Should I Refrigerate All Produce?
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Should I Refrigerate All Produce?

Get expert tips for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh.
Q. Is it necessary to refrigerate all produce?

A. Spuds, onions, and tomatoes need to be stored in a cool, dry place; all other vegetables should be refrigerated. But fruit is tricky: It shouldn't go into the fridge until at its peak. So keep items that continue to ripen after you bring them home -- apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, honeydews, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, pears, and plums -- at room temperature until they begin to soften, then transfer them to the crisper, says Ximena Jimenez, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson. (Although the cold will turn a banana's peel black, it won't affect the flesh.) All other fruits start to spoil as soon as they're picked, so they should go directly into the fridge. Be sure to separate fruits and veggies; many fruits contain the ripening agent ethylene. "You've heard that one bad apple spoils the bunch. In this case, any apple or banana spoils your veggies," Jimenez says.

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Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010.