Most fruits like tomatoes, bananas and melons produce ethylene gas, a ripening agent that speeds up spoilage. Cucumbers are especially sensitive to ethylene gas and will need to be stored on their own. They are best stored on the counter, as opposed to the crisper drawer with off-gassing fruits. But if you prefer cold cucumbers, you can store them for a few days in the fridge (away from fruits).
2. Treat herbs like fresh flowers
Trying to cut back on salt? Herbs are a great way to add taste to a dish, just be sure not to store them in the fridge. Fresh herbs should be stored like fresh cut flowers. First, make sure the leaves are completely dry. Then, snip off the ends and place the herbs, stem down in a cup or mason jar with water. Most herbs last longer when stored in the fridge, this way. However, basil prefers to be stored at room temperature, but will best be placed in a jar with water. When the water turns bad, drain and add fresh water. Most herbs stored this way last for up to two weeks.
While squash and pumpkins are known for having a long shelf life, apples and other fall fruits, like pears, shouldn't be stored next to them, as it will cause the squash to go yellow and go bad. Squash and pumpkins keep well at temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit - cooler than room temperature, though not as chilly as the fridge. Large pumpkins and large squash will keep for up to 6 months. Though, you need to keep an eye on the smaller ones, which usually last about three months.
4. Bag your root veggies
Root vegetables like carrots, yams, kohlrabi, beets, and onions are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables we eat as they absorb nutrients from the soil. To keep the good nutrients, store your vegetables in a cool, dark, and humid place. A root cellar is the most ideal, but as most of us don't have one, the next best place is in a paper or plastic bag in the crisper. If you just toss them in the fridge, they will soften and rot a lot quicker.
Berries are sweet and easy to eat, but they can get moldy if not stored properly. Tiny mold spores make little nooks and crannies of the berry skin their home. The best thing to do it to avoid washing them until you're ready to eat them because moisture equals mold. You can also extend their life by a few days by soaking the berries in a solution of one cup vinegar to three cups of water. Let them soak briefly and gently rinse in a colander. The vinegar will hinder the mold growth. But make sure to dry them thoroughly by laying them out on a paper towel and blotting them gently. Store the berries in a well-ventilated container, or leave the lid partially open.
6. Separate your apples and oranges
We can't all get along, and apples and oranges are two such examples. Fruits give off a gas called ethylene, the ripening agent that will lead to faster spoilage of the produce around it. If you want to extend their shelf life, store apples in the fridge. Oranges stored in the fridge - away from apples - should be placed in a mesh bag allowing air to circulate around them. Plastic bags make oranges moldy.
While banana hooks put bananas in their best life, they will also ripen at the same time. So unless you're eating bananas for two days straight, the solution will be to break the bunch and store them in a fruit bowl on the counter to ripen, or in the fridge to delay the ripening process. If you missed your chance, use them in banana bread or place them in the freezer to make banana ice cream.
8. Don't let onions and potatoes mingle
Onions will cause the potatoes to go bad, so it's best to store items like potatoes and squash in an open-wicker basket in a cool, dark place, this will preserve freshness. They can also be stored in a paper bag, but ideally, in a container, where moisture or condensation can't build up, making them go soft or bad, faster. Garlic and onions can be stored next to each other without ripening or spoiling but should be stored in a well-ventilated space.
According to a survey conducted by Pollock Communications and the trade publication Today's Dietitian, avocado is number two on the list of the Top 10 Super Foods for 2017. Avocados can be pricey and should be stored correctly. If under-ripe, store them next to bananas. The gasses released from the bananas promote ripening. If you need to extend the life of an avocado, store it in the fridge, to slow the ripening process significantly.
10. Don't store tomatoes in the fridge
Too much time in the fridge can make tomatoes mushy and bland-tasting. They can be stored for about two to three days, but when kept at room temperature they have more flavor. So ideally, store them on the countertop.