Are you confused about which vegetables and fruits belong in the refrigerator, and which will last longer on the countertop or in the pantry? This list of fruits and vegetables that don’t need refrigeration will help you maximize the shelf life and flavor of your produce.
Fruits that don’t need refrigeration
Apples and Pears
Apples and pears will stay fresh on the counter for one to two weeks. Store pears in a single layer to prevent bruising. To extend the freshness of apples and pears, store them for about a week in the refrigerator. However, don’t store them in the refrigerator too long, or they will become mealy and lose their flavor.
Avocados ripen quickly on the counter, and remain at the perfect ripeness for about five minutes. (Right?!) After avocados are fully-ripened, you can store them whole in the refrigerator for a few days.
If you’re tired of missing that 2.5-second period when your bananas are perfectly ripe, try wrapping the stem end with a small piece of plastic wrap. Beeswax wrap would also be a more environmentally-friendly and reusable alternative.
Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon
Store whole melons on the counter to preserve maximum flavor. After you cut them, store cut melon pieces in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
According to The National Mango Board, you should “keep unripe mangos at room temperature.” To speed up ripening, place mangos in a paper bag at room temperature. Once ripe, move mangos to the refrigerator, which slows down the ripening process. Store whole, ripe mangos for up to five days in the refrigerator.”
Nectarines, Peaches, Plums
Stone fruits ripen quickly on the countertop at room temperature. To hasten the ripening process, place them in a paper bag. Store ripe stone fruits in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Ripen papayas on your countertop. Papayas are ready when they are orange-yellow with a few green spots, and have slightly soft and yielding texture. Store a cut papaya in the refrigerator, or freeze it for longer storage.
Whole, ripe pineapples keep best on the countertop for up to 3 days. Once cut, store pineapple in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Vegetables that don’t need refrigeration
The humidity of the refrigerator makes onions moldy and mushy. Keep them in a cool, dry place, separated from potatoes. (Onions release gases that cause potatoes to rot.)
Store garlic heads in a cool, dry container with some ventilation. A small basket works well. Once a garlic head has been broken, use the cloves within about 10 days. (Or make roasted garlic!)
Store uncut jicama in a cool, dry place uncovered for up to 3 weeks (as you would potatoes). Jicama will mold if it gets wet. Refrigerate sliced jicama in a plastic bag up to 2 weeks.
Cold temperatures cause the starches in potatoes to convert to sugar, making your potatoes sweet and gritty. Store dry potatoes in a cool, dark place to prevent sprouting. Also be sure to store them away from onions, which release gases that can cause potatoes to rot.
Store pumpkins in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid heat and humidity. Prevent rotting by placing pumpkins on a piece of cardboard or board, rather than directly on a concrete surface.
Storing sweet potatoes in the refrigerator results in a hard center and unpleasant taste. Keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Store them away from onions, which release gases that could cause them to rot.
Refrigeration makes tomatoes mealy and bland. Avoid refrigerating whole tomatoes, and store them on the counter with the stem side down to keep them fresh longer. If your tomatoes get too ripe, cut them in half and roast them to make a delicious sauce.
Store most squashes in a cool, dry place at about 55 degrees F.
More information about fruit and vegetable storage
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of fruits and vegetables that don’t need refrigeration. Were you surprised to see any produce items on this list?
We recommend a few products to help you store fruits and vegetables inside and outside the refrigerator. Here are a few of our favorites: