Fridge vs. Counter: Where Do Your Fruits & Veggies Belong?

blog fresh food

With the “eat local” craze now becoming mainstream, I find myself with more and more fresh fruits and veggies (YUM!). Five years ago—before Whole Foods and farmers markets had really come into themselves in Somerville—the freezer section was my go-to. I was living by myself (and leftovers only last so long), and I’d read all about how frozen produce was more nutritious than fresh produce.

But that was five years ago. Now I—and my partner in cooking Mat—go to our local farmers market in the square. We were starting to wash and store all of our goodies today when we disagreed about whether cukes belonged in the fruit bowl on the counter or in the produce drawer in the fridge. Then we couldn’t help questioning how to store everything we’d bought!

I spent a lot (maybe too much) time researching this today, collecting what seemed like endless perspectives on storage, and ultimately decided this:

  1. Mat and I aren’t the only ones who disagree about cucumber storage: This cook swears wrapping cukes in paper towels and keeping them in the fridge makes them last longer, while UC Davis says cold accelerates cucumber decay. For now, I’m following UC Davis’ lead and keeping our cucumbers on the counter.
  2. Tomatoes don’t like the cold—on or off the vine—and should be stored on the counter out of direct sunlight and away from those sensitive cukes.
  3. Raspberries are very fragile and should be stored in a single layer in a closed container in the fridge.
  4. Broccoli is a bit more high maintenance. You should mist the heads (don’t wash the broccoli or anything you put in the fridge!), wrap them loosely in damp paper towels, and refrigerate.
  5. When you’re lucky enough to buy fresh beets, you’ve got two things to worry about storing: the beet root and the beet greens. Cut the greens, leaving about 2 inches of stem attached. The greens don’t keep well, so you should use them the day you buy them. The roots, on the other hand, can be kept sealed in the fridge for over a week.
  6. Keep curly kale and leafy greens in tupperware in the fridge. Remember: DON’T rinse first.

Mint.com, Real Simple, and Food Network have more extensive lists of what to do with each type of produce…but of course they don’t always agree. That’d be way too convenient.

I’m thinking of moving to a daily grocery run to avoid produce rot all together…