How to Store Fruits and Vegetables to Stay Fresh and Last

It can be confusing trying to figure out the best place to store fruits and vegetables.
Broccoli can go in the produce drawer.Broccoli can go in the produce drawer.
Some last longer if left on the countertop versus being kept in the refrigerator. Foods vary in the moisture levels and temperature figures that optimize storage quality. You can benefit with longer safe storage by knowing the facts about what foods go where.

Step 1

Store the following vegetables in the refrigerator's produce drawers: carrots, celery, leafy greens, green onions, peas, radishes, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, broccoli, beets, beans, artichokes and asparagus. The produce drawers in your refrigerator permit a higher moisture level, which helps keep fruits and vegetables fresh. Keep the following fruits in produce drawers: berries, cherries and grapes.

Step 2

Keep your fruits and vegetables in perforated plastic bags, as they are designed to retain moisture, extending the life of the produce.

Step 3

Stored the following fruits in a bowl on the countertop: bananas, mangoes, papayas, pomegranates, watermelon, pineapple, eggplant, peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes. Fruits that can be left on the countertop until they are ripe include apples, avocados, kiwifruit, peaches, plums, pears and nectarines. Once these fruits are ripe or kept out for just under a week, move them into the refrigerator.

Step 4

Keep produce destined for your countertop in a spot with air circulation and away from sunlight.

Step 5

Place the following items in the pantry out of sunlight but in good ventilation: potatoes, garlic, onions, shallots and winter squashes.

Step 6

Print out this article to help remember which produce to store where or make a list of items separated into columns labeled “Refrigerator,” “Countertop” and “Pantry.” Leave room at the bottom to add additional types of produce.


  • Sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on leftover avocado to prevent browning and leave the avocado pit inside.
  • Freezing fruits and vegetable is another option if you want to extend their life. Freeze produce at its peak ripeness and in the proper containers to retain freshness.