Pack in the Nutrients: Tips for Refrigerating Produce

Proper storage of fruits and vegetables preserves their heart-healthy vitamins and antioxidants longer and saves money by reducing waste. Here?s how to get the most nutritional bang for each buck you spend on produce.

By Marsha McCulloch, M.S., R.D., L.D.


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Nutrient-Packed Produce
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Nutrient-Packed Produce

    Are you tossing more produce in the trash than you're eating each week? Try our tips for storing 15 fruits and veggies that Cleveland Clinic, a top-ranked hospital, considers among the best foods for heart health.

    Our tips help maintain the flavor, texture, and nutritional value longer-and avoid wasted produce (and wasted dollars).

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How to Store Salad Greens

    Refrigerate salad greens in a perforated* plastic bag with a paper towel (to absorb condensation) 3-7 days.

    *Purchase fresh produce bags with moisture vents or make your own by cutting six to eight small holes in a 1-gallon bag.

    Salad Recipes:

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How to Store Citrus Fruit

    Store citrus fruit at room temperature up to a week or in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

    Citrus Fruit Recipes:

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How to Store Melons

    Wash all melons before cutting, then store cut melons covered in the refrigerator. Watermelon chilled longer than 3 days loses flavor and its deep red color.

    Melon Recipes:

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How to Store Kiwifruit

    Ripen kiwifruit in a paper bag at room temperature until fruit gives to gentle pressure. Refrigerate ripe kiwifruit in a plastic bag (to retain moisture) 2-4 days.

    Kiwifruit Recipes:

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How to Store Asparagus

    Refrigerate asparagus up to 4 days upright in a container with an inch of water and a plastic bag loosely draped over the top to trap moisture.

    Asparagus Recipes:

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How to Store Berries

    Refrigerate berries in a vented plastic clamshell container 2-5 days.

    Tip: Fruits generally require lower humidity (and release more ethylene gas) than vegetables, so store in separate drawers, if possible.

    Berry Recipes:

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How to Store Potatoes

    Nonrefrigerated potatoes have the best flavor, but new (baby) potatoes are more perishable than mature potatoes, so refrigerate them if not used within 3 days.

    Potato Recipes:

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How to Store Papaya

    Ripen papaya at room temperature in a paper bag until skin turns from green to yellow-orange. Refrigerate ripe papaya in a plastic bag up to 3 days.

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How to Store Squash

    Place squash in plastic wrap (or a bag) and refrigerate 3-5 days.

    Tip: Paper towels help absorb excess moisture in crispers. Replace weekly.

    Squash Recipes:

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How to Store Bell Peppers

    Refrigerate bell peppers up to 1 week in plastic bags. Keep them away from ethylene-releasing fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and melons. Fruits that release ethylene will decrease the product quality and shelf life of foods stored around them, but ethylene is not harmful to humans.

    Bell Pepper Recipes:

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How to Store Broccoli

    Refrigerate broccoli in a perforated plastic bag up to 5 days.

    Broccoli Recipes:

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How to Store Peaches

    Ripen peaches at room temperature until fruit gives to gentle pressure. Refrigerate ripe peaches in a perforated plastic bag 3-5 days.

    Peach Recipes:

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How to Store Tomatoes

    For best flavor, store tomatoes at room temperature until ripe. Once cut, store covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

    Tomato Recipes:

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How to Store Carrots

    Refrigerate carrots 1-2 weeks in perforated plastic bag away from produce that releases ethylene gas.

    Carrot Recipes:

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