As picturesque as it appears on your kitchen table, a fruit bowl isn´t necessarily the best place to store fruit. To keep your all your produce fresh, tangy, and tasty—and not overripe, moldy, or mealy— you have to give different types different treatment.
The next time you return from the grocery store or farmer’s market, don’t unpack everything just yet. First, review our comprehensive guide to the best ways for storing different fruits.
1. Keep tropical fruits warm
If a fruit grows in warm, balmy weather, it probably doesn´t belong in the fridge. Store tropical fruits, including pineapples, mangos, bananas, and melons, at room temperature.
2. Keep berries and rhubarb cool
Most berries spoil quickly spoil, so store your strawberries and raspberries in the fridge—ideally in their original packaging.
When storing rhubarb, wrap it in plastic before finding it a spot in your fridge or freezer.
3. Refrigerate the right fruit at the right time
You can allow not-yet-quite-ripe pears, plums, and peaches to sweeten at room temperature. Once these fruits are fully ripe, however, you may refrigerate them to make them last longer.
To determine ripeness, give your produce a gentle squeeze—if there’s a give, that’s a sign it’s sweet, juicy, and ready to gobble down.
4. Slow citrus ripening
As with peaches, pears, and plums, you should store oranges and grapefruit in the refrigerator if you’d like to slow their ripening.
Lemons and limes, however, are typically fairly hearty and often absorb flavors from the fridge, so they´re best kept at room temperature.
5. Never freeze a navel orange
Fun fact: You can freeze every other type of orange, but freezing a navel orange will turn it bitter.
6. Turn that pineapple upside down
To maximize sweetness, store your pineapple upside down for a day or two.
Sugar is concentrated at the bottom of the pineapple, so this allows the sweetness to filter down throughout the body.
7. Break up bananas
Bananas emit ethylene gas, an odorless, colorless substance that quickens ripening. Keep bananas away from other bananas, in addition to any other fruits you’d like to ripen more slowly.
Ethylene-sensitive fruits, which include apples, melons, and mangos, should be kept away from bananas to avoid premature ripening.
8. Keep your produce whole
Once you start chopping up and tearing apart your fruits, you destroy cells and encourage the growth of microorganisms.
To lengthen their lives, refrain from cutting, peeling, or de-stemming fruit until right before you take a nibble.
9. Serve at room temperature
No matter where you store it, bring fruit to room temperature before taking your first bite.
Whether you´re munching on a banana, peach, pineapple, lychee, or cactus fruit, room temperature fruits carry the best and brightest flavor.