Uncluttering your refrigerator’s crisper

crisperWe joke in our home that the refrigerator’s crisper drawer should really be called the molding drawer. It seems to be the place where fruits and vegetables go to rot. We put things in, forget about them, and then find them weeks later covered in a green goo. Also, when you put fruits and vegetables in the drawer, all of the healthiest items in the refrigerator are instantly out of sight. Only the pizza leftovers and soda pop are right at eye-level.

A number of months ago, I started to wonder about my refrigerator and if the crisper drawer should even be used at all. I then went on a quest to learn about the fruits and vegetables in my refrigerator and the best ways to store them. The information I found was enlightening:

Apples: According to the Purdue Horticulture Dept., apples are best stored in plastic bags with air holes in a 30-32?F refrigerator. They recommend putting them on shelves instead of the crisper drawer to permit proper circulation and humidity. Do not freeze.

Bananas: From Chiquita Banana, “To slow the ripening process once bananas reach your preferred ripeness, put them in the refrigerator. Even though our original jingle warned consumers not to refrigerate bananas, it’s really OK. The skin may turn dark, but the fruit will be just right for several days.” (It doesn’t say anything about them having to be stored in the crisper drawer.)

Corn: Being from a family of corn growers, I know this one without having to reference anything. In husk, use it the day you buy it. If you’re not going to use it that same day, remove the husk, vacuum seal it, and store it in the freezer.

Bell peppers: According to the Texas Produce Association, bell peppers can handle short-term storage for seven days or less at 45-50 degrees with 85-95 percent humidity. If you store a pepper below 42 degrees it will suffer from chill injury. (Which means that I need to use peppers the day I buy them. My refrigerator sits below 42 degrees.) Additionally, don’t store next to apples because of a chemical reaction.

Tomatoes: According to the Penn State Agriculture Dept., tomatoes should be stored in an aerated basket on your counter, out of direct sunlight. Putting them in the refrigerator will cause them to lose their aroma and flavor.

Potatoes: According to the Delicious Organic website, “Because their starch turns to sugar in the refrigerator, they should be kept in a dark, dry, cool area like a cellar or a brown bag. However, out of sight, out of mind, and our south Florida temperatures cause them to sprout too quickly and we don’t have cellars so what to do? Store them in the refrigerator but let them come to room temperature for a day (take them out in the morning) so that their sugar can return to starch.”

Herbs and lettuce: According to the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, “Lettuce should be rinsed under cold running water, drained, packaged in plastic bags, and refrigerated.” The refrigerator should be at least 40?F or lower, and you should eat the greens within a week. Do not freeze.

Onions: According to the Foodservice Guide, “Store your onions in a cool, dry ventilated place–not in the refrigerator. Lack of air movement reduces storage life. Chopped or sliced onions can be stored in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to 7 days.” Do not freeze.

After looking at all of the research, I couldn’t find a single reason to keep my crisper. So, my refrigerator is now crisper-drawer free. I’ve pulled out the drawers and have deep shelves where they used to be. Rotten food is the epitome of clutter, so hopefully I’m starting out the year on the right foot with my refrigerator’s organization.

Additionally, if you want to read more about uncluttering your refrigerator, check out Serious Eats’ post on How to unclutter your winter fridge.

87 Comments for “Uncluttering your refrigerator’s crisper”

  1. posted by mamacita on

    Great post! Thanks for all the info. I am tempted to take out the drawers, too.

  2. posted by elizabeth rider on

    This is an excellent post! I do believe I will reallocate the space in my fridge. I bought a small one to minimize the clutter (space can create waste), so now I will have a way to better utilize my door and top shelf.

  3. posted by Charles Martin on

    I would recommend keeping one crisper drawer as a catch all for quick snacks such as pudding cups, small fruit cups and cans and similar quick snacks that don’t stack well on the shelves. It makes a nice way to get some of that small stuff off the shelves so that you’re not knocking them over to get to other items.

  4. posted by Gina on

    I typically use the drawers for individually-packaged snacks because they don’t store well on the shelves and for packaged meats and cheeses. My fruits and veggies (that aren’t stored outside the refrigerator) are usually kept in Tupperware containers designed to preserve them.

  5. posted by sylrayj on

    I use my crisper drawers differently too. One is for drinks – wine coolers and things like that. The other is for weird things that can live forever in the fridge, and really should be moved on out. I might get to that this year… :P I learned my lesson several years ago, and while the drawers are almost convenient to pull out and soak in hot soapy water to clear out the colonies that have set in, I’d rather not let these independent governments become established in the first place!

