Fridge storage tips: fruits, veggies

By Doug Worgul
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
Published: 05.31.2006
Nutritionists, dietitians, doctors and authors of fad diet books agree that fresh fruits and veggies are way good for you and that you probably need to eat lots more of them. But fresh produce spoils rather quickly, presenting storage challenges.

In general, a refrigerator set at 35 degrees to 50 degrees provides good storage for small quantities of fruits and vegetables.

Vegetable or crisper drawers provide slightly warmer storage. If moist storage is necessary, use plastic bags to hold in moisture.

Here are some storage guidelines:

● Asparagus

How to store: Trim 1 inch from bottom of stem. Wrap in wet paper towel. Store in plastic bags in refrigerator.

How long: 2 to 4 days

● Green beans

How to store: Pods become tougher as beans mature. Store in perforated plastic bags in warm part of refrigerator (crisper).

How long: Up to 1 week

● Broccoli

How to store: Store in refrigerator in airtight plastic bags.

How long: 4 to 5 days

● Cabbage

How to store: Store in refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

How long: Up to 3 weeks

● Cauliflower

How to store: Store in perforated plastic bags in refrigerator.

How long: Up to 10 days

● Cucumbers

How to store: Store slicing cucumbers in plastic bags in crisper.

How long: Up to 2 weeks

● Eggplant

How to store: Does not keep long but may be stored in crisper.

How long: Up to 1 week

● Lettuce

How to store: Head, semi-head and leaf lettuce can be stored in perforated plastic bags in refrigerator.

How long: Up to 2 weeks

● Cantaloupe

How to store: Store at room temperature until fully ripe. Cut melon should be stored in refrigerator in airtight plastic bags.

How long: 2 or 3 days

● Onions (dry)

How to store: Keep ventilated during humid weather. Don’t use plastic bags. Don’t store under the sink with potatoes, which emit a gas that will spoil onions.

How long: 3 to 4 months

● Green onions

How to store: Cut off roots; trim tops, leaving 3 to 4 inches of green. Store in plastic bags in refrigerator.

How long: Up to 1 month

● Parsley

How to store: Store in plastic bags in refrigerator.

How long: Up to 10 days

● Sweet peppers

How to store: Store in crisper in plastic bags.

How long: Up to 3 days

● Sweet corn

How to store: Short storage life. Refrigerate in plastic bags.

How long: No more than 2 days

● Sweet potatoes

How to store: Because of their high sugar content, they don’t keep as long as other root vegetables. Store under sink.

How long: 1 to 2 weeks

● Tomatoes

How to store: Don’t refrigerate. Let them ripen on the kitchen counter. Mature green tomatoes with whitish-green skin can be kept by wrapping each tomato in newspaper and checking for ripeness weekly.

How long: 3 to 5 weeks (if green)

● Source: “Field Guide to Produce” by Aliza Green (Quirk Books, 2004), Kansas State University Extension and Research publication MF661 (www.oznet.ksu.edu)

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