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How To Properly Store Produce


Hey friends…so I found this on Pinterest and thought I would share. I am going to be printing this off and putting it near my fridge since I get a Farm Fresh to You box every other week. Sometimes it goes bad so quickly and this was an awesome help in understand what to do better. This was orginally posted on The V Spot blog...it’s her comments that are below. There is also a free printable that will help you remember these tips that you can grab from her original site. Enjoy!

How to Store fresh Produce (view printable on original site) 
What’s the best way to store fresh produce?
Do you ever buy fresh fruits and vegetables, toss them into the produce drawer and forget about them?  Then a few days later you open the drawer only to discover that  it’s all spoiled?  (‘Fess up, because I know I’m not the only one….)

There’s a proper way to store fresh produce, and as I am about to launch into a new work-out routine and a healthier diet, I thought I would finally determine the proper ways to store it all.  I read up on it… I googled all over the place, and this is what I found.
Updated: In addition to researching this post, I tried many of these techniques myself and they worked great.

It kind of comes down to which fruits and vegetables give off the natural gas, ethelyne. 
Ethelyne can affect the other fruits and veggies that they are stored next to.  (That’s the premise of the Debbie Meyer Green Bags.)  You don’t need to buy special bags, but you do need to know which produce doesn’t play nicely with others.

Apples – Do not wash until just before eating, keep them sealed in the plastic produce bag, in the refrigerator. They give off a lot of ethelyne gas, so don’t store them next to anything else.
Avocados – Keep them at room temperature.  If you need one to ripen quickly, put it in a brown paper bag along with a banana.  If it is ripe and you need to slow the ripening process, put it in the fridge.

Bananas – They produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit.  Keep them away from other produce,   on the counter-top, away from other produce.  Once they are ripe you can stop the ripening process by putting them in the fridge, just be sure to put them in a sealed bag.  The skin will turn black, but the fruit will be fine.
Beans (snap, string or wax) – Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Do not wash until just before use.
Berries – You know when you buy berries and they look like they have a dusty layer one them…? That is called bloom, and it serves as a natural preservative.  Never wash berries until just before use.  Pick through them and throw away any berries that are bruised or molding.  Store loosely in shallow containers, cover with plastic and keep them in the refrigerator.
Broccoli & Cauliflower – These need to be kept in their wrapping/packaging and kept in the fridge.  Do not wash until just before using.

Cabbage – Keep in the fridge, in a plastic bag. Do not wash until just before using
Carrots – Whole carrots?  Wash them thoroughly.  If they have green tops, cut off all but an inch.  Wrap them in a damp paper towel, seal in a plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer.
“Baby” carrots? I just discovered that I should stop buying them… but if you still do, you can put them in a plastic container, covered in water.  Be sure to change the water every few days.  (Note: this may reduce the flavor of the “baby” carrot.)
Celery – Give it a rinse, loosely wrap it in a paper towel, then tightly wrap the entire stalk in aluminum foil and keep in the crisper.  It will keep fresh and crisp for weeks.  (I actually have had celery that I bought to make stuffing at Thanksgiving still be fresh and crunchy for Bloody Marys on New Year’s Day! Amazing!)

Cherries – Store in the fridge in a plastic bag.  Do not wash until just before eating.
Citrus – Since citrus fruits have thicker skin, they are easier to store.  They’ll stay fresh for about 2 weeks in the fridge, about a week on the counter.  It doesn’t matter if they are near other produce.

Corn – Husks on? Store loose and uncovered in the fridge.  Husks off?  Wrap in foil and store in the crisper drawer. It will keep for 1 to 2 days.
Cucumber – Store in plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not wash until just before use.
Eggplant – Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Garlic – Store at room temperature. Whole heads will last 3 to 5 weeks, but once cloves are separated, they will last about 10 days.