  6. posted by jesse on

    I also use mine differently – since I don’t leave pastas/grains out due to fear of mice/bug infestations (bad grain moth scare 10 years ago!) I shove them in there. I’ve been using it for years and it seems to be fine.

  7. posted by Jenn on

    I use one of my crisper drawers for those condiments that keep forever (well, pretty much forever) and either don’t get used very often or are too small and keep slipping out from the door shelf railings and falling on the floor every time I open the fridge.

    The other drawer holds the occasional produce item or is used to keep ingredients for a particular recipe all together in one place, so I don’t forget to use what I bought.

  8. posted by Lisa on

    LOL! We actually call our cripser “THE ROTTER”! I think I’ll begin to use my drawers for all those jars of pickles and other stuff that last forever but are forever in the way.

  9. posted by Michael on

    I tend to refrigerate onions for at least a day before using them in order to reduce the tear-inducing sulfur emissions. I also find that using a wet knife helps.

  10. posted by Penny on

    I keep filtered, bottled water in mine, so that we always have a cool supply on hand. Our crisper fits 10 bottles in. As for vegies, they live on higher shelves so they are easy to find (and thus use before they go off!)

  11. posted by Adam on

    Very good advice. I work in the produce section of a grocery store and this is exactly the same stuff we do. Vegetables are kept in a humid cooler where the fruit stuff is in a less humid cooler and a bit more chill. You want to keep your leafy vegetables in bags also to retain their moisture, most stuff like broccoli and green onions come packed in ice too.

    As for bananas if you have really green ones and want to get them ripe, through them in a bag and they’ll quickly turn yellow. Then to keep them for a while give them plenty of air and in a cooler spot ~60 F.

  12. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    Great food safety/food storage site:
    http://www.foodsafetyline.org

  13. posted by Ryan on

    Thank you so much for researching this! I have lost one too many hard earned dollars to the rotting of vegtables.

    You guys are amazing!

  14. posted by Chris on

    I keep beer in mine!

  15. posted by Zoe on

    Thanks — DH and I eat a ton of fresh produce, so this is good info to have. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never taken the time to investigate this myself, and it appears I’m doing some things wrong. We keep apples out of the fridge in a basket, and we keep bell peppers in the fridge. I need to look up how to store pears because I’ve been buying lots lately and having trouble with them rotting from the inside out.

  16. posted by Carmen on

    What about Broccoli? That really belongs in a crisper. We buy enough broccoli each week to fill up our small crisper drawer.

  17. posted by Danielle on

    One more quick tip – if you’re fortunate enough to have fresh greens and herbs (such as italian parsley, cilantro, etc), store them upright in a cup of water on a shelf at mid-level and make sure to keep them towards the front of the fridge where there is more airflow and less trapped cold air. They stay green and crisp for up to a week and every time you open the fridge you see the ‘bouquet’ of green, inspiring more frequent use! I now use fresh herbs in nearly everything I cook and LOVE it.

    A personal trainer once told me to use the drawers for those things that should be rare ‘splurges’ such as any soda, cookies/candies, junk food, etc. The theory is the first thing you see when you’re hungry is the thing you’ll likely want to eat. Out of sight, off my thighs!
    -D

  18. posted by Judith S. Rogers on

    In Florida, despite air conditioning in the summer, my potatoes always sprouted or rotted, spoiling the whole bunch. I bought a small wicker hamper at Good Will. I layered the bottom with shredded paper from my office, set potatoes in individually (not touching each other), another layer of paper, another layer of potatoes until the hamper was full. I am on my third hamper of potatoes, and haven’t lost one yet. The hamper lives under the extended lip of my kitchen island, handy to the prep area and out of any draft. This system seems to work well for me.

  19. posted by kassy on

    Using the crisper drawers as storage for cans of pop seems to work pretty well. You don’t have to worry about pop going bad in a drawer and keeping the product visible helps us remember to eat it. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go fill my drawers with pop right now.

