Food & Nutrition

Your Quick Guide to Keeping Veggies Fresh

Refrigerate or not? Store in a bag? Paper or plastic? Get the facts!

Q: I don't know how to store fresh veggies in the fridge. Do I take them out of their plastic bags? Is there anything special I should do before putting them in the fridge? How long can I expect them to last?

A: Although the best storage methods for fresh vegetables can vary within each vegetable category (green onions differ from Spanish onions, for example), here's a list with some basic guidelines. A few overall points to keep in mind first, though:

  • Refrigeration can damage some vegetables (such as potatoes), yielding an off-flavour or mushy texture.
  • Keep vegetables that are not stored in the refrigerator (such as potatoes and onions) away from heat sources and out of sunlight.
  • Some vegetables (like tomatoes and eggplants) can be left on the counter to ripen and then refrigerated to extend their lifespan.
  • When storing veggies in plastic bags, make sure to poke some holes in the bag to allow for proper air circulation. Or buy perforated plastic vegetable bags.

  • Keep vegetables and fruits in separate produce drawers because some fruits, such as apples and pears, produce a substance called ethylene that hastens ripening of other produce.
  • Do not store potatoes and onions together because they each give off gases that can cause the rapid decay of the other.
  • Although some vegetables can last for long periods of time when properly stored, try to use them sooner, rather than later, for optimal flavour and nutrient value.
  • Add crispness back to limp veggies like celery and asparagus by placing them stem-side down in a small amount of water; refrigerate until crisp.