

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