  20. posted by Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker on

    Great post. Learning how to best store your produce will save you a good deal of money and improve your recipes. I work for a specialty grocer and knowing how to best store your produce, as a produce manager, reduces what is know in the industry as “shrink” (bad product that must be thrown away).
    A quick note about storage. The gas given off by apples is ethylene gas and can be harmful as well as beneficial to your other fruits and veggies.
    To speed up the ripening time of produce such as avocados, peaches, bananas, apricots, plums, pears and kiwis place an apple into a paper or plastic bag with the fruit you want to ripen faster. The gas given off by the apple will speed up the ripening process of these fruits allowing you to eat them sooner.
    The ethylene gas produced by apples, however, will work against you in the same way. Fruits and vegetables that are placed, stored, close to apples will go bad (wilt, mold, decay) faster.
    If you have to store apples close to other fruits and veggies place them in a ventilated bag, however, as mentioned above this will speed up their ripening process and will result in a shorter shelf life. Also, if you put apples into a bag together, make sure to watch that one of the apples in the group does not go bad. A bad apple amongst others will turn the rest of the apples bad because of the excess of ethylene gas produced by the rotting apple. The best advice is to store apples on a shelf, in the fridge, away from odor producing food.
    Storing apples away from odorous foods is important because apples, which are a porous fruit, will absorb these odors thus changing their flavor.
    One final apple storage tip, once you cut open an apple, drizzle a solution of 50% water, 50% citrus juice on the cut apples pieces to prevent browning. This will buy you some extra time when displaying your apple slices and improve the presentation of your recipes.
    Keep up the good posts! Watch more tips like these on the Produce Picker Podcast @
    http://producepickerpodcas.blip.tv/

  21. posted by David Reimers on

    In Australia we have the wonderful Peak Fresh bags. These increase food storage times by at least double. They cost A$3.50 for a 10-pack, and work for pretty much all fruit and vegetables you would normally refrigerate. As a result, we rarely have to throw out food that’s gone bad – less than 5% wastage rather than the Australian average of 20%.

  22. posted by canadiangirl on

    Ok, bananas. I would never have believed this till I saw it – it’s my mother’s trick, and I saw her put it into action when she stayed with me for 2 months this past year (I was deathly ill).

    If you loosely wrap each banana individually in a paper towel, it will not go black in the fridge. It might sound wasteful, but nothing happens to the paper towels, so you can re-use them after you eat your bananas. I guess if you don’t mind black bananas, it doesn’t matter, but some folks do, so this really does work.

  23. posted by Brandon Harshe on

    I’ve always found that my bananas ripen quicker when I do put them in the fridge. Maybe it’s all in my head. As far as using the bottom drawer, we only really put apples and oranges in the bottom drawer, and that’s it. Everything else gets put on the shelves in plain view when we open the fridge. Great info!

  24. posted by Moe Rubenzahl on

    Everyone knows the importance of wrapping to maintain moisture but it has another function: reducing exposure to oxygen. Wrap tightly, squeezing out as much air as you can. I have found this makes a huge difference.

    For lettuce, trim away bad leaves and trim the root of all brown sections.

    Treat asparagus as you would cut flowers: Trim the ends and place in water. Cover with a bag and refrigerate. HUGE difference.

    More on asparagus, including a picture of how I store it: http://feedme.typepad.com/my_w....._tips.html

  25. posted by Deanna on

    Garlic: Most of the time garlic is sold cheapest in sleeves of about 3-8 bulbs, and if you’re like me, you hate to waste the extra 20 cents to buy two loose bulbs. In this case, you can cut down on the clutter of the many garlic bulbs by roasting the extra bulbs and freezing the roasted garlic. My garlic tends to go “green” if I leave it in my cellar (garlic cellar that is,) for over a week and a half, so this has been a great way to always have garlic on hand (that you don’t have to chop!) and add new and smokey flavors to foods. If you want smaller portions of frozen garlic, try freezing it in ice cube trays, one tablespoon per cube. Perfect portions!

  26. posted by Emily on

    Newsflash – (in reference to apples) 30 degrees Farenheit is a freezing temp – might want to fix that.

  27. posted by Emily on

    Newsflash #2 – (In reference to bell peppers) All refrigerators should sit below 42 degrees. Refrigerators keep food safe between 32 and 40 degrees, so if you have a 45-50 degree refrigerator, your food is spoiling.

  28. posted by Jane on

    Remove the peel from bananas, place in a plastic bag and freeze to prolong their life. I generally freeze only one at a time. Bananas turn from carb to sugar as they ripe

  29. posted by Jane on

    I was always told not to refrigerate onions, but I’ve discovered that onions and garlic will keep for a long time without sprouting if you store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator.

    The same technique will keep mushrooms fresh, too.

  30. posted by KJC on

    The best way to keep things (everything) fresh in your frig, is not to overload it. Don’t stuff it full! Air has to be able to move in the frig… over-stuffing it stops the movement and causes things to go bad quickly. If you have a lot of stuff in your frig, buy another one or a bigger one if possible.

