Determining the best way to store your fruits and vegetables can be daunting. Obviously, different types of veggies require different storage conditions--celery goes in the fridge, potatoes can be stored either on the counter or in the pantry, etc.--but you'll also want to have food storage products that are flexible enough to change as your ingredients and tastes change.
Fortunately, like always, The Container Store is here to help! Before your next trip to the grocery store or farmers market, be sure to check out the fruit and veggie storage tips below.
Ah, the avocado--the tasty, easily-spreadable fruit enjoyed equally by Tex-Mex cuisine lovers and Millennial toast-eaters everywhere. But with a sliced avocado boasting a shelf life of approximately 15 seconds (give or take) before it starts to turn brown, it makes for a particularly temperamental fruit; therefore, if you'd prefer not to have to eat the whole thing in one sitting, finding the right storage method is imperative.
Whole, uncut avocados can be stored on the countertop (they will ripen in 3-5 days), but the fridge works best if you have the space--proper fridge storage can keep them fresh for up to two weeks. Open plastic containers such as the InterDesign Linus Bins are a good option for keeping avocados in the fridge.
Once the avocado is cut and/or turned into delicious guacamole, it should be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated with the pit intact and with a light drizzling of lemon juice or olive oil to maintain freshness. (Adding small onion chunks to the container can also help prevent it from turning brown.) In this case, possible storage options include our Fresh Flip Avocado Pod and Casabella Guac-Lock Container--the Guac-Lock even functions as a serving dish!
The pungent onion, along with its less tear-inducing cousins the garlic and the shallot, thrive best in cool, dry, dark areas that are well-ventilated, so wire baskets are a solid choice for storage. If you must store them in a bag, ditch the plastic produce bags and opt for a mesh bag that allows for air flow. Under the proper storage conditions, onions can be safely stored for up to a month--much longer than many other vegetables. Our Scala Steel Wire Stackable Baskets are an ideal choice for storage, as they also help conserve countertop or shelf space.
Chopped or sliced onions are another matter; if refrigerated in an airtight container, they can normally last up to 10 days. As for cooked onions, they must also be stored in airtight, fridge-friendly containers--preferably within two hours of cooking to avoid bacterial growth--and usually last three to five days. Some of our favorite onion storage options include our Glasslock containers and Fresh Flip Onion Pod.
Before you move to the country to eat a lot of peaches, there are a few things to know about proper peach storage. First, if store or market-bought peaches are firm to the touch and lack a sweet smell, that means they're not quite ripe enough for consumption. In that case, you'll need to store them, unwashed, in an open basket at room temperature for a few days. (It's also best to store them shoulders down in a single layer to avoid accidental bruising.)
Once your ripened peaches have been washed and sliced, it's best to refrigerate them (again, Glasslock containers are a smart choice). Or if you prefer to freeze them for later use, our Stasher Clear Silicone Storage Bags work very well.
The many members of the pepper family--bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, etc.--should be refrigerated unwashed and keep moisture-free to avoid shriveling and rot. (Remember: wrinkles are for raisins, Shar-peis, and Madeleine L'Engle novels, not your nightshades.) When stored under these conditions, red and yellow peppers should last around three to five days; green peppers may last up to a week.
The best place to keep your peppers in tip-top shape would be either your fridge's vegetable drawer or our aforementioned InterDesign Fridge Bins. And for extra moisture protection, we recommend our OXO greensaver Produce Keepers. These nifty containers feature all-natural, non-toxic activated carbon filters to absorb ethylene gas and slow spoilage, as well as removable baskets (to promote airflow) and a vent (to maintain proper humidity levels). And should you decide to opt for the vegetable drawer, we also have greensaver Crisper Inserts to keep the contents fresh.
While we're on the subject of nightshade fruits, the tomato is another that requires the right amount of TLC. First, temperature is everything--warmer temperatures will cause them to ripen faster, while cooler areas will slow down the ripening process. And much like peaches, unripe tomatoes should also be stored in a single layer in a paper bag or bin to avoid bruising. Once ripened, they should be kept at room temperature and away from sunlight; overripe tomatoes last longer in the fridge.
Halved tomatoes should be placed in airtight containers, left out in a cool place, and eaten within the next 24 hours. Tomatoes that have been sliced or diced should be refrigerated or frozen. As per the name, our Tomato & Onion Stay Fresh Container is great for helping your sliced tomatoes and onions stay fresh.
Other fruits and vegetables
Less-persnickety produce (for example, whole apples, oranges, and potatoes) do not need to be kept cool, so they're best kept in a well-ventilated area such as a counter or pantry. In this case, a simple basket will suffice, and our Tosca Baskets are an incredibly functional-yet-attractive choice that showcase your produce in style. (If it's going to be left out in the open, it might as well look nice, right?)
Remember, you don't have to be a fancy vegan chef to store your fruits and vegetables properly. The right type of storage will keep your produce fresher for longer, resulting in much-tastier meals and saving you from making extra shopping trips.