Produce With A Long Shelf Life - The Produce Moms

Some fruits and vegetables can last weeks, even months, with proper storage. If you’re trying to cut back on grocery store runs, consider adding these produce items to your cart.

Long-lasting fruits and vegetables

Carrots

Carrots can last weeks to months when stored properly. The key is either keeping them in water or keeping them very dry.

To store dry:  Cut off the tops of the carrots. Pat carrots completely dry with a paper towel. If the carrots came in a plastic bag, place a paper bag inside the plastic bag. It will absorb moisture. When the paper bag is saturated, swap it out for another one.

To store wet: Cut off the tops of the carrots. Place the carrots in a container full of water and refrigerate. When the water gets cloudy, replace it with fresh water.

Recipe To Try: Balsamic Honey Glazed Carrots

Apples

Everyone loves apples so it’s a great fruit to have around the house. While apples can be stored on the counter for up to a week or two, they last even longer when stored in the refrigerator — up to several months! Store apples in the crisper drawer, away from other produce items, at the coldest temperature possible (31-35 degrees, ideally). Add a damp paper towel to add humidity.

Produce Moms Tip: Apple varieties with thicker skin last the longest.

Beets

As soon as you get them home from the store, separate the beets from their leaves. Store the beets in a plastic bag (perforated is ideal) in the crisper drawer in the fridge for two weeks up to a month.

Recipe To Try: Roasted Beets (in a slow cooker)

Cabbage / Red Cabbage 

Cabbage is an all-star produce item. It’s cheap, versatile, and has a great shelf life! Wrap cabbage in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to two months. Don’t wash cabbage until right before you prepare it.

Recipe To Try: Braised Red Cabbage Lentil Sloppy Joes

Citrus

For the longest shelf life, citrus items like oranges, lemons, and limes should be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator but brought to room temperature before eating. Keep citrus dry when storing it to prevent mold but rinse it off right before eating. When refrigerated, citrus can last up to a couple of weeks.

Recipe To Try: Lemon Whipped Feta Veggie Dip

Garlic

Garlic goes great in just about any dish and it lasts for months without going bad, so go ahead and buy extra! Garlic should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Store it in a dark kitchen cabinet or in a paper bag on the counter. Once you begin to break the garlic bulb into individual cloves, the garlic’s lifespan shortens — lasting about 10 days.

Produce Moms Tip: Roasted garlic can be stored up to two weeks in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer. Squeeze it onto crackers, sandwiches, grilled meats, pasta, or pizza for extra flavor.

Potatoes

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place like a basement. For the longest shelf life, remove them from their plastic bag and store them in a cardboard box, paper bag, or mesh bag. This allows for more ventilation. Potatoes that have sprouted are still good to eat but avoid potatoes that are shriveled or squishy.

Recipe To Try: Steakhouse Baked Potatoes

Onions

Unpeeled, uncut onions will last many months when stored properly. Similar to potatoes, onions like a cool, dry spot away from sunlight. Onions need to breathe so ditch the plastic bag and store them in a mesh or paper bag.

Sweet onions have a higher moisture content and typically have a shelf life of about two weeks. To maximize shelf life, wrap sweet onions in a paper towel and store in the refrigerator.

Related: Read our guide to onions and never guess which kind of onion to use in your dish again!

Pomegranates 

Store whole pomegranates in the refrigerator for several weeks or up to a month. Pomegranate seeds can be frozen and stored in an air-tight container or tightly sealed bag. To freeze, spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze until frozen, about two hours. Transfer the frozen seeds into your storage container and store for several months.

Produce Moms Tip: Learn how to open a pomegranate without making a mess!

Turnips 

Turnips are low carb and a great source of vitamin C. They can last up to 5 months in the refrigerator! For best results, wrap turnips in a damp paper towel and place them in a mesh or perforated bag in the crisper drawer or lowest refrigerator shelf.

Recipe To Try: Oven Roasted Turnips

Brussels Sprouts 

Brussels Sprouts can last several weeks when refrigerated. They like cold temperatures and high humidity. Wrap unwashed sprouts in a damp paper towel and place them in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer.

Recipe To Try: Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato Hash

Parsnips

Parsnips are affordable, versatile, and can last up to three weeks. Remove tops before storing them. If they are left attached, they can draw moisture out of the parsnip and cause them to go bad early. Store them unwashed and loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.

Parsnips can also be frozen. To freeze, wash, peel, and then dice them into 1-inch cubes. Blanch the cubes for 2 minutes. Cool cubes immediately in ice water. Drain well and then place in freezer bags for up to 10 months.

Related: How To Select and Serve Parsnips 

Rutabaga 

Rutabagas can be eaten raw or cooked. They’re great mashed liked potatoes or added to stew or salads. They can also last many months so they are great to have around the house. Store rutabagas in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Blanched rutabaga can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Recipe To Try: Oven-Baked Garlic & Parmesan Rutabaga Fries 

Winter Squash

Winter squash like butternut, acorn, or spaghetti squash, can last up to three months. Store winter squash in a cool, dry place. High humidity will cause squash to go bad faster. Typically, a pantry shelf works fine for storing winter squash. Frozen squash will last up to eight months in the freezer!

Produce Moms Tip: Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave! 

Stock up on these long-lasting fruits and vegetables so you’ll have fresh produce in the house, even with fewer grocery trips.

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Produce With A Long Shelf Life

Kristin Ahaus

Author: Kristin Ahaus

Kristin Ahaus is the Director of Content and Communications for The Produce Moms. Her focus and passion is helping all of TPM's brand partners share their stories while also helping consumers understand how to select, serve and store fresh produce. Connect with Kristin on LinkedIN.

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