  31. posted by Shirley on

    Beware the green bags! After reading some of the postings, going to the website and reading and listening to the infomercial, I decided to give them a try. Not only one set for me, but a couple extra for my sisters as well. Would you believe they are charging almost $35 shipping and handling for a $50 order? Can you say rape? All “reputable” companies I know will discount their shipping charges for multiple orders. I should have taken time to investigate a little better, the fact that they don’t mention shipping and handling rates should have warned me. Needless to say, I will be calling the company to cancel this order. Be forewarned people!

  32. posted by barbara bush on

    I couldn’t help but think of Tracy

  33. posted by Jack on

    Here in Arizona in the summer time, everything goes into the refig, except Bananas. Other wise it is dried out in less thant a day. even though the house has AC the air is still dry, so only way to keep it is in the Refig.

  34. posted by martha on

    Are ootatoes OK to eat if they have sprouts/nubs on them? What about the green color they turn? What does that mean? Are they safe to eat. These have been very informative posts. Thanks to all. We don’t have household info going down through the generations anymore. I suspect we’ve lost lots of knowledge.

  35. posted by martha on

    OK, I meant “potato.”

  36. posted by Anne on

    I wash mylettuce and remove the core, and leave it in its original bag. It stays great for a week. You can put a metal spoon in it and it’ll remain crisp, but don’t forget to remove it when done. I too removed my Crisper Drawer. More space, it’s great for storing recipe folders or anything else sewing items, craft items. Celery too I wash and replace in its original plastic bag, and cut from the top as needed and keep sealing. That works great too.

  37. posted by Pete on

    You say store apples 30 to 32 degrees but don’t freeze?

    Where I live that is freezing!

  38. posted by Ann Marie on

    For the best and most economical way to store fruits and vegetables,
    you should contact your local Tupperware dealer. Tupperware has
    conducted extensive research on the storage of fruits and vegetables
    and has created the Fridgesmart product line in various sizes and
    shapes to store produce. Since Tupperware does not need to be
    replaced after 10 uses, it is much cheaper than the “green bags” in
    the long run. It also comes with a guide as to how the fruits and
    vegetables should be stored. Tupperware also has many airtight storage options for things like pasta to keep out bugs without storing in the refrigerator. Any Tupperware consultant should be able to give more detailed info.

    http://www.my.tupperware.com/AnnMarieZentis

  39. posted by Angela on

    Although most of you might already know this, I recently discovered that putting an avocado in the fridge when it’s reached my peferred ripeness stops or slows (not quite sure which yet) the ripening process. I have thrown away too many overripe avocados in the past because I never thought about putting one in the fridge until after I had used part of it.

    So, if there’s anyone out there that had never tried this before, I hope it comes in handy.

  40. posted by Angela on

    Pete, I thought the same thing about the apples. So I’m confused. Anyone have any insight?

  41. posted by Angela on

    Martha, I eat potatoes that have sprouts all the time. I just make sure I cut away the discoloration that the sprout made.

    However, I am unsure what you’re referring to regarding the green color. I have had potatoes that are slightly green right beneath the peel, so it it goes away after peeling the potato. And the green is on potatoes that are just boughten, so I thought the color was from being underripe.

  42. posted by Cinda on

    I have a large light weight handsome bowl in my fridge for my fruits and a matching platter on the next shelf for my veggies. It keeps things collected, but allows for airflow and looks quite nice. I started doing it to make sure I ate the darn stuff, but now I can attest to the extended longevity of the food’s shelf life as well!

  43. posted by Will on

    My rule of thumb is: if it’s not in the refrigerator at the grocery store, don’t put it in the fridge when you get home….ESPECIALLY bananas. It makes them slimey and disgusting, not to mention the you’d have to let them warm to room temperature to get them to taste the same. This has been a pet peeve of mine since college. I’m amazed that Chiquita has reversed their recommendation on this.

    I’m with Lisa…keep those infrequently used items..like pickles, pimentos, etc in the crisper.

    For veggies, the crisper seems best for herbs, leafy greens, and (recently) onions(!)(h/t Jane). It keeps them from sprouting prematurely and makes them easier to slice!

    hmmm now i’m wondering why do I like talking about this stuff so much???

    Cheers & Happy New Year!!

  44. posted by billjamm on

    Just eat the darn stuff

  45. posted by suzi on

    the best use for crisper drawers is for batteries and nail polish. both last a lot longer if refrigerated.

