Just like vegetables, each type of fruit has unique requirements to maintain its’ freshness. Follow these tips for properly storing fruit and enjoy your harvested, or store-bought, produce longer.
A. Fruit to Keep in the Refrigerator
Store apples in a refrigerator for the short term. It helps to have a fruit drawer and a damp paper towel nearby to increase humidity.
Never leave apples in a bowl on the counter if you want them to keep. Apples ripen about 4 times quicker at 50°F than at 32°F and become overripe very quickly at 70°F.
Store apples in plastic bags placed in boxes at a temperature of 32°F. Apples keep well for about 6 months at temperatures between freezing and 45°F. If you don’t have a root cellar, a double cardboard box in a cool mudroom or cellar can approximate the conditions. Remember to give apples an occasional change of air.
Apple cider may be frozen after first pouring off a small amount for expansion.
Berries – Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries
Never rinse before storing. It washes off the thin, protective epidermal layer. Berries are highly perishable and don’t store for long.
If you must store them, place on a paper towel in a tightly-covered container and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Wash right before eating.
If you’d like to store them for longer, make berry jam or freeze the berries.
Citrus – Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemons
Citruses such as oranges, lemons, clementines and grapefruit should definitely be stored in the fridge, not in a pretty fruit bowl. Lemons and limes will last up to four times longer! Put in a perforated bag or the produce drawer.
Grapes will keep for 2 to 3 weeks when kept in a perforated plastic bag (like the kind they’re typically bought in) in the refrigerator.
Unripe pears can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. In order to let them ripen and develop a better flavor and texture, move them out of the fridge a few days before you plan to eat them. Keep them in a paper bag or perforated plastic bag on the counter.
Generally speaking, melons can be kept outside of the fridge if they have not yet been cut into. Once they’ve been sliced, store them in the refrigerator.
- Muskmelons – Cantaloupe, Honeydew: Muskmelons can be stored whole in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. Wash them before storage to clean off any debris or bacteria, but let their rind dry before moving them to the fridge. Outside of the refrigerator, they can be kept in a cool part of the kitchen for a week or so.
- Watermelons: Watermelons can be kept at room temperature for about a week. If possible, store them in temps between 50° and 60°F, which will extend their shelf life by another week or two. Once you’ve cut into the melon, store it in the refrigerator.
Stone Fruit – Peaches, Cherries, Nectarines, Apricots, Plums
Store stone fruit in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator. In cold, humid conditions, they’ll keep for 1 to 2 weeks. Be sure to check for blemishes or soft spots regularly, as moisture can lead to rot.
B. Fruit to Keep Out of the Refrigerator
Tropical Fruit – Bananas, Avocado, Pineapple
Most tropical fruits do not keep their true flavor nor texture in the refrigerator or the cold. (They are tropical, after all!) If possible, store bananas, avocados and pineapples outside the fridge at room temperature.
Note that bananas can cause nearby fruits to ripen more quickly, so you may or may not want the same fruit basket to have bananas and avocados! Once tropical fruit is cut open, store in fridge in a container or baggie.
Information courtesy of Almanac.com