What fruits can be stored in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “What fruits can be stored in the fridge?”, and what fruits and veggies should not be stored in the fridge?

What fruits can be stored in the fridge?

Processing and consumption of fruits generates tons of by-products daily. From bananas, the by-product production was estimated at 101 million tons in 2017, mainly peel, equivalent to 35–40% of the total weight of the fresh fruit. Processing of mango leads to the production of significant amounts of by-products mostly peel and kernels (seed) representing around 24% and 40% of fresh weight, respectively. The generated pineapple by-products, including the crown, peel, bottom, stem and trimmings, are a huge problem because they represent almost 60% of the total fresh weight (1).

Low-temperature storage is a post harvest technology used widely to extend postharvest life horticultural produce. Refrigerated storage of fruits and vegetables allows the preservation of their quality after harvest, because low temperatures decrease the speed of cell metabolism and delay plant senescence in general and fruit ripening in particular. However, certain tropical and subtropical fruits and vegetables are not suitable for this type of storage, since it causes the appearance of physiological disorders that negatively affect their quality. The whole set of these alterations is known as chilling injury. This physiological disorder is manifested at temperatures above 0°C, around 8°C for subtropical plant species and around 12°C for tropical ones (3).

Fresh fruits such as Apples, Berries, and Grapes, should be stored in the fridge in their original packaging. If the packaging is damaged, use plastic vent bags for refrigerating grapes, blueberries, cherries, or strawberries (5).

Other fruits that need to be refrigerated are Grapefruit, Lemon/Limes, Oranges, Pineapple, Rhubarb, and Watermelon, etc.

Always use separate, reusable plastic bags to preserve and organize your produce. If you can afford it, your best bet is to use lidded plastic containers or lightweight stainless steel containers. Because they are sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

Fruits and veggies should not be kept in the same container. Because some fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears release high concentrations of Ethylene gas, that can spoil the veggies such as lettuce and crucifers that are susceptible to it.

Ethylene gas produced by apples can cause potatoes to sprout, while cabbage and turnip can give their odors to pears and apples. At least store fruits and vegetables as far away from each other as possible. Wrapping fruits individually also helps to prevent cross-transfer of odors (4).

Fruits that need to ripen first on the counter

Fruits such as Apricots, Avocados, Guava, Kiwi, Mangoes, Melons, Nectarines, Papaya, Peaches, Bananas, and Plums need to ripen first on the counter before refrigeration (5). 

Recommended fruit storage time in the fridge 

Recommended fruit storage time in the fridge 

The refrigeration times recommended for fruits in the table below are just estimations (2,5). You will eventually need to use your senses to judge whether the fruit has spoiled or not.

Fruit Recommended refrigeration time Fruit Recommended refrigeration time 
Apples 3-4 weeks Melons (ripe)7-10 days 
Apricots (ripe)4-5 days Nectarine (ripe)3-5 days 
Avocado (ripe)3-5 days Oranges 2-3 weeks 
Blueberries 1-2 weeks Peaches (ripe)3-5 days 
Cherries 4-7 days Pear (ripe)5-7 days 
Cranberries 3-4 weeks Pineapple 3-5 days 
Gooseberries 2-3 days Plums (ripe)3-5 days 
Grapefruit 2-3 weeks Pomegranate 1-2 months 
Grapes 5-7 days Prickly pear (ripe)1-3 days 
Guava (ripe)3-4 days Raspberries 2-3 days 
Kiwi (ripe)5-7 days Rhubarb 5-7 days 
Mango (ripe)5-7 days Strawberries 3-5 days 
Watermelon 2 weeks 

Can I store fruit in a root cellar?

Depending on the temperature and humidity of your root cellar, some fruits can be stored in it. A cool, dark, and dry root cellar or a cupboard makes for a good storage place for fruits such as apples. You can keep your apples in the root cellar for up to 6 months. They will last longer and retain more flavor if kept in a fruit cellar in plastic bags or in cardboard boxes lined with plastic sheets (4).