  46. posted by Kenny on

    I have found that wrapping lettuce or cabbage in wet paper towels keeps it fresh and crisp much longer

  47. posted by Chuck on

    For celery cut the bottom and top off and wrap in foil. For lettuce strip all of the leaves off wash them and put them in a plastic freezer bag it will last for some time.
    This has been great we now have water and soft drinks in the crisper. Every thing else is up top.

  48. posted by Danlex on

    Don’t take out those crisper drawers just yet!
    The one comment sorely lacking from this article is the acknowledgement that modern refrigerators are constructed in such a way that the crisper drawers are the highest humidity spot in the fridge. This is the whole PURPOSE of the crisper drawer, and vegetables and many fruits LOVE humidity. If you are storing fruits and veggies that don’t need humidity, then the shelf is fine (lower shelves, in most cases). BUT, if you’re storing an item that needs humidity to increase life expectancy, the crisper drawer is the way to go.
    Those drawers (this applies to the meat and cheese drawers, too) are not necessarily about temperature—they are all about HUMIDITY, which is an important aspect of food preservation.

  49. posted by Phyl on

    For those of you with refrigerators with metal rungs for shelves. I found those thin opaque plastic mats that are used as cutting boards work wonders on the shelves. Nothing drips through and they clean up so easy if need be. Work great also on glass shelves. No need to drag the whole shelf out for cleaning.

  50. posted by Teri on

    Lettuce will last longer if you wash it then wrap it in paper towels before wrapping in plastic

  51. posted by Luke on

    Lettuce can be kept green and crisp for 2-3 weeks using this method. Use an insulated ice bucket with a plastic interior. Place damp(not wet) paper towel on the bottom of bucket, and, place whole head of lettuce root down in the bucket. Store in refrigerator between uses. It may sound a little crazy–But it works.

  52. posted by Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker on

    Martha –
    In reference to your question about potatoes I have some advice which I gave to the viewers of my show (Produce Picker Podcast).

    Make sure when choosing potatoes that the skin of the potato is not sprouting, wrinkled, or soft. Whether you’re choosing a brown (russet, baking), white, or yellow (yukon) potato check to make sure that the skin does not appear to be green.
    When potatoes are exposed to light, as they are in grocery stores and farmers markets, they begin to build up toxins. This process will manifest itself on the potato as a greening of the skin. It may appear that the green color is coming from under the native color (i.e. brown, yellow, white) of the potato. A potato that is sprouting, wrinkled, soft and appears to have a green coloring under its skin is bad. Eating too many green potatoes can actually be toxic to your system. So next time you’re choosing potatoes make sure to take a good look at its skin coloring and avoid the green.

    fun fact: Bagged potatoes often come in a colored bag that is most often brown. These bags are designed to help reduce the potato’s exposure to light thus reducing the chances that the potato will become toxic (green). Those farmers are always thinking;)

    Make sure to store your potatoes in a cool, dry and dark environment. Avoid putting them in the refrigerator (many people do this) as it will only make the potato have an uncharacteristic sweet flavor and can result in them turning a dark color once cooked. Potatoes that are stored properly at around 50 degrees can last up to a couple of months!

    And just to answer a couple other comments on here, Angela you are right that putting an already ripe avocado in the fridge will slow down the ripening process. Just make sure to wait until the avocado is ripe before storing it in the fridge or else the inside will turn black.

    Also Will I like your simple advice about storing produce. I work in a produce department and if we keep it cold it should be stored that way at home and vice versa. I love keeping it simple and rules of thumb like that are golden. Great comments everyone!

    More tips available at http://producepickerpodcas.blip.tv

    Thanks!

  53. posted by Karla on

    my boyfriend and I started calling our crisper “the rotter”… because that all our fruits and veggies ever do in it.

  54. posted by jessica on

    thank yo for this valuable information.
    yes, that crisper can be science lab sometimes.
    I am good about it, use my produce so they do get rotated.

  55. posted by Trace on

    If you want to ripen bananas, just place in a paper bag with one ripe red apple. The gas that is emitted from the apple ripens other fruits. All the more reason to separate apples from other fruits, like fruit baskets.
    I always place a liner of paper towel in my crisper bottoms. I store yogurt, cheese and water bottles in them. Forget fruits and veggies.

  56. posted by alicia a. on

    i hated the way potatoes tasted straight from the fridge so i started storing them in a basket. now they sprout incessantly. i never suspected it was the south florida weather! now i know to keep them in the fridge and simply take then out a day early….. “potato defrost” lol THANK YOU!

