How to Store Produce So It Stays Fresh Longer

Cook cutting a potato

Let’s face it: you don’t always use produce right away. Sometimes, those meals you had planned get pushed back (pizza after a hard day’s work is sometimes necessary!), and sometimes, you just overbuy due to a sale or to avoid too many trips to the store.

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to mean a one-way trip to the trash can. As long as you store your produce properly, you can get an extra few days — maybe even weeks — out of that investment.

Want to make sure your fruits and veggies stay fresh for as long as possible? Try these tips:

If it grows in the ground, keep it in a cool, dark place.

Produce like onions, potatoes, zucchini, and garlic grow in the ground — so mimicking those ground-like conditions is your best bet for keeping them longer. Store them somewhere dark and dry, and try to keep the temperature below 70 degrees. It’s a lot cooler underground than you probably think.

Adjust your fridge’s crisper drawers.

If your refrigerator has crisper doors with adjustable settings, then set up two different environments. On the first, set it to low humidity (it may say “low”, or you may need to just open up the drawer’s air vent manually). Use this one for foods that rot — things like apples, avocado, bananas, and peaches.

Then, set up the other drawer on “high” humidity — or just close the vents manually. You’ll want to put items that wilt in here, so things like spinach, lettuce, herbs, etc. You should also keep sensitive fruits like strawberries and watermelon here. 

Prep your leafy greens.

To get more out of your lettuce, kale, or spinach, rinse and dry them, wrap them in a paper towel loosely, and seal them up in a plastic bag or Tupperware container before putting them in the fridge. The bag protects the leaves from coming in contact with other items that could wilt them.

Keep your tomatoes out of the fridge.

Tomatoes are the one item you should be keeping on the counter. For one, they ripen more evenly when stored at room temperature. They’ll also taste better here, too (the fridge can make them grainy). 

Get the most out of your produce

Don’t let that produce go to waste. Invest some time and energy into storing them properly, and you’ll cut down on waste and have better-tasting meals to boot. 

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.