The CHILL/OUT Debate

Is your fresh garden produce best stored in or out of refrigeration?

Tips for extending the life of your delectable backyard bounty

These tips will prolong the life, nutritive value and taste of your scrumptious garden rewards:

  1. Try to keep your produce in its most natural form. Don’t wash it or de-stem until you’re ready to use it (exceptions: wash and dry leafy greens. Also, remove carrot leaves, and store beet greens separate from beets). If you need to remove dirt, gently brush it off.

  2. Avoid storing produce in airtight plastic bags. When using plastic bags as containers, open and perforate them. Most produce still needs air.

  3. Learn which fruits and veggies stores well together. *Starred produce speeds the ripening of the produce around it. 

  4. As a rule of thumb, store fruits and vegetables in separate containers/crisper drawers.


Store these common foods on the counter or in a pantry:

  • *Tomatoes
  • *Onions (avoid storing potatoes and onions together)
  • Potatoes (are light sensitive, best in dark storage)
  • Sweet potatoes/yams (in a paper bag.)
  • Winter Squashes
  • *Eggplant (best if eaten right after picking)
  • Corn (best if eaten immediately following picking.)
  • Garlic
  • *Summer squash (if you plan to eat it in a few days.)
  • Shallots
  • Rutabaga

Allow *avocados, *nectarines, *peaches, *pears, *plums, *apples and *melons to ripen on the counter FIRST and then refrigerate when fully ripe.

These last longer in a chilly environment:

  • Peppers
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • All berries
  • Cucumbers (try wrapping loosely in a moist paper towel)
  • *Lettuce and brussel sprouts with a few outer leaves removed, also in a light towel.
  • Citrus (best not to have apples and citrus in the same compartment.)
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • *Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Greens
  • Tomatillos