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Thrifty Food: How to Store your Fruit and Veg to make it Last Much Longer

Are you storing your fruit and veg in the right way? If you charge through your fruit and veg at a rate of knots you probably don’t need to worry about this, but if you are sick of seeing wrinkly beetroots and berries growing green beards in your fridge you are probably doing a few things wrong.

Never throw fruit and veg away again with these handy hints:

Beetroots, carrots and parsnips will go floppy if they are left with their foliage on. Chop it off and keep in fridge. (Wrap in a moist tea cloth for extra lastiness.)

Washing berries before putting in the fridge takes off one of their vital layers and they will go mouldy much quicker. Store in the fridge and wash just before use.

The idea of a bustling fruit bowl is an appealing one- but it makes the fruit rot much quicker. Store fruit in separate containers so they are not impacted by the other fruit’s bad wind. (Ethylene.)

Potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions store best in a cool, dark place, preferably not touching each other. (Use newspaper to separate.) However, storing onions in the fridge will stop them making you cry when you chop them up!

Lettuce should be washed, wrapped in a paper towel to soak up water, and placed in fridge. Don’t chop it as it will release more ethylene!

Tomatoes and stone fruit should be kept in a cool, dark place, also untouching – they might last longer in the fridge but they will lose a lot of flavour in the process.

Bananas last longer when wrapped in a plastic bag- but they last even longer when separated and individually wrapped. (This sounds like a bit of hassle, eh?) If you do one thing with bananas though, keep them away from other fruit and veg as they are a major culprit in the hasty ripening and rotting of fellow fruits.

Celery and leeks and greens like chard will last well stored upright with their roots in a cup of shallow water just on the counter. (And a nice way to add a pop of colour to your kitchen, eh?)

Avocados will ripen on the counter – speed it up by putting in a paper bag with a banana- but once ripe place in the fridge.

Apples can last for months if separated by newspaper and placed in a cool dark place. But unless you have a hundred of them it is easiest to keep them on the counter away from other fruit.

And finally, if you come across something beginning to turn STASH IT STRAIGHT IN THE FREEZER. Everything, apart from lettuce and avocados, can go in the freezer and be used to cook with later. Even potatoes and onions- although I’d use these in a soupy thing to disguise the slightly different texture. For ease, prepare it and chop it up before freezing. And some things taste exceptional frozen- banana and berries are the business!

For a guide to the storage of more curious fruit and veggies check out this fabulous article from the Washington Greengrocer.