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Nutrition Articles

The Shelf Life of Fruits and Vegetables

Plan Meals and Grocery Trips Using this Time Table

In addition to storing your fruits and veggies properly, it's good to know approximately how long the fresh stuff will last. Plan your trip to the grocery or farmer's market accordingly so that your foods are at the peak of freshness when you plan to prepare them, and you're not throwing away food that's gone bad before you get a chance to use it.

So, how long will it last?
Once you've brought it home and stored it properly, you can prioritize your produce. First, eat the things that will spoil quickly, such as lettuce and berries. Save the longer-lasting foods (like eggplant and oranges) for later in the week.

1-2 Days 2-4 Days 4-6 Days 7+ Days
Green beans


Brussels sprouts


Hard Squash



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Member Comments

  • I think a lot of this list depends on how long the items sit in the store. I find fresh veggies and fruit from my garden keep much longer then these guidelines. I love artichokes but way to often they look like they have been in the store for weeks with brown edges to the leaves, choosing your supposedly fresh fruit and vegetables wisely should be a first step in this process.
  • my veggies keep a lot longer than these guidelines :(
  • I put bananas in the fridge as soon as they turn yellow. They'll last a few days, although the skin will gradually turn black. Before they start to soften, I slice them and freeze in zip lock bags for smoothies or eating slices by themselves. Most fruits can be frozen that way also (peeled kiwi fruit and citrus fruit sections, strawberries, blueberries, seedless grapes, pitted or unpitted cherries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.) and used in smoothies (except for unpitted cherries) or eaten as is (they are like instant sherbet, although you also can blend them as ice cream consistency if you want). I also freeze individual portions of celery, seedless cucumber, greens, radishes, onions, bell peppers. etc.) to use in smoothies or for cooking. If you know what fruits and veg you like in smoothies or green drinks, you can freeze the right amounts for the recipe in a single bag.

    Onions will keep uncut in the fridge for months if you wrap them in paper towels. Mix mashed avocado with lemon juice and freeze in plastic bags, thaw in fridge when you want to use them. Sometimes I freeze them flattened in ziplock bags for stacking and quick thaw, but they freeze fine just tossed into the bag without flattening also. Don't add anything but lemon or lime juice - tomatoes will make them too watery, for instance.

    I put cut veggies and fruits like berries or grapes in glass bowls with tight rubber lids, sometimes with a folded paper towel to absorb moisture. Green bags or green boxes can be used the same way mainly for uncut veg and fruit. Check every day to wipe off moisture and change paper towels. Don't expect miracles, but just getting an extra two or more days can really help. Even mushrooms can last a little longer this way. Lettuce blends from bags last a little longer for me in green boxes.
  • SANCHEZ9283
    Cantaloupe 5-6
    Blackberries 2-4
    Mango 5-6
    Kiwi 7+
    What about acorn squash didn't see it on list?
    I turn my refrigerator up a little higher and all fruits and veggie store last at least a 2 day life than listed os this chart to say thats the best time frame nutrient retainment
  • I have most of these for longer than listed and they last just fine. If I see something is wilting I use right away. Can always toss something in a stir fry.. I always store apples in cold veggie bin, last for months. My bananas last longer there too.
    I lived on a farm , we stored root veggies in root cellar for months.
  • It depends on a lot of factors. how fresh was it when you bought it? what temperature do you keep your fridge at? do you store them in plastic bags or tupperware or in nothing at all?

    All of these things will affect the freshness of your veggies/fruit.
  • I have most veg for over a week and I have had apples in the fridge for months.
    They may not be in tip top but they have not gone bad. most fruit last a week but not all. Bananas I don't eat until they go black any way.

  • My broccoli lasts well over a week, but my peaches rot the next day... Not sure this list is entirely accurate...
  • Huh. Puzzling list.

    I get apples, winter squash, potatos & onions at a local farmer in the fall. Kept in a cool garage, they keep just fine for months. Beets, cabbage & carrots are close. Several varieties of winter squash are better after some storage. Several items under that 7+ day list were our grandparents winter staples.
  • All of those veg that she advises will last only 7 days are keeper veg. they were all kept in a root cellar for 6 to 8 months in times past without refrigeration, but at around 50 degrees,(with humidity from the surrounding earth) and used til gone. this list is silly.
  • Hmmm...7 days for a cabbage? Perdue (the University) says up to 6 months at 32 F and I know that I've stored them for 5 in a cold shed without any reduction in flavor and I highly doubt any reduction of vitamins or minerals. Most grocery stores keep them for longer than 7 days and just peel off the outer leaves with any brown spots to keep them looking fresh.

    Maybe these are storage times for freshly picked, ripe foods like you can buy at a farmers market; not off season, had to travel and nowhere near really ripe from the vine produce we find at grocery stores.

About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.