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33 fruits and veggies you should refrigerate — and 7 you shouldn't

Help your produce last as long as possible, with our list of where to store your produce—including what you should chill and what should be left on the counter.

There are quite a few contradicting ideas out there about how you should store your produce. Some keep their apples in the pantry instead of the fridge, some refrigerate whole pineapple, and others are fully against storing tomatoes anywhere but on the counter. But in some cases, it's not just a matter of personal preference — your produce will last longer and taste better if it's stored one way over another. To help settle the debate once and for all (and help you reduce food waste), we put together instructions for storing some of the most controversial pieces of produce and included helpful lists so you'll know where to store all your fresh produce.

Tomatoes

We know there are differing opinions out there about where to keep your tomatoes, but (trust us) they belong in your pantry or on your counter. When you store tomatoes in the fridge, they take on a mealy texture and lose some of their flavor. Whether you bring them home from the store or pull them off the vine in your backyard, tomatoes will stay juicier and tastier if you leave them out of the fridge.

Citrus Fruits

Leave your lemons on the counter, and you'll have to restock sooner. Lemons, limes, and oranges all do best in the fridge because the cooler temperature prevents them from drying out. They'll keep for up to two weeks when chilled and about one week at room temperature. If you're not a fan of cold fruit, you can leave your lemons out on the counter for a couple hours before eating them. Additionally, you'll be able to squeeze out some extra juice if you reduce the chill first.

Mushrooms

If you've ever brought home a container of mushrooms and left them on the counter for a few days before using them, you might be surprised to learn that they belong in the fridge. Except for morel mushrooms, which you should keep on the counter, unwashed mushrooms belong in the fridge in a paper bag, which will keep them from quickly going bad. If you want to leave them in their original container, remove the plastic wrap from the top first to help prevent them from becoming slimy after a day or two.

Squash

When it comes to storing squash, it all depends on which type you brought home. Winter squash, like acorn and butternut squash, should stay out of the fridge and be kept in a cool, dry place for up to two months (though once it's cut, leftovers should go into the fridge). Zucchini and summer squash, on the other hand, should go in the fridge where they'll last up to four days. Make sure you clear out some extra space in your fridge before bringing in that bumper zucchini crop!

Most Fruits (Including Avocados)

Fortunately, most fruits can go either way. Apricots, avocados, star fruit, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears can all be stored on the counter or in the fridge. However, they won't ripen in the fridge, so we recommend storing them on the counter until they're ripe, then moving them to the fridge if you're not ready to eat them yet. If you use them as soon as they're ripe, there's no need to put them in the fridge at all. Storing fruit in the fridge won't make it last forever. In most cases, it'll buy you a couple of extra days to make that avocado toast or peach crisp.

:How to Make Guacamole at Home That Tastes as Incredible as the Restaurant Appetizer You Love

Produce to Keep in the Fridge

Skip the counter. These fruits and veggies will stay fresh and last longer if you keep them in the fridge:

  1. Asparagus

  2. Beans

  3. Beets

  4. Bok Choy

  5. Broccoli

  6. Brussels Sprouts

  7. Cabbage

  8. Carrots

  9. Cauliflower

  10. Celery

  11. Cucumbers

  12. Eggplant

  13. Fennel

  14. Greens

  15. Leeks

  16. Mushrooms

  17. Okra

  18. Peas

  19. Peppers

  20. Root Vegetables (Turnips, Rutabagas, Parsnips)

  21. Spinach

  22. Summer Squash/Zucchini

  23. Apples (They'll do best in the crisper drawer.)

  24. Berries

  25. Cherries

  26. Cranberries

  27. Grapefruit

  28. Grapes

  29. Lemons/Limes

  30. Oranges

  31. Pineapple

  32. Rhubarb

  33. Watermelon

:Waste Less Food With These Smart Storage Strategies

Produce You Shouldn't Store in the Fridge

The list of fruits and veggies you should keep out of the fridge is surprisingly short! Here are the seven that keep best at room temperature:

  1. Onions

  2. Potatoes

  3. Winter Squash (like Butternut and Acorn)

  4. Sweet Potatoes

  5. Tomatoes

  6. Bananas

  7. Persimmons

Produce That Can Go Either Way

Some fruits and veggies can be stored both ways, either depending on your preference or how soon you plan to eat them. We mentioned that most of the fruits on this list can be ripened on the counter and then stored in the fridge, but there are a few other special cases:

  1. Corn (Leave it out of the fridge if you're eating it within a day. Otherwise it can be refrigerated for up to seven days.)

  2. Apricots

  3. Avocados

  4. Cantaloupe

  5. Carambolas (Star Fruit)

  6. Figs (They should be used right away, but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

  7. Honeydew Melon

  8. Kiwi

  9. Mangoes

  10. Papayas

  11. Peaches and Nectarines

  12. Pears

  13. Plums

While putting most of your produce in the fridge will help you save it for a few extra days, you can stretch your fruits and veggies even further by freezing or canning them. Almost every fruit or vegetable is a good candidate for one or the other (or both). So if you find yourself with more zucchini than you can eat in three days, start clearing out some space in your freezer. Don't forget to wash them thoroughly before eating, and it's a good idea to keep your fruits and veggies stored separately.

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