10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer

By Ashley Marcin on 2 February 2015 0 comments
Photo: iStock

My family signed up for its first CSA (community supported agriculture) share several years ago. Ever since, we've been enjoying delicious, local produce during the growing season and beyond. And an added benefit? We've learned a few tips and tricks when it comes to smart food storage. (See also: 18 Pantry Foods That Keep Longer Than You Think)

There are so many varieties of fruits and vegetables that will last for a month or more when stored properly. Here are 10 of your best bets and how to keep them going strong.

1. Onions

Go ahead and buy your onions in bulk. Even Vidalias, which are more susceptible to bruising, can last up to a year when wrapped in paper inside the refrigerator. If you don't have the kitchen space to spare, you can also find a dark, cool, and well-ventilated spot in your home and hang them up in pantyhose. Simply cut one down when you need it for cooking.

2. Apples

Apples fare well in the refrigerator, where they can stay good for four weeks. Once they are fully ripe (slightly soft and sweet), simply place in a plastic bag in the fridge. And here's something cool: If you can find a spot in your house that's 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity, your apples could last as long as six months!

3. Potatoes

Most varieties of potatoes stay fresh in the pantry for three to five weeks. Their life can be further extended by placing them in the refrigerator for up to several months. Once you notice the potato soften and form green spots, it's time to toss. Those little sprouts that shoot out of the potato's skin are harmless and can be removed before consuming.

4. Winter Squash

All those delicious varieties of winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, spaghetti, delicata, etc.) will keep for several months if stored in a dark spot that's kept below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (your basement, perhaps?). Just be sure to ask your supplier if the squash was cured prior to sale, which basically means they were set in a dry, sunny place for seven to ten days after harvest.

5. Garlic

The key to keeping garlic good for months is humidity, so it's best to keep it in your crisper drawer. Otherwise, those beautiful bulbs will shrivel up before you get a chance to mince them. Even chopped garlic can last several weeks this way, just make sure to keep it in a tightly closed container. Note that refrigerated garlic will sprout once moved from the cold to the counter after only a couple days.

6. Carrots

Carrots last four to five weeks in the fridge. Even baby carrots can stay tasty for nearly a month when stored this way. Once carrots start to go bad, you might notice white dots or "white blush" on them. Eat these guys right away before they become mushy or slimy.

7. Beets

Beets have the staying power of several months when placed in a cool, dark, and humid space like a root cellar (or crisper drawer). You'll want to remove beet tops to prevent them from shriveling. Just make sure to leave about a half-inch of stem to prevent the juices from bleeding out prematurely.

8. Cabbage

Hearty cabbage has a six month shelf life if stored the right way. The best conditions are in your fridge at around 32 degrees Fahrenheit with 95% humidity. Don't fret: If the outer leaves start to show signs of spoilage, they can be swiftly removed to reveal fresh leaves below.

9. Lemons

A bowl of lemons may look beautiful when placed on your kitchen counter. However, they'll stay fresh only about a week this way. Instead, place them in a sealed plastic bag inside your refrigerator for up to a month of delicious, juicy goodness.

10. Celery

Limp celery got you down? Here's a cool trick to try the next time you stock up! You can keep celery robust by wrapping it in aluminum foil and stashing inside your fridge. Just a single sheet will do. When you store celery this way, it will stay crisp for over a month.

What fruits and veggies keep best for you?

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