Are You Storing Produce Correctly?

Now that spring has sprung and summer produce has started to make an appearance at grocery stores, it's time to start loading up on seasonal favorites.

When you get those tasty fruits and vegetables home, consider bypassing the fridge and storing them in an environment that won't sap their flavor.

While refrigeration does lengthen the life of some items, it can also leave produce lacking taste and nutrition. Learn how to store common produce to reap all the nutrition benefits.

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Here are five foods to avoid putting in the fridge:

Tomatoes

If you've ever grown a tomato, you know they thrive in the heat and hate the cold. When stored in the fridge, tomatoes tend to turn mushy and mealy. While still good for cooking, they will not taste the freshest after a stint in the fridge. It's best to store tomatoes on the counter out of direct sunlight and eat when fresh. It's not a good idea to store cut tomatoes in the fridge either. Instead, try buying smaller tomatoes and use in one sitting.

Onions

Like tomatoes, onions become soft and mushy when stored in the fridge. They also tend to affect the produce surrounding them. Uncut onions are best stored in a warm, dry place. Keep them separate from potatoes—they both give off gases that cause the other to spoil quicker.  Once cut, wrap and store them in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Melons

Watermelons stored at room temperature deliver more nutrients and last longer than refrigerated ones, according to the best-selling author Ray Shelian. Melons last up to three weeks after picked when stored at room temperature compared with a week when refrigerated. Keep your cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon on your counter, and out of direct sunlight, for ultimate freshness and antioxidants. Once cut, store in your fridge for about 3 to 4 days.

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Potatoes

Cold temperatures can break down the starch in potatoes resulting in a sweet and gritty taste. The Idaho Potato Company suggests storing in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place. They will keep about a week at room temperature and for several weeks at 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stone Fruit

Allow peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots to fully ripen and soften at room temperature. If you can't eat them right away, they can be stored in your fridge for an additional 3 to 4 days.

Final Food Storage Tip

When deciding what to put in which drawer in your refrigerator, the general rule of thumb is to put things that rot in the drawer with a low-humidity setting. Fruits and veggies emit an ethylene gas and the low humidity gives those gases a chance to escape, keeping the contents fresher, longer. Place things that wilt in your high-humidity drawer, the moisture keeps greens like spinach and arugula crisper and fresher, longer.

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