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Correct storage: How to keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer

Not only people have favorite places. Fruit and vegetables also prefer certain places. They do not wither or rot there. What does the optimal storage look like?

In the past, knowledge of the properties of food and their storage was passed on from generation to generation. Currently, however, most of them hardly know how to store fruit and vegetables properly. This is also observed by Prof. Dietlind Hanrieder, an expert in food science at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. "For example, all fruit from southern countries doesn't belong in the refrigerator," she explains.

Storage ABC

An overview of the storage preferences of all types of fruit and vegetables is provided by the storage ABC of the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center (NRW). You will find many foods here, from A for pineapple to Z for onion. We have summarized some storage preferences for you in a list:




  • Basement room, cool pantry
  • In a foil pouch


  • Basement room at ten to 13 degrees


  • Unripe fruits: dark, room temperature
  • Ripe fruits: refrigerator


  • Storage shelf at 15 degrees
  • Best hanging


  • Unripe fruits: pantry
  • Ripe fruits: the fridge's fruit compartment


  • Fruit compartment of the refrigerator


  • Storage compartment or side compartment of the refrigerator


  • fridge
  • In a closed container


  • Vegetable compartment of the refrigerator
  • In a damp cloth


  • Basement room at four to eight degrees
  • Dry and dark


Leeks / leeks

  • Vegetable compartment of the refrigerator

Mandarins / oranges



  • Vegetable compartment of the refrigerator


  • fridge
  • Airy container


  • fridge
  • In cling film or a damp cloth



  • Storage shelf
  • Dry and dark


  • Basement room or storage shelf
  • Dark box

Avoid food waste
Proper storage will prevent less food from being thrown away. "With every food that we throw away, we should also remember that there are valuable resources such as water, soil and human labor in the products," emphasizes Antonia Blumenthal, nutritionist at the consumer center in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Choosing the right neighbor

Many consumers know that apples emit the gas ethylene and thus cause fruit lying next to them in a bowl to ripen. But other types of fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, avocados, pears, figs, nectarines and plums also emit the ripening gas and thus have the same effect. You should therefore store these foods separately.

Apples to the cellar

"Apples are often served decoratively in a bowl. However, they would be better off in the refrigerator. Or even better in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, in the cellar, for example. Under optimal conditions, they can be stored there for up to five months", says Antonia Blumenthal.

Hang up bananas

Bananas, on the other hand, prefer a light, warmer place for storage. Hanging it is ideal to prevent brown spots, then the yellow fruit will last for a week.

Consume berries quickly

Berries rarely last that long. Soft berries such as raspberries, strawberries and currants stay fresh in the fruit and vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for only two to three days - blueberries a little longer.

Ute Gomm, nutritionist at the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE), advises regular stock control: "Berries that are infected with mold should be sorted out immediately so that they do not infect the others."

What to do with lemons

Lemons: Storage in the refrigerator should be avoided. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa / tmn)

The refrigerator is not ideal for lemons. "In the vegetable drawer, where the humidity is highest, they can even get moldy. It's best to keep them in the coolest room of the apartment in a wire basket so that the air can circulate," explains Dietlind Hanrieder. Therefore, they should never be stored in a plastic bag.

Lemons have often been in the trade for some time under excessively humid conditions. "If the warmth of the apartment comes along, mold growth begins very quickly. If the lemons touch, they can also infect each other," explains Hanrieder. Her tip: "Put a paper kitchen towel in between to reduce the risk." Lemons that have been lying next to a moldy one, but still look perfect themselves, can still be consumed.

Eggplants and tomatoes don't like each other

Vegetables that are sensitive to cold include both tomatoes and eggplant. An aubergine stays fresh for a maximum of ten days at ten to 13 degrees on the storage shelf. It should not lie next to fruits and vegetables that emit the ripening gas - eggplants are sensitive to ethylene. Tomatoes should also not be stored in the refrigerator, otherwise they will lose their aroma.

Store cauliflower and beans optimally

Beans and cauliflower, on the other hand, are much more sensitive and should be prepared quickly. Fresh raw beans, for example, should not be stored in a cool, dark place in an air-permeable container for longer than three days. If they have to endure longer, rot or cold damage can result.

Cauliflower also usually doesn't last longer than a day or two. Black spots indicate spoilage by blackening fungi. Then you shouldn't eat the cabbage. The molds could form toxic substances that are suspected of being carcinogenic. If the vegetables are already infected by a fungus, you should dispose of them completely. Because in addition to the visible areas, there is an invisible network of roots in the fungus, explains nutritionist Gomm.

Carrots last up to four weeks

Carrots should be removed from the foil packaging as soon as possible and moved to a dark, cool and dry environment. A distinction is made between bunched and washed carrots. Washed carrots sold in bulk can be kept in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for around four weeks; According to the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia, your green should be removed before storage, as it removes liquid from the vegetables.

How does salad stay fresh longer?

Iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce or radicchio let their leaves droop after just a few days. So that you stay crisp and fresh longer, you should pay attention to two features when buying:

  1. The stump of the head should be light and look fresh.
  2. The leaves should be firm.

Brown or scruffy spots can indicate damage during transport or incorrect storage and mean that the lettuce has a shorter shelf life.

Salad, headed or already cut, should be stored in the vegetable drawer - ideally wrapped in foil or a cloth. However, brown spots or rotten leaves must be removed beforehand. Already washed and cut lettuce should be dried well and placed in a fresh food box without dressing and should also be placed in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

Another trick is to cut the stalk of lettuce or endives. Then place the vegetables in a bowl with a little water. The salad stays fresh in the fridge for about a week.

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