Texas Living

Refrigerate Your Produce Right

By M. Elise Giller 10.20.15

The bounty of fall beckoned at the grocery store, and now you’re up to your ears with enough fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs for the next couple of weeks. Not to worry: There’s a way to store all that produce so it lasts longer while still tasting fresh so you save money (bonus!).

Store vegetables in the refrigerator in bags with a few holes for breathing room, and pack them loosely together in the fridge. Some vegetables, such as leafy greens, do well wrapped in a damp paper towel before being placed in a plastic bag.

Refrigerate fruit like apples, grapes, and citrus to lengthen their shelf life, but keep avocados, bananas, peaches, and tomatoes out of the fridge to extend theirs. (Once ripe, put avocados in the fridge.) Berries are probably the trickiest fruit: Cook’s Illustrated suggests washing them in a vinegar bath (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water), spinning them dry in a salad spinner, and storing them in a sealable container lined with paper towels. Be sure to leave the lid open a bit so moisture can escape.

Treat fresh herbs like mini bouquets of flowers: Place the ends in a glass of water and keep them in the fridge, covering them with a plastic bag. Snip a stalk or two as you need it.

But if some of your food ends up a few days past its prime, don’t despair. Use brown bananas and overripe fruit in smoothies or baked goods, or make your own jams and jellies. Throw slightly older vegetables in a soup, or puree produce like tomatoes and carrots to make your very own pasta sauce.

Need ideas for eating all that fresh produce? Check out our recipe archive.