Grapes – Do not wash until just before eating, as they also have a bloom.  Store them in the fridge, in the plastic bags they come in, or poke holes in a plastic bag to allow for air circulation.  They say they should last up to 2 weeks.  (I have never seen them last longer than a week before getting shriveled up and gross…)
Jalapeno Peppers – Store in plastic bag, in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Kiwi Fruit – store at room temperature until ripe, then cover with plastic and refrigerate.  Will keep for about a week.
Lettuces, Leafy Greens & Spinach – Wash, wrap loosely in paper-towels, then bag it… paper towel and all.
Melons – Store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate. They will keep for about a week.
Mushrooms – Do not wash until just before using.  Pre-sliced? Store in the refrigerator in their original packaging. They will last for about a week. Whole?  Store loosely in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator
Onions – Store in a cool, dry place that has good air circulation.  (Store in the fridge if you don’t have such a place.) They will keep for 2 to 3 months.  DO NOT STORE WITH POTATOES.  (If next to each other they spoil faster.  Who knew?)

Pears – If they aren’t ripe, store them at room temperature.  Once they ripen, place them in a plastic bag and store them in the fridge.  They will keep for about a week.
Peaches, Plums, Nectarines & Apricots – Store at room temperature until ripe, then store in plastic bags in the refrigerator until ready to eat.  They will keep from 3 to 5 days.  Do not wash until ready to eat.
Pineapple – Store at room temperature until ripe, then store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Potatoes – Store in a cool, dry, dark place that has good air circulation. They will keep for 2 to 3 months.  DO NOT STORE WITH ONIONS.  (If next to each other they spoil faster.  Who knew?)  Sweet Potatoes keep at room temperature for a week or in a cool dark place for about a month.

Tomatoes – Store them in a cool, dry place.  Don’t store them in plastic bags as the trapped ethylene will make them ripen more quickly. Once ripe, you can put them in the fridge to slow the ripening process, but let them come to room temperature before using them.

Zucchini – Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  Do not wash until just before using.

Be sure to check out my posts on keeping herbs fresh  and on how to chop and freeze fresh herbs for later use.

Here’s printable to tape inside your pantry or put of your fridge:
How to Store Producehttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/79282813/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-u0ogemx1pysmhdtuxjs

Did I miss anything?  Do you have any great tips to share?  Leave them in the comments and let me know.
Happy eating!

****UPDATED 2/9/12  This comment from a reader, regarding Asparagus:
Asparagus is actually something that can last for a couple weeks if stored properly (thanks Alton Brown and Good Eats). When you get them home, cut off about half an inch on the ends. Put enough water in the bottom of a jar or wide drinking glass to cover the bottoms about 3/4″ to 1″ (you don’t want half the stalk to sit in water). Put a ziploc baggie loosely down over the top of the stalks to keep some of the moisture around them. Store in the fridge! It’s that easy. When I learned this, I no longer hesitated in picking up asparagus whenever I was at the grocery store. I have some now in my fridge that has lasted about two weeks already.

Check the bottom of the blog to see where I link this project. Also linking here:

Home Stories A2Z

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Cookie Lee Party!


I’m writing with a little sadness in my heart because as much fun as my party was yesterday, I have no pictures to prove just how amazingly lovely my table turned out. All that planning…pshhh…out the window…

No worries…I’ll just have to use some amazing writing to paint a picture for you….

The Menu

  • Fruit Pizza Bar
  • Veggie Pizza
  • Chocolate Fondue
  • Miscellaneous little bites

The Decor

Went for a valentines theme courtesy of the 99 Cents store. Red/White/Pink/Purple/Orange. Had a red table cloth with a few purchased sturdy plastic placemats for the three main dishes…bought a little plastic bucket for the plates, napkins, cups and silverware…had pink and red paper cups…white plastic bowls from the miscellaneous nibblies…it was great.

The Party Purpose

I’m a Cookie Lee consultant and I decided to have a clearance sale for all my Cookie Lee jewelry I’ve had in my trays for awhile. Everything was 50% off which meant a lot of purchases were made! Here’s my personal pitch…if you would like to check out the NEW Cookie Lee catalog that came out, check out my website: http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/jessicaabsher. If you decide to make a purchase and tell me that you found the link here on my blog, I’ll give you 25% off any item in the catalog! You have to look pretty when you cook right?!? Sorry guys…you can purchase something for the beautiful cooks in your life!

