Get Fresh with Fruits and Vegetables
Stretch your produce and your dollars by knowing how to store fresh fruits and vegetables.
Don’t wash, cut or peel until you’re ready to eat (except lettuce and greens). Always refrigerate cut or peeled produce. Fridge temperature should be at 40 degrees F or below.
The American Heart Association recommends 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables each per day.
Keep them apart:
- Fruits like apples, bananas and pears give off ethylene gas, which can make other produce ripen and rot faster.
- Store vegetables and fruits separately.
- Keep apples, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, pears, potatoes and watermelon away from other produce.
Pack away in a cool, dark place like your pantry or cellar:
- Onions, Garlic & Shallots
- Hard Squash (Winter, Acorn, Spaghetti, Butternut)
- Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes & Yams
Store in plastic bags with holes, in your produce drawer, unless noted:
- Apples & Pears
- Beets & Turnips – Remove greens and keep loose in the crisper drawer.
- Berries, Cherries and Grapes – Keep dry in covered containers or plastic bags.
- Broccoli & Cauliflower
- Carrots & Parsnips – Remove greens.
- Corn – Store inside their husks.
- Cucumbers, Eggplant & Peppers – Store on the upper shelf, which is the warmer part of the fridge.
- Fresh herbs – Except basil. Keep stems moist and wrap loosely in plastic.
- Green Beans
- Lettuce & leafy greens – Wash, spin or pat dry, wrap loosely in a dishtowel or paper towels and place in a plastic bag in vegetable drawer. Keep stems moist.
- Mushrooms – Keep dry and unwashed in store container or paper bag.
- Zucchini and summer/yellow squash
Store loose and away from sunlight, heat and moisture:
- Citrus fruit – Store lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit loose or in a mesh bag. Refrigerate for longer storage.
- Stone fruit – Ripen avocados, apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums in a paper bag, then move to the fridge where they’ll last a few more days.
Simple Cooking with Heart
For more tips on healthy eating, cooking and recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.
©2014 American Heart Association