Vegetables that require cool to cold, moist surroundings can be stored in any one of several types of outdoor storages. Earthen storages, from simple mounds to more elaborate root cellars, naturally provide cool, moist, dark, and even conditions for a fairly long period of time. All outdoor storages have the disadvantage of sometimes being inaccessible and are often subject to damage by rodents and other vermin (4).

Can you freeze your fruit?

Yes, you can freeze your fruit to extend its shelf-life. Most of the frozen fruits stay good for up to a year in the freezer. Frozen fruit can be processed into a smoothie, used to bake muffins, quick bread, added to hot cereal, mixed with yogurt, or used to make fruit sauce for waffles and pancakes (6).

How long can I store canned fruit?

Canned fruit, as long as it is unopened, can sit in the pantry for up to 1-2 years. The use-by date printed on the canned fruit package is an estimation of how long the fruit will maintain its peak quality. According to the USDA, high acid foods such as tomatoes and other fruit will keep their best quality up to 18 months; low acid foods such as meat and vegetables, 2 to 5 years.

Vegetables to keep in the fridge 

Some fruits and veggies need to be refrigerated to keep them fresh. These include Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Greens, Leeks, Mushrooms, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Root veggies (Turnips, Rutabagas, Parsnips), Spinach, and Summer Squash/Zucchini (5).

Produce you should not store in the fridge 

Produce including Onions, Potatoes, Winter Squash (like Butternut or Acorn), Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Bananas, and Persimmons should not be stored in the fridge.

Garlic and onions, that have not been peeled, can sit on the counter. Before storage, onions must be cured or allowed to dry for several weeks until the skins are papery and the roots are completely shrivelled and dry. Then, stored in a well-ventilated, dry, dark, cool place (4). Once peeled or cut, they need to be wrapped in clingfilm and stored in the fridge. Potatoes release high concentrations of Ethylene gas, therefore, should be refrigerated away from the rest of the produce.

For 10 to 14 days after harvest, potatoes should be cured at 45-60°F in darkness. After this period, the optimum storage temperature is 40°F; lower temperatures tend to turn the starch to sugar and sprouting will occur (4). 

Starchy foods such as potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. Instead of a plastic bag, use a basket to contain your potatoes, or else the potatoes will be spoiled due to trapped moisture. 

Produce that can do either way 

Produce that can be kept in the fridge as well as the counter includes Corn, Apricots, Avocados, Cantaloupe, Carambolas (Star Fruit), Figs, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Mangoes, Papayas, Peaches and Nectarines, Pears, and Plums, etc.

All these fruits and veggies are better off refrigerated if they are not to be consumed within 1-2 days of their purchase. 

Other FAQs about Fruits that you may be interested in.

Can you eat frozen fruit?

Can you eat frozen fruit straight from the freezer?

Can you eat fruit at night?

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “What fruits can be stored in the fridge?”, and what fruits and veggies should not be stored in the fridge?

References 

  1. Campos DA, Gómez-García R, Vilas-Boas AA, Madureira AR, Pintado MM. Management of Fruit Industrial By-Products—A Case Study on Circular Economy Approach. Molecules. 2020, 25, 320.
  2. Goldy, R. All fruit and vegetables are not created equal when it comes to proper storage conditions. 2019. Michigan State University.
  3. Sevillano, Laura, et al. Physiological, hormonal and molecular mechanisms regulating chilling injury in horticultural species. Postharvest technologies applied to reduce its impact. J Sci Food Agri, 2009, 89, 555-573.  
  4. MacKay, Susan. Home storage of fruits and vegetables. No. 634.0468 M151h. New York, US: Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service, 1992.
  5. Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Best Flavor. 2012. UC Davis Postharvest Technology.
  6. Garden-Robinson, Julie. Food freezing guide. 2004. North Dakota State University.