  57. posted by Fred on

    wish my wife would read this stuff. She won’t believe anything I tell her about wasteful buying.

  58. posted by Linda on

    I’ve called my refrigerator’s crisper, ‘the rotter’ for decades. New or old, refrigerators seem to have a special space just for evil. I’ve resorted to other means of storing veggies and fruits for years and only wish I had the money (in the form of spoiled produce), that went out to the compost heap every week

  59. posted by Jill on

    I use mine for my children – that’s where their individual sized drinks go and the other one has their snacks in it – cheese, pudding, bags of celery whatever they choose for snack at school is put there for easy grab into the backpack as we go out the door for school!

  60. posted by Scott on

    What about grapes and cherries? I keep mine in the crisper in a plastic bag but, let them reach room temperature before I eat them.

  61. posted by Ellen on

    corn…a tip from the produce man at my grocery store…..if you buy fresh corn on the cob and can’t use it right away, here’s his tip. Remove the husk and silk and put in a ziploc bag but don’t close it….the corn will stay fresh for a week, it stays fresh. Also I wrap celery in aluminum foil and it keep longer.

  62. posted by Tonia on

    I have found the best way to keep mushrooms in my fridge for up to 2 months, is after washing them i wrap them in a damp papertowel then place them in a plastic sealed dish. Works great and neve fails.

  63. posted by Vanessa on

    Our crisper drawer is used as the snack drawer a.k.a. Saturday morning drawer. Easy for the kids to get into and they stick to what is in there. String cheese, individual puddings, yogurt, baby carrots in snack size baggies, etc. This keeps them from bugging mom and dad on Saturday morning or evening snack times. I even keep a baggie filled with plastic spoons so they stay out of the utinsil drawer. The kids love being able to have their choice of a snack and sometimes its great for a reward. “Clean your room and you can have a snack from the snack drawer”. We also have one in the pantry for dry goods such as chips, cereal, etc.

  64. posted by Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker on

    I want to reiterate a tip given out by canadiangirl in an early comment above.

    Canadiangirl wrote: “If you loosely wrap each banana individually in a paper towel, it will not go black in the fridge. It might sound wasteful, but nothing happens to the paper towels, so you can re-use them after you eat your bananas. I guess if you don’t mind black bananas, it doesn’t matter, but some folks do, so this really does work.”

    I knew that if you want to slow down the ripening process of a banana to put it in the fridge. In fact I have done this more than once. The nice thing is that if you buy too many bananas and you have a few left that you will not eat before they get too ripe you can buy yourself a couple extra days in order to eat them while they are still at your desired ripeness. The only downside is that they do indeed turn black and it’s not the most appealing site.

    I saw this tip about the paper towel and gave it a try over the last couple of days. What do you know it really works! And I must say a cold banana is actually a nice treat. It reminds me of frozen chocolate dipped bananas on a stick, yummy!

    I just wanted to say thanks for the tip and confirm through a test of my own that this works. Sure the banana is fine if it turns black in the fridge but for some reason it’s a lot more appealing when it still looks like a perfectly ripe banana. Give it a try today, it will save you money too!

    See more tips at The Produce Picker Podcast

  65. posted by Art on

    I find that bell peppers last longer if you cut the tops off (as if to make stuffed peppers) and remove the seeds which slows the ripening progess and store them in the fridge in airtight plastic containers.If you’re financally deprived like me that would be old butter tubs so have the magic markers handy to label and date them.Clear storage bags work well also just don’t freeze them.

  66. posted by Allison on

    I store bottled waters and drinks in my bottom drawer. The fridge in my apartment is quite old, and only has one big drawer that likes to fall out — so I tend to avoid using it often.

  67. posted by Noah on

    I find the crisper is best for severed heads. YMMV.

  68. posted by SavingDiva on

    Thanks! This info helped me out tremendously!

  69. posted by Ishi Means Rock on

    Oh, why oh why, must my beloved crispers be so maligned and detested by so many? I would never consider separating my crispers from the appliance from which they came, their natural habitat. I can attest to the fact that every vegetable I put into my two crisper drawers stay very crisp for many months with almost no deterioration or loss of crispness. Same goes for the crispers’ kissin’ cousin, the meat drawer. Cuts of meat placed in it don’t go bad for a year.

