Keeping Fruits and Veggies at Their Best!

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

How you store fruits and vegetables has a major impact on both their taste and their shelf life. How sad is it when you have to throw out a drawer full of sludge that you bought just a few days earlier? Follow these tips to keep your fruits and vegetables at their best.

Don’t Refrigerate Some fruits and vegetables are cold sensitive and will lose flavor and texture if kept in the fridge. These are best stored at room temperature.

Cool Dark Place These will keep up to one month if stored correctly.
Winter Squash

In the Fridge
Apples In the crisper drawer away from very strong smelling foods (they will absorb odors.)

Broccoli In the crisper drawer away, from apples or other fruits that emit ethylene. (Ethylene is a natural occurring gas that speeds up spoilage in certain produce).

Celery In the crisper drawer, in a tightly sealed plastic bag to retain their moisture.

Leafy greens Keep greens in a plastic bag lined with paper towels.

Green beans Store in tightly sealed bag to retain moisture.

Beets In the crisper drawer. Slice off the green tops and store them as you would other leafy greens.

Berries In a warmer spot in your refrigerator. Store unwashed.

Carrots In crisper. Slice off green tops before storing.

Mushrooms In a warmer spot in your refrigerator. Store unwashed in a paper bag or bowl. Always unwrap from plastic.

Asparagus In warmer spot of refrigerator. Ends trimmed, and stored upright in jar of water.

Peppers In crisper drawer. Store in perforated plastic bag.

Herbs In warmer spot of refrigerator. Ends trimmed, stored upright in jar of water, like a bouquet of flowers. Fresh basil actually prefers to be out in room temperature.

Plan your meals
Some fruits and vegetables naturally have a shorter shelf life than others. Plan on eating the most perishable first. Things like asparagus, broccoli, green beans, berries, figs, and apricots should be eaten within in a few days of purchasing.

Crisper Drawer
The crisper drawer traps moisture and humidity to create a friendly environment that keeps fresh produce from drying out. Generally home refrigerators have two crisper drawers that come in two settings (low and high). Most vegetables need more humidity than fruits so keep one drawer on high to store your crisper vegetables and the other one on low to store your fruits.

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Reader Comments:


Any sort of a berry will last longer and not mildew if you take 2 qts. of water and 2T white vinegar and rinse the berries in the water with vinegar. Works great for me!!! Think you should tell everyone about this Ms. Paula so ya'll can have some fresh fruit.

By emily bernhardt on September 26, 2012


your pastries look great . i love to watch u cook

By peggy belford on September 25, 2012


what is a good recipe with raddishes in it, i'm trying to go back to the fruits and vegetables that i grew up on and i can't remember what we use raddishes in.

By sandra bell on September 25, 2012


I enjoyed this article, but I kept asking myself... "what is the warmer spot in the fridge?" Thanks, Annette

By Annette on September 25, 2012


use a 10 to 1 mix - water to vinegar rinse berries with they will keep for weeks.

By carol krohnke on September 25, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm