How To Store Fruit and Vegetables Correctly

How many times have you had to throw out food because it ripens – then rots – faster than you can eat it? What a financial waste, right? Do you know how to store fruits and vegetables correctly? Storing your food properly can make all the difference in longevity, nutrition and the help you reduce the amount of food you waste.

How much food do Americans waste a year? Answer: $160 million worth. That means up to 40% of food in the United States was never eaten. That’s crazy right! 

So, what can you do? Learning how to store fruit and vegetables properly is the first step.


Never Enough Time

So what causes your food to ripen so fast? There are a few factors. First, let’s talk gas, ethylene gas to be specific. Ethylene is a natural gas that’s released from some fruits and vegetables and is responsible for the ripening process. 

This natural process can be used to our advantage. If you have an avocado that needs ripened quickly, seal it in a paper bag and let mother nature do its thing. However, too much can cause food to spoil quickly. 

Other factors that play an important role are things such as temperature, how and when you wash a fruits or vegetables, and how and where they are stored. 

lady standing with gorgeous fresh produce in a shopping basket

When to Wash Your Fruit & Vegetables

Excess moisture is the enemy of most fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind, additional moisture will encourage surface breakdown and bacterial growth. This means some fruits and vegetables should only be wash them right before eating. Before you wash, make sure you’re checking how and when to wash your produce to help store your fruits and vegetables correctly.

bright red tomatoes in a strainer ready to be stored correctly

This doesn’t mean you should avoid washing your produce. Organic or not, residual pesticides and bacterial growth can occur on the surface of your fruits and vegetables you simply can not see. Some produce you can wish right away then store, others you should avoid washing until you’re ready to eat. 

Personally, I am a huge fan of soaking fruits and vegetables to help remove what I can before I eat them. Don’t worry, a simple vinegar rinse of 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar and let soak for 15-20 minutes will do the trick. Studies have shown a simple vinegar rinse will reduce pesticide residue but will not eliminate it completely, but it will eliminate any surface bacteria which is beneficial. Every little bit helps, and it makes me feel better knowing I’m doing the best I can to eliminate possible toxins.

How to Store Fruits & Vegetables

Half the battle in reducing food waste is knowing where and how to store fruit and vegetables. I’ll tell you a secret, it goes beyond the crisper in the refrigerator. 

Knowing which foods emit high levels of ethylene is a good start. Apples, avocados, stone fruits, pears, bananas, and tomatoes are some of the most prevalent gas-emitting culprits. They can be friends or foes to your other produce. Your dark leafy greens are the most susceptible to their gas emitting partners. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Another duo that are often stored together are onions and potatoes. However, onions will share their overpowering fragrance with their neighbors. Also, when stored with potatoes they will encourage their neighbors to sprout and wilt quickly, so they should be stored alone. 

But how does one remember ALL the proper ways to store their produce to reduce waste? The honest answer is you won’t. With that said, I’m here to help. Below, I have a free printable chart just for you. You can print it out and use as a reference anytime you need it. You’ll never have to guess how to store fruit and vegetables correctly ever again!


Now you know some of the basics, it’s important to remember every fruit and vegetable has different needs when storing. Despite where you find them in to produce section, many fruits and vegetables have specific needs when storing to encourage longevity. 

Again, it’s not easy to remember what produce needs what. To help you, make sure you print off your own free chart to reference. I keep a copy on my own refrigerator to make sure I’m optimizing the life of my produce. Truthfully, it’s pretty handy to reference, especially those items I don’t frequently purchase. 

a pile of ripe blueberries ready to be store correctly

Click the link below and download your own copy!

If you are already a subscriber, you can access my free library anytime, just click the printable library link found at the bottom of all of my emails. Your password is located in the email as well.

I hope you find this reference super useful in your own home. Rich and I have noticed we are wasting less food and that alone makes us feel like we’re doing something right. Also, since we’re wasting less, we’re saving money too. Who doesn’t love a little extra cash? Next time you bring home your groceries, make sure you’re checking the chart and storing them correctly.

Also, you know I love to interact with you readers! Please comment below if you have any of your own tips and tricks for prolonging your fruits and vegetables shelf life. I’d love to see what you guys do in your own home and sharing is caring!


Till next time. 




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