    I credit my crispers for keeping a potentially horrible clutter miraculously organized. These drawers have dramatically improved the accessibility of their contents and have made finding that little bag with those last few scraps of vegetable matter a breeze. Things no longer fall out onto the floor when I open the door, instead, I am able to calmly move and examine the assortment of healthy foodstuffs without fuss. Once my choice is made, it is a simple matter to return the rest of the items to the appliance in which these drawers quite normally live. I couldn’t imagine having to go without these drawers.

    I know you don’t believe me. I’m not insisting that you do. You too can test, prove and confirm this same unbelievable story on your own. However, I must warn you before you proceed. You absolutely must never forget, that like everything else with a life of its own, proper habitat and storage of crispers is essential, otherwise they become spoiled and rotten, rebellious against their keepers. They do best in a much cooler habitat than the one in which they were raised. In the freezer compartment above the fridge. So there.

    :-)

  70. posted by carol on

    My Grandmother stuffs all the produce anywhere it fits in the refrigerator even though we have a brand new one. She just leaves them in the plastic bags from the grocery store. i can’t see easily through the bags so stuff gets rotten. i would much more prefer the produce loose in the crispers, like cukes, zuccini,carrots , but i don’t know if she’s right or me.please help.

  71. posted by Rob on

    To further clarify on the potato issue, green skin is fine. Ideally you want to peel away the green skin, but even if the toxin is present (which green skin does not necessarily indicate), it’s at such small amounts your tuber remains safe to eat.

    If, on the other hand, the FLESH of the potato is green-tinged, discard that sucker and don’t look back.

  72. posted by jess on

    Is your celery looking a bit limp?
    Cut the celery stalks in half. Fill a bowl with water and place the celery in the water. Let sit for a while.
    Your celery should be nice and firm.

  73. posted by maxie on

    I have the perfect solution to prevent produce from going bad in the fridge: Eat it!

    Rather than tips on how to store produce, why not how to buy only what you’ll eat. And why aren’t you using what you buy? Seriously, you shouldn’t be trying to store it for more than a few days and definitely not more than a week.

  74. posted by Jenny Lens on

    I purchased a fridge about a decade ago, wherein the crisper drawers are above the freezer, about my waist, a perfect height to see all the contents in my crisper drawer. Being above the freezer means they are larger than usual drawers for a typical fridge.

    I use clear plastic bags from the farmer’s market (one vendor has them). I put the newer greens under the older ones. I put the sturdier veggies (root veggies too) on the left side, which seems to get colder. I gather greens like radish tops, carrot tops, etc which people discard at the farmer’s market, but I juice them. I put them into bags on shelves cos I can’t fit everything into the crisper drawers.

    My greens last about a week, but going into the second week, some things like romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, dill, parsley, etc start to show black mold. I inspect and remove at first signs of browning.

    I NEVER EVER WASH BEFORE USING. Water makes produce go bad faster than anything! I won’t buy little green onions from any store because the greens are already wilting and limp while on the shelf. How are you going to dry lettuce? That’s just a sales ploy. I’ve talked to people in produce dept at big stores, Whole Foods, my smaller SM Co-Op. They all water veggies just to make them look good. I respond that I buy my produce at the farmer’s market, where they’ve been outside, without refrigeration for hours, and they last longer than ANY store bought veggies. It’s the number one reason I buy at farmer’s markets.

    One produce manager at the West LA Whole Foods told me a customer objected to mud in her spinach, and that’s why they wash them. I replied spinach grows in mud. Have you tried to buy a bunch of spinach that’s not half wilted on the shelves? So some lazy, stupid, rich, arrogant Whole Foods customer won’t wash her spinach and we all suffer with wilted greens? I told him, as I have told others, that water destroys, washes off vitamins and minerals (which are water soluble), and makes the produce go bad very quickly. I’ve even held up spinach and onions to prove my point.

    The STORES DO NOT CARE about quality of food. The faster the produce goes bad, the faster you and I will be back to buy more.

    When I have to buy from the SM Co-Op, I have to spread out ALL my produce in several colanders for hours to dry before I put into fridge. Otherwise they will rot very quickly.

    I agree about bananas: putting into fridge doesn’t taste as good. Eat fresh when the skin starts to get a deep golden and little brown spots like freckles. Most people eat unripe bananas and throw them out when they are just perfectly ripe. I buy so many that I peel, cut into little rounds, and freeze for smoothies or “ice cream.” But there’s nothing like fresh bananas. The drag is they take so long to ripen and go bad quickly.

