handmadebykelly

The Complete Guide to Storing Winter Fruits & Vegetables

winter-vegetables

 I think I must stay longer in the produce section than any other part of the grocery store. My son Kai is always eating, so instead of unhealthy snacks, I like to load him up on healthy veggies and fruit. While he rarely complains, the downside of keeping so much fresh produce around is that it tends to go bad if I don’t wash, clean, and carefully cut up and prep it all for him (heaven forbid he peel his own orange. A lot of the time it just goes bad because I get too lazy to store it properly.  So instead of throwing away money by tossing bad produce in the garbage (I cringe every time I do this), I’ve compiled a guide to storing winter fruits and vegetables once they come home from the store.

 Apples

I love to bake apples. Instead of adding sugar, I sweeten it with a splash of apple juice. We even add pecans as a crunch to this dessert.

Storing instructions: It’s best to store apples loose in the refrigerator.

How long will they keep? 1 month (Firmer varieties like Granny Smith last longer.)

Oranges

Each year my mom sends a basket of oranges as Christmas gifts to dear friends.

Storing instructions: Maximize the shelf life by keeping your oranges loose in the fridge.

How long will they keep? up to 3 weeks

Pomegranates

My mom loves using pomegranates as part of her centerpieces. Personally, I love the tangy, sweet seeds inside.

Storing instructions: Refrigerate loose to extend the life of the fruit.

How long will they keep? 1 month

Bananas

I often substitute mashed bananas for sugar when baking muffins. The natural sweetness is all you really need.

Storing instructions: Store loose on the counter top.

How long will they keep? up to 1 week

Pears

I always cut pears and place them on my cheese plate for a colorful touch.

Storing instructions: Place loose in your refrigerator.

How long will they keep? 5–12 days depending on the pear variety

Star fruit

My family loves to eat star fruit. Not only is it sweet with a touch of tartness, it’s so pretty when you slice it up.

Storing instructions: Store loose in the fridge for ideal freshness.

How long will it keep? 1 week

Kiwi

Forget about peeling kiwis. I just slice in two and scoop the fruit directly from its skin. It’s its own little bowl.

Storing instructions: Keep in the refrigerator for best results.

How long will it keep? up to two weeks

Beets

When my son was little, my mom used to sneak puréed beets into his pancakes for extra nutrients. They turned the pancakes a fun bright pink.

Storing instructions: For fresh beets, cut the greens off the tops, leaving about two inches of stems. Place unwashed beets in a Glad Zipper 2-in-1 Gallon Bag, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, seal it, then keep them in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

How long will they keep? 2 weeks

Kale

My family loves baked crunchy kale chips. I drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder and bake for 25 minutes.

Storing instructions: Don’t rinse or remove the stems of the kale if you plan on storing it. Wrap the leaves in a dry paper towel, place them in a Glad Zipper 2-in-1 Gallon bag, then squeeze out as much air as you can when you close the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible when closing the bag. Store the bag of kale in the coldest part of the fridge. If your kale is already pre-cut, store it in a GladWare food protection container.

How long will it keep? 1–2 weeks

Carrots

I often toss a couple of handfuls of sliced carrots into a homemade soup. My family loves chicken and rice soup on a cool day.

Storing instructions: Keep carrots loose in the refrigerator.

How long will it keep? 3–4 weeks

Tomatoes

I love topping my black beans and rice, avocado slices, and cooked tilapia with fresh diced tomatoes.

Storing instructions: Leave tomatoes on the counter at room temperature.

How long will it keep? 3 days

Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a family favorite. I boil the potatoes before I peel. I find the skin comes off easier after they are boiled.

Storing instructions: Potatoes are best if stored whole, unwashed and unpeeled, at room temperature.

How long will it keep? 2–3 months depending on the variety

 Celery

My son and I love to regrow our celery. Cut off the bottom and place it in a shallow cup of water. In a few days, new stalks will form. When the temperature outside is right, you can plant it in the ground.

Storing instructions: Celery wilts quickly. To store whole heads of celery, puncture a Glad Zipper 2-in-1 Gallon Bag in several places to allow air to circulate, then keep it in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

How long will it keep? 2 weeks

Butternut Squash

My hubby loves butternut squash. It’s packed with vitamins like folate, potassium, and beta-carotene.

Storing instructions: Store in a cool room (50 degrees) and it can stay fresh a long time. It will rapidly spoil if stored in the fridge.

How long will it keep? 1—3 months

 Lettuce

Sure, lots of families use lettuce as a base for their salads. My weird family just eats plain romaine lettuce leaves as a snack while watching TV.

Storing instructions:

Lightly dampen a paper towel and wrap a whole head of lettuce with it to keep it crisp, then place it in an airtight Glad Zipper 2-in-1 Gallon Bag.

How long will it keep? 1 week

Broccoli

To use fewer pots while making dinner, I often toss raw or frozen broccoli florets in with my boiling spaghetti noodles. They are both ready at about the same time. I simply separate the broccoli from the noodles after they are drained.

Storing instructions: Store as a whole bunch in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

How long will it keep? 1–2 weeks

Cauliflower

My mom makes the best mashed cauliflower. She mixes it with cream cheese. I often prefer it to mashed potatoes.

Storing instructions: Store as a whole bunch in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

How long will it keep? 1–2 weeks

 Cucumber

I don’t even have to cut the cucumber up for my son. He will eat it whole like he does a carrot.

Storing instructions: Leave them at room temperature—cucumbers spoil rapidly in the fridge.

How long will it keep? 1 week

Brussels Sprouts

Some kids steer clear of Brussels sprouts. Luckily, I have a kid who will eat them. I often bake them in the oven drizzled with olive oil and topped with salt and garlic powder so they are nice and crispy.

Storing instructions: Keep refrigerated in an un-lidded container in the refrigerator. the outer leaves may wilt, but the insides will remain intact.

How long will it keep? 1 week

Sweet Potatoes

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I acquired a taste for sweet potatoes. They are now one of my favorites. I love to eat them baked, while my son loves sweet potato fries.

Storing instructions: Store in dark, cool pantry.

How long will it keep? up to 1 month

image: Getty/Jupiterimages

This post was sponsored by Glad