Did you know about 40 percent of the food that’s grown and sold in America is thrown out, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council?
While some produce only lasts a day or two, (I’m looking at you, raspberries!) others, when stored properly, can last weeks or even months.
If you find yourself throwing away fruits and veggies every week, consider adding these long-lasting produce items to your grocery list for fewer trips to the store and less food waste, saving you time and money.
Always remember to handle your fruits and veggies with care as any bumps and bruises tend to shorten shelf life. And in most cases, always wait to wash produce until you’re ready to use it, as moisture can lead to mold.
Read on for 14 fresh produce items with a long shelf-life to keep your kitchen well-stocked.
You can store apples at room temperature, or in the fridge. If you keep them in the fridge, they’ll last way longer, (sometimes up to two months) as apples ripen much faster at room temperature than in cold temperatures. To maximize shelf life, place apples in an unsealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer, away from other vegetables as the ethylene gas they emit will cause other vegetables to ripen faster.
This root vegetable has a pretty long shelf life, when stored properly potatoes can last for a few months. Store them in a cool, dark place with good ventilation such as a pantry, cellar, cupboard, or cabinet that keeps out sunlight. Light exposure can cause them to turn green. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator and keep them away from onions and apples, as both emit gases that speed up the ripening process! When stored at colder temperatures, the starch in a potato converts to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration.
This kitchen staple can last two to three months when stored in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing onions in plastic bags, instead use a mesh bag. Cut onions can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Also keep onions away from produce that emits ethylene, a chemical that accelerates ripening in fruits and veggies like tomatoes and bananas.
Store garlic in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cabinet. If stored properly, whole unpeeled bulbs can last up to six months. A single, unpeeled clove will last about three weeks. Spoiled garlic forms brown spots on the cloves and turns from the usual white to a more yellow or brown color.
Cabbage has a far lower water content than traditional greens like spinach and romaine, this means a longer shelf life. Wrap your cabbage in plastic or store it in a plastic container in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to two months.
While citrus fruit will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, the best way to store it is in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits can be stored in the refrigerator for around two-four weeks. Don’t store citrus in a plastic bag or container, instead use a mesh bag or leave it loose.
Carrots can keep in the refrigerator for up to two or three months if properly stored. The key to making carrots last is keeping them dry, as they give off a lot of moisture. Refrigerate them in a plastic bag and place a paper towel inside the bag to absorb excess moisture and keep carrots from rotting. Avoid exposure to sunlight or air, which can cause carrots to go bad more quickly.
Beets can last between two-four months in the refrigerator. Store beets in your refrigerator crisper drawer in an unsealed plastic bag. If your beets have the stems attached, chop them off, wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel and keep them in the crisper. Greens will keep three-four days.
If properly stored, raw turnips will typically last for two-three weeks in the refrigerator. Store turnips in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
This root veggie can last up to a month in your refrigerator. Keep them wrapped in plastic on a low shelf in your fridge.
To keep your bell peppers fresh for longer, store them immediately in your refrigerator crisper drawer and they should last between one and two weeks. The better quality peppers you buy, the longer they’ll stay fresh. Look for bell peppers with firm skin without any wrinkles or sunken spots. Make sure they’re dry, as any moisture will soften the peppers faster. Green peppers tend to keep longer than their orange, red, and yellow counterparts.
Wrap kale up in a dry, loose paper towel and store it in a ziplock plastic bag or airtight container. Keep it in your crisper drawer in the refrigerator for one or two weeks.
Wrap celery in tightly aluminum foil and refrigerate. For the best results, keep celery heads whole. When stored this way, celery stalks can maintain their freshness anywhere from two to four weeks.
If you store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dark area, they can last up to a month. Keep them in a loosely covered bag to allow for air circulation. Do not refrigerate raw sweet potatoes, this can alter their taste and flavor.