Which foods go in the fridge, and which can be stored at room temperature? How can you extend the shelf life of strawberries, lettuce leaves, a halved avocado, a lemon or onions? Discover small and easy to apply tips that will help you save time and avoid food waste.

How to keep fruits and vegetables longer?

Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber... Fruits and vegetables are foods with incredible nutritional qualities! However, once purchased, you need to know how to store them correctly so that they do not lose any of their taste and nutritional qualities. And it's not always easy to figure out! With a few simple tips and techniques, you can save time and money, avoid unnecessary waste and extend the life of your food. No more guilt every time you throw away a moldy fruit or vegetable!

What fruits and vegetables should not be kept in the refrigerator?

When we buy fruits and vegetables, we all have the habit of putting them in the refrigerator. But before asking ourselves how to store them properly, let's first ask ourselves if this is a good reflex... The answer is no, not for all fruits and vegetables! If some of them need to be kept cool, others need to be kept at room temperature, at about 20 degrees. Find out which fruits and vegetables should not be kept in the fridge.

The fruits

  •     Stone fruits (peach, nectarine, nectarine, apricot, avocado...);
  •     Bananas: the temperature of the refrigerator prevents their maturation, and they will blacken very quickly when you take them out;
  •     Tomatoes: it's the same, they won't be able to ripen properly, and may lose their flavor and taste quality!


  •     Garlic: it must be kept in a dry, cool and dark place, but not in the fridge;
  •     Onions: they should be kept in a cool, dry place, at room temperature, except if they are already cut, they can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container;
  •     Potatoes and sweet potatoes: this vegetable considered as a starch thanks to its richness in starch must be, as the garlic and the onion, preserved in a dry and fresh place, protected from the light.
  •     Mushrooms ;
  •     Aromatic herbs.

Placed in the refrigerator, all these fruits and vegetables will see the phenomenon of oxidation accelerate or on the contrary the process of maturation slow down, which can make them soften or lose their savour. 

How to store fresh fruits and vegetables in summer or when they are ripe?

It is possible to store these fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, but under certain conditions: when it is very hot, when there is a heat wave, or when the fruits and vegetables have already ripened at room temperature outside the refrigerator and you want to keep them a little longer to prevent them from rotting. 

Storage of fruits and vegetables: how to keep them in the fridge?

For fruits and vegetables (both those that go in the fridge right away, or those that go in after a few days of ripening at room temperature), don't keep them for more than a few days in the fridge, a week maximum, and remember to put them in the fruit and vegetable bin.

    Grapes, celery, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, leeks... Fresh berries and fresh vegetables that go in the fridge keep better when they are in their original packaging;
    Keep chestnuts, chestnuts and zucchini in a paper bag in the fridge;
    Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons...) have a thick skin that protects them from the air and allows them to be easily preserved outside the refrigerator.

Climacteric fruits

When you store your fruit, you have to be careful with the mixtures, whether in the fridge or in the basket! Indeed, some fruits called climacteric fruits continue to ripen after being harvested. They give off ethylene gas which helps the ripening process of the other fruits next to them. So it all depends on your needs: if you want your still-green fruit to ripen faster, put it in a basket next to climacteric fruit, but if it is already ripe, avoid it! We can mention bananas, figs, apples, which are particularly known to ripen other fruits, but also pears, mangoes, kiwis, melons, guavas...

How to store red fruits in the refrigerator?

Like all fresh fruits or berries, the best way to store red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, cherries...) is in their original packaging, plastic or not! Plastic bags with small openings keep the fruit fresh longer by eliminating moisture.

Before storing them in the refrigerator, wash strawberries, raspberries and other berries in a mixture of one third vinegar and two thirds water. This will disinfect the fruit and reduce the risk of mold. Rinse them with water and dry them carefully before storing them for several weeks.

Another way to keep them longer is to freeze them! You can freeze berries whole, in small pieces or in a jar with syrup.

When I store my fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, what temperature should I choose?

The ideal place to store fruits and vegetables that go in the refrigerator is the fruit and vegetable bin at the bottom of the fridge. Indeed, it is there that their temperature of conservation will be optimal: included between eight and ten degrees, it will allow a good maturation of food.  

How to preserve your fruits and vegetables thanks to dehydration!

To preserve fruits and vegetables for a long time, there is a technique: dehydration. "Dehydration dries the product by removing all its water, but does not remove its qualities in terms of taste and nutritional values. This method allows you to keep your vegetables for one year in jars placed in a cool, dry and dark place. Moreover, it is a good alternative for those who would like to eat all year round vegetables that are not necessarily in season", notes the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in its article "How to preserve your vegetables?" (Source 1).

In order to use this process, you will need a dehydrator or oven. "Using the latter, you will dry your vegetables very slowly between 30 and 40°C after blanching them first. Keep an eye on it from time to time to check the drying". The only drawback: it's a time-consuming technique, not ideal if your schedule is already busy... 

Tips to keep fruits and vegetables longer without a fridge

Some techniques exist to slow down the ripening of certain fruits and vegetables.


If you need a few drops of lemon for a recipe or drink, pierce the whole fruit with a fork instead of cutting it in half. This way, you can squeeze out what you need without drying out the whole lemon.


Slip the onions into a clean sticky, and tie a knot between each bulb. It may sound strange, but the mesh material allows just enough air to pass through to help the vegetable stay fresh.


It is well known that mushrooms are waterlogged. Therefore, they can't be stored in the fridge for more than 5 days, otherwise they will get wet and rot! Instead, store them in a paper bag in a dry place. If they are too dry when you take them out, you can rinse them quickly in the sink, they will return to their original state.


Avocados contain enzymes that produce a brown pigment when exposed to oxygen, which is why when cut in half they are so difficult to preserve. To prevent this reaction, sprinkle it with lemon juice. The citric acid will help prevent browning for at least a day. You can also store avocado slices with large pieces of onion.

The same gases that make your eyes burn when you chop an onion will prevent your avocado from oxidizing. As long as the onion only touches the skin of the avocado, there will be no change in taste.

The lettuce

Did you make a little too much lettuce for your salad? Store the remaining leaves in a container with a sheet of paper towel on top, then seal it with plastic wrap. The paper towel absorbs moisture, which turns the leaves brown, so remember to replace the sheet when it gets wet. Another tip: sprinkle the leaves with a pinch of salt, which also helps bring out the extra moisture.


Carrots are a wonderful food rich in beta-carotene. In order to store them better, you can clean the carrots, cut the tops off to about a centimeter, wrap them in paper towels (or bee wrap, which is more environmentally friendly!) and place them in an airtight container. Store them in the fruit and vegetable bin of the fridge


 Source 1: Article "How to store vegetables properly," Ministry of Agriculture and Food, September 23, 2020.