Keeping Produce Fresh

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

Produce Safety

Don’t purchase any produce with mold, bruises or cuts at the grocery store. Once you get home, wash all produce before eating. Be sure to separate any fresh produce from raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. 

Food Waste

Americans throw away almost 20% of the fruits and vegetables they buy. Often improper storage of fresh produce leads to food waste. Be sure that you are storing your produce safely.

Store in the Refrigerator

The following fruits and vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator should maintain 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

  • Apples
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • Kiwi
  • Apricots
  • Honeydew
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Lettuce

Store at Room Temperature

The following fruits and vegetables are cold-sensitive and should not be stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to store these foods at room temperature.

  • Avocado
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Nectarines

Store in a Cool, Dark Place

The following vegetables should never be refrigerated, but instead kept in a cool, dark place.

  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Winter squash
  • Garlic

Keep These Foods Separate

Some fresh produce gives off ethylene gas. If near other produce this gas will speed up the decay of certain sensitive foods. To be safe, keep food in the following columns separate.

Gas Releasing FoodsGas Sensitive Foods
ApplesBananas, ripe
ApricotsBroccoli
AvocadosBrussels sprouts
Bananas, unripeCabbage
CantaloupeCarrots
FigsCauliflower
HoneydewCucumbers
KiwiEggplant
NectarinesLettuce, Leafy Greens
PeachesPeas
PlumsPeppers
TomatoesSquash

Sweet Potatoes

Watermelon

Material adapted from eatright.org

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