The Best Way to Store Fruits & Vegetables

By: Lisa Howard

Some fruits and vegetables can be stored together, others you should keep apart to keep them from spoiling. Use this handy chart to help you know where and how to store your produce.

Are you wasting food because it ripens—then rots—faster than you can eat it? (We’re sheepishly raising our hands along with you.) Storing food the right way can make all the difference. Ethylene, a natural gas that’s released from some fruits and vegetables, speeds up the ripening process. That can be an advantage—to ripen an avocado quickly, seal it in a paper bag—but too much ethylene can cause produce to spoil. Fruits and veggies that release high amounts of the gas shouldn’t be stored alongside ethylene-sensitive produce. And it’s not all about ethylene; temperature plays a role, too, in getting the most from your produce.

Use this chart to help you know what fruits and vegetables to store at room temperature and what should be stored if the fridge, plus which produce is ethylene-sensitive versus high ethylene-producing, so you can keep them separate.

Related: 5 Ways to Stop Wasting Food & Start Saving Money on Food

Fruits & Vegetables to Store at Room Temp

Keep ethylene-sensitive produce and high ethylene-producing produce separate:

Ethylene-Sensitive Produce

  • Bananas (unripe)
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash
  •  

High Ethylene-Producing Produce 

  • Bananas (ripe)
  • Tomatoes

Transfer These to Fridge When Ripe:

  • Apricots
  • Avocados 
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  •  

Fruits & Vegetables to Store in the Fridge

Keep ethylene-sensitive produce and high ethylene-producing produce separate:

High Ethylene-Producing Produce 

  • Apples
  • Blueberries 

Transfer These to Fridge When Ripe:

  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  •  

Ethylene-Sensitive Produce

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Raspberries 
  • Strawberries
  •  

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