It is important to store fruits and vegetables properly so that you will receive all of the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Proper storage also keeps the quality of the freshness longer. Depending on how well you store fruits and vegetables can help you avoid getting food poisoning or foodborne illnesses.
Stem vegetables, such as tomatoes, can be left out at room temperature so that they will ripen. Vegetables such as summer squash, peppers and eggplant can then be stored in a refrigerator crisper. Tomatoes should not be refrigerated because they will become soft and lose their flavor.
Leafy Green Vegetables
After purchasing lettuce (or picking it out of a garden), it should be washed, rinsed and dried. After the lettuce has been dried, store it in plastic storage bags. Use paper towels to line the inside of the bags to keep condensation from building up. When storing herbs, take off the band and wash them. Once they have been dried, cut off the ends and place them in a cup of water. Cover the herbs with a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. Green vegetables in which you can cook such as spinach and kale, are to be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Tubers and Roots
Potatoes should be stored in a cool dark place with lots of ventilation. Other root vegetables--such as carrots, radishes and turnips--should be placed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator. Beets are to be stored in the refrigerator without a plastic bag.
The majority of fruits may be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. The key in storing fruit is to not purchase more than you plan on eating. Melons and honeydew are to be sliced and stored in plastic bags or containers. Berries--such as raspberries, strawberries and blue berries--are to be rinsed off and placed in the refrigerator. Bananas can be stored at room temperature.