5 Time-Tested Ways to Make Your Groceries Last Longer

You spend hours each week planning out your meals, gathering up reusable bags and hauling groceries from the store to the house. And then they all go bad on you? That’s just not nice.

Produce is fickle stuff — it starts fresh, then quickly devolves into a mess of green goo, mold and wilted leaves. What can you do? Fortunately, lots of things! Here are a few of the secrets you need to know.

1) Store leafy greens loose and dry.

The bane of all leafy greens — arugula, spring lettuce, spinach — is moisture. If left bunched up, unwashed, in the back of the fridge, they will wilt.

To keep your greens from spoiling too quickly, first remove any ties or rubber bands, then rinse and dry (fully!) before wrapping loosely in a dry tea towel. Hardier varieties, like curly kale for example, will do best when placed in a cup of water like a bouquet.

2) Store bulbs and tubers in the dark.

Bulb vegetables like onions and shallots, as well as tubers like sweet potatoes and golden potatoes, should be stored in as cellar-like an environment as possible.

Cool, dark, dry, with a bit of air circulation. That’s ideal. Placing them on the counter or — please no — in the fridge is a recipe for greening or growing eyes. Yuck!

Fresh fruit and vegetables in salad drawer of refrigerator.

3) Store fleshy fruit vegetables in the crisper.

Fruit vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers (basically, all the good stuff) have a tendency to soften and mold due to their high moisture content.

Again, moisture is a serious no-no. Lay down a tea towel in the bottom of your fridge’s vegetable crisper, then wash and dry fully everything that will be placed there. Set up reminders to eat these! They’ll last longer when kept well, but longevity isn’t their strength to begin with.

4) Store soft fruit in a paper bag on the counter.

Stone fruit — think apricots, avocados, peaches — come with the summer and go just as fast. Mold comes quickly, so you have to be vigilant and eat these at their prime. 

First, get them to just ripe on the counter top (speed up the process by placing them in a paper bag) and then pop these beauties into the fridge when at their peak.

5) Store melons uncut and out of sight.

Melons may be stored as-is on the counter, but you’ll want to keep them far away from direct sunlight. Cantaloupe and honeydew in particular are prone to sogginess, so follow the rules if you want to keep them fresh for long.

Once ripe, slice and store in a reusable container with a dry towel. This will help sop up any excess moisture and prevent ripe melon slices from becoming soft and unappetizing.

What creative tricks do you have up your sleeve for keeping produce fresh? Let us know!

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53 comments

Ruth S
Ruth S3 days ago

Thanks.

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Elizabeth M
Past Member 16 days ago

got it thanks very much! :)

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Alexandra Richards
Alexandra Richardsabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Carole R
Carole Rabout a month ago

Good advice.

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Diane E
Diane Eabout a month ago

Thanks. I don't like waste.

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

ty for the advice.

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michela c
michela cabout a month ago

Thanks

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tammy C
tammy Cabout a month ago

great tips

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Larry McDaniel
Larry McDanielabout a month ago

Thank you

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