Store fresh produce properly to avoid waste

To make the best use of your food dollar, handle fresh produce so it doesn’t go bad and makes it to the dinner table! Knowing how long fresh fruits and vegetables last and how to store them for maximum shelf life can help reduce waste according to Patricia Steiner, ISU Extension and Outreach Nutrition and Health Specialist.

Many fruits and vegetables need to be stored in the refrigerator (such as berries, green beans, leafy veggies). Place them in separate, perforated plastic bags and use within a few days for maximum flavor and freshness. Store vegetables and fruits in different drawers in the refrigerator to minimize the detrimental effects of ethylene produced by the fruits on the vegetables. 

Some fruits (kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums) need to ripen on the counter first, then be refrigerated. To prevent moisture loss, store fruits and vegetables separately in a paper bag, perforated plastic bag, or ripening bowl on the counter away from sunlight. Refrigerate after ripening.

Other fruits and vegetables should be stored at room temperature because refrigeration can cause cold damage or prevent them from ripening to good flavor and texture. Keep away from direct sunlight. Room temperature storage is best for foods such as bananas, citrus fruits, melons, pineapple, tomatoes, onions, potatoes.

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