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How to store fall produce so those apples, pumpkins and pears last longer


SheKnows Editorial

Fall produce is so good it can almost make the end of summer feel like a good thing. But to make the most of the season (and not have to deal with cleaning rotted pumpkin off your fireplace mantel), it’s important to store your favorite fruits and veggies properly. These tips below will help you enjoy the best the season has to offer, before the weather gets too cold and you officially swap out fresh fruit for hot cocoa.

how to store fall produce
Image: Pavliha/Getty Images

1. Apples

Shelf life: Refrigerated apples can last for anywhere between four weeks and several months, as long as they’re stored properly.

Storage: Store your apples in the crisper drawer of your fridge. A little humidity helps, so if your fridge’s produce drawers don’t have moisture control, you can lay a damp paper towel over the apples. And don’t store any bruised apples with the rest of the bunch, or the ethylene gas emitted can turn them all overripe.

2. Pumpkin

Shelf life: Pumpkins can last between one and three months when stored properly.

Storage: Store pumpkins in a cool, dark, dry place. Don’t store pumpkins on cement floors in your basement or garage, as this can cause them to rot. Put down a piece of plywood or cardboard first.

3. Pears

Shelf life: Five days after ripening.

Storage: Pears don’t ripen on the tree. You should leave your pears at room temperature until ripe — the neck of the pear should yield slightly to pressure. Once ripe, store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to five days.

More: 13 delicious ways to use your leftover cabbage

4. Figs

Shelf life: About five days.

Storage: Store ripe figs in the fridge in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate or bowl covered with plastic wrap.

5. Sweet potatoes

Shelf life: Two weeks.

Storage: Store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place (not the fridge), away from onions. Why? Because they each emit a gas that will cause the other to spoil.

6. Winter squash

Shelf life:

Acorn: Four weeks.

Butternut: One to six months.

Buttercup: 13 weeks.

Blue Hubbard: One to six months.

Spaghetti: Four to five weeks.

Storage: Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place.

7. Grapes

Shelf life: Up to three weeks.

Storage: Remove any shriveled, moldy or loose grapes from your bunch. Store grapes in the packaging you bought them in (if the bag isn’t perforated, snip it in a couple of places with kitchen shears to make some small ventilation holes) in the refrigerator, away from foods that emit strong odors, which they may absorb.

8. Shallots

Shelf life: One month.

Storage: Store shallots in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area (not the refrigerator).

9. Brussels sprouts

Shelf life: Three to five days.

Storage: Keep Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in the fridge (poke a couple of holes in the bag for ventilation).

10. Cauliflower

Shelf life: Four to seven days.

Storage: Store cauliflower in the fridge in a plastic bag with a few holes poked in it for ventilation, along with a paper towel to absorb moisture that could cause it to prematurely rot.

More: 19 scrumptious ways to eat butternut squash this fall

11. Beets

Shelf life: Two to three weeks.

Storage: Store beets in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

12. Broccoli

Shelf life: Two to three days.

Storage: Wrap broccoli in damp paper towels, and store in the refrigerator.

13. Cabbage

Shelf life: Three weeks to two months.

Storage: Keep cabbage in a plastic bag in your vegetable drawer.

14. Carrots

Shelf life: Four to five weeks.

Storage: Remove carrot tops, then store the whole carrots in a container of water in the refrigerator, swapping out the water every day. You can also wrap the carrots in damp paper towels and keep them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.

15. Persimmons

Shelf life: Two to three days once ripe.

Storage: Keep both fuyu and hachiya persimmons in a single layer at room temperature (buy hachiyas slightly underripe, then leave them at room temperature until they’re supersoft and almost bursting at the seams before eating). Refrigerating them can cause damage to the fruit’s flesh.

16. Pomegranates

Shelf life: Up to three months.

Storage: Keep pomegranates in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or airtight container.

More: 11 reasons apples are superior to pumpkins in every way

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