How To Store Fresh Fruit & Veg So They Last Longer
You guys loved our kitchen hack post with insider tips on how to store fresh herbs so they last longer, so now that harvest season is here, I thought the time was ripe (ahem) for another one along the same lines. Afterall, when you store fresh ingredients properly, everyone wins – your dinner, your bank account, and the planet! It means you avoid sub-par flavours, you save on food waste, and hopefully your fridge will smell better too.
So here are the best ways to store fresh fruit and vegetables, to keep them fresh for longer. I learned so much while writing this (tomatoes, lemons and cucumbers in particular were a surprise), hopefully you’ll leave this post feeling just as empowered!
To keep whole onions from going soft, make sure you keep them in their skins and store in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cupboard, away from potatoes (they give off a gas that ripens onions).
Leeks & Spring Onions
There are two ways to store leeks and spring onions depending on whether you want them to keep growing or not. If you do, put them in a jar with an inch of water covering the roots, then keep the jar on a windowsill. If you don’t want them to grow, wrap the roots in damp kitchen roll, pop it in a little plastic bag and store in the fridge.
Potatoes (and sweet potatoes) need to breathe, so it’s best to store them in a cardboard box or paper bag in a cool, dark place. Never in the fridge! And remember that you can still eat them if they’ve started to sprout.
To keep your mushrooms fresh for longer, store in their original plastic packaging in the fridge. Did you know you can also leave them on a sunny windowsill before cooking to enrich them with vitamin D?
Carrot leaves actually draw moisture and nutrients from the root, so the best thing to do when buying whole carrots is chop the leaves off. Then, store in a paper bag in the fridge. You might need to change the bag a couple of times depending on how long you store them for, as it’s important carrots stay dry.
Tie a bunch of trimmed asparagus together with an elastic band, then stand in a jar with an inch or two of water covering the ends. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and store in the fridge.
Store butternut squash in a cool, dark place, like a kitchen cupboard. It should last two to three months! Once diced, butternut squash can be kept in tupperware in the fridge for four days.
Cauliflower & Broccoli
Keep your cauliflower and broccoli in the fridge, loosely wrapped in plastic.
Aubergine lasts much longer at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. The best way to store is in a bowl or just loose in a kitchen cupboard.
Courgette & Cabbage
Wrap your courgette and cabbage in plastic and store in a drawer in the fridge. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use.
Green Beans, Pak Choi, Bell Peppers & Chilli Peppers
Store fresh green beans, pak choi and peppers in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. Don’t wash or trim them until you’re ready to use them.
Just like carrots, radish leaves draw moisture and nutrients from the root, so the best thing to do when buying whole radishes is chop the leaves off. Then, store in plastic in the fridge. If they’ve gone a little soft when you come to use them, simply soak in ice cold water to make them crisp again.
This is another one to keep out of the fridge. Cucumbers last much longer when stored at room temperature, and away from tomatoes and bananas which make them ripen much faster.
Spinach, Kale & Salad Leaves
Take a tupperware box, line it with kitchen roll, add your leaves, top with another piece of kitchen roll and lock down the lid. The box needs to be big enough so the leaves have a bit of space and aren’t jammed in. The box protects the delicate leaves whilst the kitchen roll absorbs the excess moisture.
Do not keep tomatoes in the fridge! It damages the delicate skin, diluting the delicious taste and causing that floury texture. The best way to store tomatoes is in a fruit bowl at room temperature, but you should eat them as soon as possible for the best flavour.
To encourage a hard avocado to ripen, store in a paper bag at room temperature, or in a fruit bowl with bananas.
To stop from ripening, keep the avocado in the fridge. To keep half an avocado fresh for longer, make sure you do not remove the stone. Squeeze some lemon juice onto the exposed parts of the fruit, cover in cling film and store in the fridge.
Store apples in a drawer in the fridge, away from other fruits and veg and covered in a damp piece of kitchen roll.
Grapes last longest when stored in a drawer in the fridge in their original plastic packaging, which will be perforated to allow for air flow.
Oranges, Lemons & Limes
Citrus fruit, especially lemons and limes, will harden when stored at room temperature. To keep fresh and juicy for longer, store in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.
To read more about food waste, check out our posts 12 Food Scraps You Didn’t Know Were Edible and 7 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze. Are there any fruit and veg storage methods you swear by? Let us know in the comments!