Keep tomatoes on the counter and pineapples in the refrigerator… …or was it the other way around? I’ve often wondered how many of the fruits, veggies, and other foods I use on a daily basis should be stored.
Here’s a list of common foods, and the best way to store them:
Apples and Pears: Keep on the counter for about a week, and then move them to the refrigerator. Don’t store them near other fruits and veggies. They emit a lot of ethylene gas, which causes ripening.
Avocados: Keep on the counter until ripe, and then move to the refrigerator.
Bananas: Keep on the counter away from other fruit. Refrigerating bananas will cause them to turn brown. Emit ethylene gas.
Berries: Refrigerate unwashed, in a well-ventilated container for two-7 days.
Butter: Keep covered on the counter for about a week.
Cake and quick-bread: Wrap unfrosted cake tightly in plastic wrap and keep on the counter up to five days. Cover frosted cake loosely to keep out bugs, and store on the counter up to five days. Cut cakes should be wrapped in plastic wrap to avoid drying out. Refrigerate only when the weather is hot and wet.
Chiles, Dried: Store dried chile peppers in a cool dark place up to six months.
Citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, etc,): Keep on the counter for about two weeks.
Corn on the Cob: Refrigerate in the husk for a few days.
Garlic: Store in a cool, dark, dry place for about three months.
Herbs: Wrap fresh herbs in a damp paper towel, and place in an un-sealed Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for about a week. Basil is the exception. Keep it in a cup of water on the counter.
Kiwi, Mango, Papaya: Store on the counter until ripe, then refrigerate.
Lettuce: Keep unwashed in the refrigerator. Whole heads of lettuce will last about five days before wilting.
Mushrooms: Keep in a paper bag in the refrigerator for three-four days.
Nectarines, Peaches, and Plums: Keep on the counter until ripe, then store in the refrigerator for a few more days. To quickly ripen, place in a ventilated paper bag on the counter.
Oil: Keep in a cool dark place. If you put oil in the refrigerator it will solidify. But it’s still fine to use.
Onions: Keep in a cool, dark, very dry place for about three months. Keep away from potatoes, which emit moisture.
Peppers: Refrigerate for about five days.
Pineapple: Keep on the counter until ripe, then store in the refrigerator.
Potatoes: Keep in a paper bag, in a cool, dark, dry place for about two months.
Radish: Keep in the refrigerator, tops trimmed, for about two weeks.
Scallions: Refrigerate for about two weeks.
Tomatoes: Keep on the counter. Do not pile. To ripen place in direct sunlight. Refrigerating tomatoes will make them mealy. They will still be good for cooking, but not for fresh eating.
Vinegar: Once open keep in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Watermelon: Keep on the counter. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Zucchini: Keep in the refrigerator for about five days.
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