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How to Clean and Store Fruit

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clean fruit with running water and a brush

It is always best to clean the fruit that you bring into your house. The United States FDA recommends that you wash fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water and use a vegetable brush to scrub each piece. Even fruits with skins that you don't eat, like melons, should we cleaned before storing or eating. In addition to removing pesticides, washing fruit also protects you from harmful food borne bacteria. For fragile and clustered fruits like berries and grapes, put them in a colander before running them under water.

Buy only as much fruit as you eat in a few days and clean the fruit as soon as you get it home, before you store it.

storing your fruit

How you store fruit can have a major impact on their taste and texture. Almost everything can be stored in the refrigerator except for bananas, lemons, and limes. These items should be kept in a cool, dry area.

You should keep meat and produce separate in your refrigerator. The best place for meat is the bottom shelf, so no blood or other contaminants drip down onto your produce. Crisper drawers will help protect your produce and also keep the moisture in to maintain freshness for longer.

If you have too much of a good thing, nearly all fruits and vegetables can be stored in the freezer as well, except for some herbs and lettuce. Freeze everything in small pieces on sheet trays and place the frozen pieces in airtight containers or plastic freezer bags for easy use later.

handle with care

It is always best to eat fruit as quickly as possible after you've purchased it as flavors and nutrients start to degrade the moment something is picked. But there are a few which require some extra consideration which are mentioned below:


You can ripen cantaloupe at room temperature, but it will go quickly from ripe to overripe. Melon stored in the fridge can develop a rubbery texture and lose a lot of flavor quickly, so keep melons at room temperature. Most berries go bad quickly, although blueberries are a bit heartier than strawberries and raspberries, which both need to be stored in the refrigerator and very gently washed just before use.

Mangos, plums, peaches, and pears can be ripened at room temperature in a brown bag until they are ready to be refrigerated. Because the sugar is concentrated at the base of a pineapple, you can store them upside down for a day or two at room temperature or in the fridge to allow the sweetness to spread throughout the fruit.

Lemons and limes will last a long time at room temperature. Don't put them in the refrigerator, as they tend to absorb odors from other foods. Apples can be stored in the refrigerator or a cool dark location for up to four months, but bananas should be kept at room temperature anything below 58 F can give these tropical fruit freezer damage.