Long-Lasting Fruits & Vegetables for a Well-Stocked Kitchen
When trips to the grocery store are limited, it’s essential to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables that last a long time so you can continue to create healthy meals at home. Here’s a list of 16 fresh produce items with a long shelf life to keep your kitchen well-stocked.
When stored properly, these fresh produce items can last weeks or even months. For more tips on how to pick, prepare and store your favorites fruits and veggies, visit our Produce Tips section!
With more than 600 types of potatoes sold in the US, the possibilities are endless. While potatoes sometimes get a bad rep, skin-on potatoes are full of Vitamin C, potassium and Vitamin B6. Whether you’re looking for healthy ways to top a baked potato, different ways to season roasted potatoes or just healthy potato recipes, we’ve got you covered.
How to Store Potatoes:
Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Light exposure can cause them to turn green. A perforated plastic or paper bag offers the best environment.
Don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator! When stored at colder temperatures, the starch in a potato converts to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration.
Onions are a staple in our kitchen and we use them in multiple meals each week. They’re essential to adding flavor to everything from soups and chili to meatballs and breakfast burritos.
How to Store Onions:
Onions should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air movement. Do not store onions in plastic bags, instead opt for a mesh bag. Cut onions can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days
With so many varieties, apples can easily go sweet or savory and enjoyed as a snack, dessert, on a salad – the possibilities are endless! Check out these 40 Apple Recipes or this handy guide to apple varieties so you know which to use for snacking, cooking or baking.
How to Store Apples:
Store unwashed apples in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Avoid placing apples near strong-smelling foods, such as onions or garlic, since apples can easily take of the odor of other foods.
This kid-favorite veggie can simply be served with a side of ranch for dipping, roasted (bringing out a natural sweetness), steamed, or shredded and added to muffins, soups, mac n cheese, meatballs and more.
How to Store Carrots:
Refrigerate carrots in plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Place a paper towel in the bag to absorb excess moisture (and change when it become saturated) and keep carrots from rotting.
Pears come in over 3,000 varieties! When selecting pears at the store, remember to Check the Neck. Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields, it’s ripe! Great for snacking, desserts, smoothies and more.
How to Store Pears:
Ripen pears at room temperature, on the counter or in a fruit bowl. Do not refrigerate unripe pears. Once they are ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator to extend their life by several days.
Beets get a bad rep due to their earthy taste, but roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and makes them perfect for adding to salads, blending into smoothies and more.
How to Store Beets:
Store beets in the refrigerator with tops loose in an unsealed plastic bag. If kept from moisture, beets can last for several weeks or up to a couple of months. If your beets have stems attached, chop them off, wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel and keep them in the crisper. Greens will keep 3-4 days.
Fresh citrus like grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and mandarins are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Citrus can help keep those pesky colds away. Try your hand at one of these 16 Kid-Friendly Citrus Recipes!
How to Store Citrus:
Store citrus at room temperature for a few days days. Ripe citrus can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Don’t store citrus in a plastic bag or container, instead use a mesh bag or leave loose.
Cabbage is full of Vitamins K, C and B6, along with a whole list of other nutrients. Look for firm heads of cabbage with crisp leaves and a nice luster. Turn into a delicious coleslaw or roast and add to this Rainbow Buddha Bowl for a fun dinner.
How to Store Cabbage:
Keep cabbage wrapped in plastic or stored in a plastic container. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 1 month.
9. Winter Squash
Winter squash, like acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash, are all in peak season. We love to roast winter squashes to bring out their natural sweetness. You can also chop and saute for a delicious one-pot meal, or use spaghetti squash as a delicious pasta substitute.
How to Store Butternut Squash:
Store winter squash in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month. Once cut, wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Parsnips are a root veggie, closely related to the carrots. In fact, they look just like pale carrots! We love to roast them to bring out their natural sweetness, but they can also be pureed for a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes.
How to Store Parsnips:
Store unwashed parsnips wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Cooked parsnips should be refrigerated and used within 3 days.
Garlic adds a ton of flavor to just about any dish. You can roast whole cloves to spread on bread or chop and add to your favorite recipes.
How to Store Garlic:
Store garlic in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cabinet. If stored properly, whole bulbs can last up to 6 months!
12. Lemons & Limes
Both lemons and limes are in season are great for adding flavor to dishes. Juice and use for a fresh, homemade salad dressing, use to season chicken, fish or veggies, or combine to add zing to these Baked Avocado Fries!
How to Store Lemons & Limes:
Store lemons and limes separately in sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to a month. When stored at room temperature, lemons and limes should last about a week or two.
This crunchy veggie is best known by kids as the base of Ants on a Log, but can also be used in many different ways to add flavor and texture to dishes. Chop and add to a potato salad, use as a base for soups, add crunch to salads and more.
How to Store Celery:
Wrap celery in tightly aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
14. Sweet Potatoes
Sweetpotatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese and fiber. Mashed them for a tasty vegetarian quesadilla, bake them as chips, roast as part of a sheet pan dinner or add to a breakfast parfait (yes, really!).
How to Store Sweetpotatoes:
Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place like the pantry for up to 2 weeks. Keep them in a loosely covered bag to allow for air circulation. Do not refrigerate raw sweet potatoes, as doing so can alter their taste and flavor.
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. While they may look difficult to seed, it’s actually fairly easy to do (watch here). The arils are perfect for snacking, adding to salads or dressing up avocado toast!
How to Store Pomegranates:
Store pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks. Once pomegranates been seeded, the seeds can be frozen in a tightly sealed bag.
16. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have made a serious comeback the last few years, and my favorite way to prepare them in by simply tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them in the oven, which brings out their natural sweetness. If you weren’t a fan of “stinky” Brussels sprouts as a kid, try them this way!
How to Store Brussels Sprouts:
Store Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to one week. Sprouts still on the stalk will stay fresh longer than those sold individually.
Thank you for this great list of longer lasting produce. I am sharing with local YMCA. Of course I want my customers and patients to gobble up their fruits and veggies daily however; the shopping experience during the “COVID slow the spread” requires us to shop less often. I also use “green bags” to extend freshness another 1-2 weeks.