Most of us don’t have time to run to the supermarket on weekdays, so it’s important to know how to store foods to keep them tasting fresh and flavorful as long as possible. Obviously meats will keep longer in the fridge, but what about fruits and vegetables? Which items should you refrigerate versus store at room temperature? Here are a few simple rules for keeping your grocery items fresh.
Keep it cool. For many foods, keeping them in the fridge will extend their life.
- Use the crisper drawer for fruits like apples, grapes, cherries, citrus fruits, and berries.
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce should be rinsed and wrapped in damp paper towels before storing in the fridge.
- Veggies like carrots, cucumbers, peppers, and broccoli should be refrigerated in loose plastic bags to ensure freshness.
- Corn on the cob tastes best if stored husk-on until you’re ready to cook it.
Be counter-intuitive. Some foods lose their flavor and texture when refrigerated, and should be stored at room temperature.
- Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, stem side up, and out of direct sunlight.
- Bananas can be kept on the counter, then moved to the fridge once they get overripe.
Dim the lights. Direct sunlight can degrade many foods. Store these items in a dark location.
- Coffee is best stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool location. Never refrigerate or freeze coffee—moisture will cause it to deteriorate and lose its flavor.
- Onions, garlic, and white and sweet potatoes do best in a dark, cool space.
- Unripe avocados and many other fruits should be stored in a brown paper bag on the counter until ripe—then eaten or moved to the fridge.
Knowing how to keep food at its best not only saves you trips to the supermarket, it also translates to fresher ingredients for better tasting meals.