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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
It can be so confusing. You purchase fresh fruit from the farmers market, roadside
stand or grocery store and bring them home; now you need to decide where and how to
store them. Are they to be stored in the refrigerator or on the countertop?
We know that according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended
we eat between one and one half and 2 cups of fruit each day, depending upon age and
activity level. If we don’t store them properly, how do we maintain maximum flavor
without needing to throw them away?
Fresh fruits purchased from farmers markets and roadside stands are picked fresh and
are ready to consume after purchase. However, those purchased from the grocery store
are likely picked before they are fully ripe and shipped to the store so they can
survive the shipping process.
There are some fruits that will continue to ripen and should not be refrigerated until
they are mature. If they are refrigerated before they are ripe, it could cause them
to lose flavor and have a mealy texture. These fruits include:
If you want to speed up the ripening process, you can place the fruit in a single
layer in a large paper bag, fold the top down and check it every day to see if it
has become ripe. Once fully ripened it can be eaten and the remainder refrigerated
Some fruits are extremely perishable and must be refrigerated as soon as they are
brought home. These fruits will not continue to ripen after they have been picked.
Do not leave these on the counter at room temperature as it will speed the decay process.
These delicate fruits include:
There are some fruits that do not have a preference on where they are stored and can
be left at room temperature or stored in the refrigerator without any harm to the
quality or taste of the fruit. These fruits will not ripen after picking. These are
the ones you might store in a fruit basket on the counter. They include apples, clementines,
lemons, limes, oranges, and watermelon.
Before preparing or eating fresh fruits, rinse them under clean, running water; rub
fruits briskly with your hands or produce brush to remove dirt and surface microorganisms.
Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel after rinsing.
Once fruits are cut, they must be stored in the refrigerator immediately for food
safety reasons. This includes fruits bought at the store that are pre-cut or peeled.
Once cut or peeled, they should be refrigerated within 2 hours. If it is left at room
temperature for more than 2 hours, throw it away.
When shopping for fruits, look for those with no bruising, cut, or torn skin, since
this can cause them to spoil faster. Those that are excessively soft are at the end
of their lifespan. The fruit should be firm but not rock hard.
Always keep fruits separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing,
or storing. You do not want to risk cross contamination of fruit since it will not
likely be cooked.
The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Miller County Extension office
has information on storing fruits and vegetables.
Download the Storage Chart for Fruits and Vegetables.
For more info e-mail email@example.com or contact your local county Extension office.
You can also get great tips on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, and twitter at @MillerCountyFCS or by visiting our website at uaex.uada.edu/miller.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org