Once you've completed your shopping spree, it's time to put those groceries away. However, it's not necessarily as straightforward as you think. When it comes to produce, certain types are best to be refrigerated, while others might last longer when left on the counter. (And, here are a few reasons why it's okay to eat some produce beyond its seasonal peak.)
It's important to know the distinction to eliminate waste and get a chance to actually enjoy all the food you've purchased. It never feels great to toss unused parts in the trash. (Related: Here are food scraps you should never throw away.)
Luckily, we have a guide to make your produce-storing habits quick and simple.
Put In The Fridge
"Be sure to put these in the fridge ASAP upon coming home from the store," says Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics. These include: apricots, grapes, figs, berries, broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, scallions, peas, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage. Why? When left out they will spoil faster, as they need the chill to prevent mold and decay.
Put In The Fridge But Not ASAP
"There is an in between," says Backe. "These foods should not be refrigerated for the majority of the time, but if they have not been eaten after a week, refrigerating them will make them last a bit longer," he says. And, if you notice them getting soft or bruised, it's time to toss them in for cooler temperatures. These are: apples, peaches, plums, kiwis, and pears. But first, leave them out to keep their juicy, ripened flavors in tact.
Putting these fruits and vegetables in the fridge upon purchase will cause them to lose their flavor, and some of them simply need more time to ripen at room temperature in order to maximize the tastes and textures. Backe says these are the top produce to keep out on your kitchen table or in a produce bowl: avocados, bananas, oranges, melon, pomegranate, persimmons, pineapple, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, and ginger.
The takeaway? Follow these rules so you can enjoy the best of your produce and keep it as long as it'll last. It'd be a waste to lose that money and nutritional value! And, if you're still looking for more information, you can always ask a local farmer at a farmers market or your grocer for an extra opinion.