Produce is very finicky and can expire far before you want to eat it, and when it does, you feel terrible for wasting food and contributing to landfill accumulation. For times like those, we have made this list of common produce items and how long they stay fresh and delicious in hopes that you’ll never have to throw produce away again.
Whole apples generally last two to four weeks unrefrigerated and one to two months refrigerated. If apples are placed in an area 30 – 40° F with high humidity (which is rare in most households), then they will last for about six months. Estimations of shelf life and quality are made by assessing the firmness and soluble dry matter content — the total dry matter content can be affected by growing conditions and cultivation techniques and a higher content means a higher flavor concentration.
Raw apricots can be stored for one to three weeks until ripe in the pantry or unrefrigerated. Once ripe, apricots can be stored for four to five days in the refrigerator.
Bananas last for two to five days on the counter, unrefrigerated until ripe, but they can be refrigerated (not recommended) for five to seven days or until ripe. If bananas are refrigerated, their skin will turn black, but that does not mean the fruit is rotten. Peel and place bananas in a plastic bag or container to extend the shelf life of them to two or three months.
Blueberries should ideally be placed in a shallow container, covered, and refrigerated. If refrigerated, blueberries last for one to two weeks. Do not bulk wash blueberries — this speeds up decomposition — only wash a small amount of blueberries prior to being consumed.
Similar to Brussels sprouts, unwashed, refrigerated broccoli lasts for three to five days. Only wash and cut broccoli before eating it.
Unwashed, whole Brussels sprouts last three to five days in the fridge. Prior to consumption, thoroughly wash each head, peeling off the outer leaves.
Fresh, raw, peeled carrots and baby carrots need to be wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil and refrigerated. They last two to three weeks in this condition.
Dinosaur Kale (or regular kale)
Refrigerated and unwashed kale lasts for five to seven days. Wash only a specific portion at a time to avoid premature spoiling.
If refrigerated, eggplant lasts five to seven days.
Fresh figs only last for one to two days in the refrigerator.
Grapes need to be refrigerated in a perforated bag or slotted container. They will stay fresh if refrigerated in this manner for five to seven days. Grapes should not be washed in bulk and only the amount that is going to be eaten should be washed to prevent spoiling.
Fresh, whole tomatoes can be placed in the pantry or on the kitchen counter (the latter is preferable) for one to five days or until ripe. Alternatively, they can be put in the refrigerator for two to three days if they are ripe. The best way to get the most flavor out of tomatoes is to allow them to ripen at room temperature and then refrigerate them if need be.
Iceberg and romaine lettuce are both good for about a week if refrigerated and unwashed. Wash them when ready to use.
Fresh, raw jicama should be stored in the refrigerator — it lasts for a week to two weeks, depending on its ripeness.
Kiwis can be stored on the counter for two to three day until they ripen, and after they ripen, they can be refrigerated whole for five to seven days.
At room temperature in the pantry or on the kitchen counter, lemons can be stored for about a week. In the refrigerator, the yellow citrus can stay fresh anywhere from two to three weeks.
Melons (Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Honeydew)
Cantaloupe and honeydew should be stored at room temperature until it ripens (two to four days) and then refrigerated for seven to 10 days. Watermelon stays fresh for seven to 10 days unrefrigerated and for two weeks if refrigerated. Honeydew should be ripened at room temperature for two to four days and then placed in the refrigerator and eaten within five to seven days.
Nectarines and Peaches
Whole nectarines and peaches should be stored on the counter or in the pantry in a relatively cool space until ripe which usually takes two to three days (one to three days for peaches). After they have ripened, they should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within three to five days.
Let oranges ripen for up to a week at room temperature. Then, refrigerate them and eat within two to three weeks.
Potatoes normally last one to two weeks stored at room temperature and in a bag that allows for circulation. To further extend the shelf life of potatoes, store in a cool (45-55° F) dark area; under those storage conditions, potatoes will last about two to three months. It is best to not store potatoes near onions because together they set off a chemical reaction that quickly spoils both of them.
We, here at One Green Planet, hope that this list will be useful to you. Happy cooking and eating!
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