    Apples, like ALL fruit, should not be refrigerated other than to extend shelf life. I try to buy only what I can eat in a week, put the majority in the fridge, no plastic bag, with a couple on my kitchen table (I buy small apples). Eating fruit at room temp makes fruit taste better, juices flow, plus better and easier digestion (closer to body temp, which is ideal for raw foodies and all digestions).

    The point is: eat your veggies and fruit within the week you purchased them. Faster if from stores, cos the produce is not as fresh (unless your rock-hard fruit need to sit out and soften).

    MOST of these surveys / guides were financed by food producers, who would love food to rot more quickly so we buy more. Doesn’t matter if a college produced the report, the food manufacturers underwrote/paid for it more than likely. Experience is the best teacher!

    IF you are forgetting about them, you might want to work on notes on the fridge to remind you. I use whiteboards with magnets which I picked up at Staples. I list the produce I bought and list what I need to buy. After awhile, it becomes a habit.

    When I throw out veggies, that’s a result of buying cooked foods and not taking care of myself. It starts with our mind, forcing ourselves to new habits, new ways of storing and using fresh produce.

  75. posted by Stern on

    The temp at the bottom of my frig is the coolest place, and all fruits are kept there.

    Bananas? Just put in frig as soon as bought. Take one out each night to “thaw” it OR put it in the Microwave for 10-15 seconds – Voila – room temp banana.

  76. posted by Get Rid of Refrigerator Clutter | Heart at Home on

    [...] Unclutter Your Refrigerator’s Crisper [...]

  77. posted by -= Linkage 2008.01.10 =- on

    [...] Unclutter the crisper<br/> [...]

  78. posted by Link Lovage « Love Plant Life Blog on

    [...] Uncluttering Your Refrigerator’s Crisper tells you how to best store your fruit and [...]

  79. posted by April on

    I have enjoyed reading all of your comments. Always open to learning new ideas! Just an FYI, my friends and I have paid attention and found that organic bananas left on the counter rippen nicely and last longer (don’t go black nearly as fast). I am in Arizona and found that Safeway has them for $.89/lb every day, which is just a few cents more than for ones that are not organic.

  80. posted by Greenify your Fridge (That Doesn't Mean Mold), advice, tips, green, economical, refrgerator, fridge, freezer, storing | At Your Palate on

    [...] most refrigerator models, some have found it better to do without them. For example, on the website Unclutterer, the author recommends getting rid of it altogether since “out of sight, out of mind” [...]

  81. posted by Living Juicy » What on the Internet? : on

    [...] To do: The Basics of Mush­room Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion The Morel Mush­room Hunt­ing Club Make Your Own Fab­ric Soft­en­ing Sheets Recipe: Ten­der, Deli­cious Roast Beast Spicy Chick­pea Stew with Roasted Cau­li­flower 1-800-GOOG-411 Bul­gur, Cel­ery and Pome­gran­ate Salad Recipe Pop­corn Chick­peas Unclut­ter­ing your refrigerator’s crisper [...]

  82. posted by mike on

    Great info. I put tomatoes, onions, apples, lettuce, corn on cob etc always went to crisper. What is the crisper for then????

  83. posted by nadira on

    I use one of my two crispers to hold bread stuffs – tortillas, hamburger buns, and bread that is waiting to go to the bread drawer.
    I’m going to start using the other for bags of apples (which nicely come in plastic bags with holes.)

    Rubbermaid has a new line called Produce savers, that have a ‘spacer’ (for want of a better word) on the bottom, and small holes in the top. These allow for ventilation, so I don’t get those mushy slimy leaves on the bottom that are nearly impossible to separate from the good. They work very nicely :)
    I can’t just eat whatever I bring home, and not store, because I live alone, and can’t afford a bigger refrigerator, and can’t afford small packages.

    Also, I put my potatoes in brown bags, and keep them in the coldest parts of my apartment – On the floor by the front door-where I get very litle heat.

    I enjoyed all the posts

    Nadira

  84. posted by Limp Lettuce | Home Ec 101 on

    [...] is a handy post on the proper storage of produce (and the uselessness of the crisper [...]

  85. posted by adora on

    Actually, crisper is great for chocolates if you live in warm climate. It should be around 8-10C. Also great for fresh fish and seafood.

    If you want to store bananas in the fridge without browning the skin, you can try wrapping them individually in foam wrappers. You know, those foam sheets that comes with purchase of a TV or monitor. It really works!

  86. posted by Las frutas y verduras en el refrigerador « Placer culpable on

    [...] traduzco muy rápidamente este post de Unclutterer, sobre el almacenamiento óptimo de frutas y verdudas en el [...]

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