The Menu Inspiration

I sort of based my spread off the Fruit Pizza Bar seen below. I found this on Pinterest and thought it had to be one of the most clever and cheap ideas I had seen in awhile. I bit labor intensive if you decide to make your own sugar cookies (which I did) but still very cheap and pretty no matter how you do it.

My bestest friend Jamie came over to help me get things put together and it’s a good thing she did since we had a pink lemonade emergency clean-up process that required all-hands-on-deck. I learned that if you place your pretty glass beverage dispenser with a spigot in the refrigerator with the spigot facing out, your door may actually help you open it up when you go to close it. Which means sticky pink lemonade all over your poor clean refrigerator…and the floor. The sad part of this story is that the incident was a “fool me once” scenario..mean I was the genius that earned and “shame on me” when I put the dispenser back in the fridge, forgetting to turn it so this didn’t happen again. Needless to say Jamie and a friend Brittany kept me from completely unraveling as they helped me mop it up. Our shoes and feet were sticking to the floor with the lovely accompanied noise, but we go everything ready to go on time.

Back to the menu…the fruit pizza was one of the stars but the others were the chocolate fondue and veggie pizza. You’ve all probably had a veggie pizza like this one from Pillsbury.  The crust is a cylinder of crescent roll dough, the spread is cream cheese, sour cream, dill, and garlic powder, and the toppings are your choice of chopped veggies. This recipe is one that my grandmother use to make all the time when we were younger, but we just recently added it to our appetizer archive and it is one we make a lot for get togethers with family.

The last thing I made was a chocolate fondue. When looking for a recipe I was hunting for something simple that didn’t involve a lot of ingredients. I found a recipe that called for 3 ingredients: chocolate, heavy cream, and brandy (Cognac and liqueur are also mentioned as options). I had a pack of chocolate chips that I used and bought a very small thing of heavy cream which gave me a cup of cream. The recipe says to just use 8 oz of chocolate and 3/4 cups of cream, but I decided to just the full 12 oz package of chocolate and 1 cup of cream so I didn’t have to measure and it turned out just fine…wasn’t too thick…. so I recommend doing the same for the ease of it. You finish it off with a tablespoon of brandy and stir it in before transferring it to your bowl or fondue pot. My dippers were pretzels, strawberries, marshmallows, nilla wafers and tangerines. It was a big hit and couldn’t have been an easier dessert.

These were my easy three table items, but then I decided to add a few extra things for a fun touch. I had chocolate covered toffee pieces and yogurt covered raisins that I got from Fresh and Easy that I placed in martini glasses and also made some candied almonds and pecans because I had them on hand and figured why not! I don’t know if you’ve had those warm nuts sold in touristy destinations or bakeries that they serve in a cone that you open up and can’t help but demolish in less then 5 min! I wanted to make those! I found this recipe and thought it would be  a fun addition to the table..which is true…they were! I would encourage you to try this with your favorite nut since it’s easy and would likely work the same not matter which one you did. A TIP:  I had to keep mine in longer because they were to sticky after the time they gave in the recipe. I read a review on the website that they left them in for 45 min until they had the crunch they were looking for. So keep that in mind, but if you’re like me and worried about burning or over cooking them keep an eye on them.

So that was my menu and it kills me that I didn’t take any pictures to share, but these ones are better then any I would shoot with my phone camera. A special thanks to Jamie for bringing some chips and yummy dip to add to the table. It was an awesome addition to cut the sweets!

Hope you give me your thoughts and feedback on these recipes or other like them…what do you do for parties that is easy and quick that you can share with me?!

Updates: I bought a new camera!! It’s on it’s way…stuck in NJ last I saw….but there are hopefully going to be much prettier pictures coming soon. Can’t wait to use it on new recipes.

P.S. I made my first pizza on my stone with smoked mozzarella…yum. Didn’t take pictures but would like to practice the dough a few more times since I botched up my first batch…more to share about that later…but I’ll use my new camera to document that process next time. Also, I’ve asked my older sister, Elizabeth, to be a guest writer on here so hopefully she’ll share some of her fun recipes with you all soon.

Happy cooking all!