Produce Storage 101: Pantry or Fridge?

Full paper bag of different fruits and vegetables on a white wooden background.
Photo: Thinkstock/samael334

The first step toward more healthful eating is food choice. Fruits and veggies are always a great place to start. But what happens when that food isn’t stored properly and needs to be thrown away? Improper produce storage can lead to unnecessary food waste and a waste of money. Start storing your produce correctly and stop food waste with these tips. Produce Storage 101: Pantry or Fridge? -

For the Counter

  • Tomatoes. If put in the fridge can develop a mealy texture and destroy the flavor.
  • Garlic. Can begin to sprout in the fridge and become rubbery and moldy.
  • Onions. The moisture will eventually turn them soft and moldy.
  • Winter squash. Can become mushy and lose flavor in the refrigerator.
  • Avocados, Peaches and Watermelons. Refrigeration will prevent ripening.
  • Bananas. Cold will stop the ripening process and will turn the peel brown or black.

 For the Fridge

  • Kiwi
  • Cucumber
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is important to keep climacteric — ethylene gas-producing fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches and blueberries — and non-climacteric fruits, such as citrus, strawberries, melons and pineapples, separate. Keeping these foods too close together can over-ripen non-climacteric fruits and lead to faster spoilage.

Following these simple tips will help extend the life of your produce and stretch your food dollars.

Brittany Stouffer
Brittany Stouffer is a dietetic intern at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. She graduated from West Chester University with a bachelor’s in nutrition/dietetics. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys fitness, exploring the outdoors and trying tasty new recipes.