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How to Store Fresh Fruit

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The toughest thing about fresh fruit is keeping it fresh. Making a mixed fruit bowl to eat for breakfast on a summer morning is a favorite of mine, but keeping it around the house is a delicate balance. If you leave it on the counter for too long, you end up with the nightmare that is a fruit fly infestation. You can’t just throw everything in the fridge, because that will quickly ruin certain fruits. I know some people sacrifice the opportunity to eat healthy for convenience, but I promise – buying fruit and doing a little legwork to keep it fresh is totally worth it.

Since I sometimes struggle with proper fruit storage myself, I wanted to give you a list of how I store certain fruits for reference. Let’s dive in!

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Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and keeping these in the refrigerator drawer (unwrapped, on a low humidity setting) will keep the mushiness away. Make sure they’re in there alone though – they give off a good amount of ethylene gas and will spoil items around them.

Apricots

Store in a sealed plastic bag on a shelf in the fridge.

Avocados

These just keep ripening, making it tricky to pick the right time to use them. I like to keep mine in a bowl in the coolest corner of my kitchen, away from the light. When they’re as soft as I want them to be, I place them in the fridge until I’m ready to use them.

Bananas

Leave your bananas on the counter at room temperature to ripen. If they’re right where you want them, but you’re not ready to use them, stick them in the fridge to stop them from ripening further. Like apples, keep these away from other fruits because they’ll ripen everything around them. It’s their super power.

Tip: Separate your bananas and wrap the stems with plastic wrap to help them keep even longer. Check out Lifehacker for the story behind the magic.

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Blackberries

Place berries in a bowl with 3 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar and gently stir the berries around to kill any bacteria that might be hanging around. Carefully place berries in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Place berries on paper towels to dry completely, and then store in a sealable container (if you bought them at the store, the container they came in is fine) lined with clean paper towels.

Blueberries

Place berries in a bowl with 3 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar and gently stir the berries around to kill any bacteria that might be hanging around. Carefully place berries in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Place berries in a salad spinner to dry completely, and then store in a sealable container (if you bought them at the store, the container they came in is fine) lined with clean paper towels.

Cantaloupe

Place melon in the fridge and try not to cut it until you’re ready to eat it. If you want to cut it up to eat throughout the week, just make sure you store cut melon back in the fridge in an airtight container.

Tip: If you cut the melon, try to leave the seeds intact – it will help prevent the flesh from drying out.

Cherries

If you bought them at the store, they likely came in a perforated plastic bag – you can just place that bag on a shelf in your fridge.

Grapes

If your grapes came in a perforated plastic bag, just set that on a shelf in the fridge. Wash just before eating.

Honeydew

See instructions for Cantaloupe.

Kiwi

These can be kept in the fridge for several weeks – they’re small, so just don’t forget about them!

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Lemons & Limes

You might see lemons in bowls as household decorations, but sadly that’s the worst thing you can do! They’ll get hard and lose their luster in less than a week. You want to put them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge and they’ll last you for weeks (maybe even a month!).

Tip: Clean the outsides of your lemons and limes prior to storage with a little dishwashing soap and water to save yourself time later – but make sure you let them dry completely before they go in the bags.

Nectarines

Don’t refrigerate them! They’ll lose their flavor and it will make you sad – trust me. Leave them in a bowl on the counter at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) until ready to eat. 

Oranges

These sunny fruits can be stored either on the counter at room temperature or in the fridge. Personally, I refrigerate the ones I plan to eat because I prefer them cold, and then leave the rest in a bowl on the kitchen table to use ad hoc for recipes. 

Peaches

Store on the counter at room temperature until ripe, then place in a sealed plastic bag on a shelf in the fridge.

Pears

You can go either way with these – leave them on the counter for up to a week, or place them in the fridge for longer. 

Pineapple

Stick the pineapple in the fridge until you’re ready to cut it up and eat it. I know, I know – it’s a little awkward due to it’s spiky Marge Simpson-esque hairstyle it’s got going on. Avoid cutting it up to eat at a later date – it’ll get mushy and be considerably less appealing. 

Plums

Store in a sealed plastic bag on a shelf in the fridge.

Pomegranates

Pomegranates are like Batman – they want to be in the dark and only come out when they’re summoned. Keep these in a dark corner of the fridge – placing them in a paper bag on a shelf works gangbusters for me.

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Raspberries

See instructions for Blackberries.

Strawberries

See instructions for Blueberries.

Watermelon

You can either store watermelon on the counter at room temperature or in the fridge. If you want to cut it up to eat throughout the week, just make sure you store cut melon back in the fridge in an airtight container.

Other Tips + Tricks

  • Don’t store fruits and veggies together! As much as they might want to be friends and hang out, many fruits give off high levels of ethylene which can spoil the foods around them.
  • Try to make a plan to eat the most delicate and perishable items first (i.e.: finish off those raspberries before the lemons). Need help with that? Make a list of your fruit in order of most to least perishable and tack it to the front of your fridge. 
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