11 Tricks to Make Fresh Fruits and Veggies Last Longer

So much produce, so much time.

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No matter how hard you’re trying not to waste food, everyone ends up throwing away a spoiled bunch of asparagus or moldy strawberries from time to time. (Worst: When your fruits and veggies start to spoil just a day or two after a massive food shopping.) Sometimes, you just can’t anticipate how your schedule unfold and you’ll find yourself with tons of food with no chance to eat it.

To keep that food fresh for as long as possible, you can make friends with science and use these clever tricks.

  1. Bananas: Wrap the stems in cling wrap to keep them from getting too ripe too fast. Even better: separate each banana from the bunch and wrap the stem individually. (On the other hand, if you’re craving banana bread, here’s how to make those bananas ripen faster.)

  1. Celery: Trim the ends, give them a rinse, and then wrap them in a paper towel and aluminum foil. Store them in the fridge and enjoy crispy celery stalks for days.

  2. Berries: Rinse in vinegar and water when you bring these home from the market.  This can help kill off any spores growing on the berry to prevent molding. Let them air dry completely after this rinse before storing them back in the fridge.

  3. Garlic: Keep garlic at room temperature for up to 10 days, and then store it in the freezer after that. Frozen garlic cloves are perfect for making a homemade vegetable stock. Whatever you do, do not store garlic in the fridge. Here are 13 other foods you shouldn’t keep in the fridge.

  4. Spinach: Pair these popular greens with a paper towel and store them in a zip-top bag. The paper towel helps absorb the excess moisture so the spinach won’t wilt quite so fast. If you still can’t finish these within seven to 10 days, try making a green smoothie. You can add an entire cup or two of spinach leaves to a smoothie without actually tasting it. 

  5. Tomatoes: Store these at room temperature, upside down, and spaced apart. The tomatoes ripen faster when the stem is exposed to air.

  6. Asparagus: Treat these spring veggies like a bouquet of flowers. Trim the bottoms, wrap the bunch in an elastic band, and store them in a glass or vase of water. Set them in the fridge. If possible, store them in a secure spot like the shelf on the door to prevent them from tipping over. (Watch this video to learn how to blanch asparagus.)

  7. Lemons: This citrus should also go in a zip-top bag in the fridge. You can keep these on the counter for a while, but they will start to dehydrate if you keep them out too long.

  8. Basil: Contrary to popular belief, these should be kept at room temperature; the basil leaves will wilt in the fridge. Instead, trim the stems, store in a glass of lukewarm water, and cover the leaves gently with a zip-top bag.

  9. Eggplant: Keep it in a cool spot, away from the sunlight. You’ll also want to keep this sensitive veggie away from other produce that is known for producing high amounts of ethylene, a naturally occurring gas that speeds up ripening. Some fruits and vegetables that give off high amounts of ethylene are bananas, tomatoes, and melons.

  10. Potatoes: Try storing these in a paper bag in a cool, dark place (like the bottom of your pantry or inside a cupboard). Whatever you do, keep them far from onions. These two foods might go beautifully together in your favorite dishes, but storing t