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Fresh Produce Storage Requirements

Leafy Greens

Wash lettuce and other salad greens soon after you bring them home. Dry them well using a salad spinner. Pat them down with paper towels to remove excess moisture, then use paper towels to wrap them before storing in sealable plastic bags. They keep for three to five days. Store cooking greens such as kale, collards and chard in plastic bags as well. Rinse them ahead of time and shake them dry if you want them to be ready for immediate use. Even if you don't wash them before storing them, remove the twist ties to increase air flow.

Root Vegetables

Remove the greens from root vegetables such as carrots, beets and turnips; they suck moisture from the roots. Store beet and turnip greens separately, and compost the carrot greens or feed them to your rabbit. Store the roots in plastic bags in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Leave the tops on leeks and store them in plastic bags, away from other produce that might absorb their odor. Store onions, garlic, shallots, potatoes and yams at room temperature with plenty of air circulation, away from the light. Examine them regularly and remove any vegetables that start to blemish or sprout.

Fruit

Store unripe fruit such as pears, apricots and nectarines at room temperature until they ripen, then move them to the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Determine whether they are ripe by smelling them and squeezing them gently; ripe fruit is fragrant, and neither too hard nor too soft. Store apples at room temperature if you will be eating them within a week or two. They keep longer in the refrigerator, but be sure to store them away from carrots because the apples release ethylene gas, which can make the carrots bitter. Store citrus fruits at a cool room temperature (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) or unwrapped in the refrigerator.

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