Vegetable storage: what should you keep in the fridge?

Learn how to store vegetables correctly and keep them fresher longer

how to store vegetables
(Image credit: Getty)

Knowing how to store vegetables can make a difference of not just days, but whole weeks of fresh vegetables that are ready for cooking or chopping up into a salad. The trick is mainly about understanding your vegetable storage options: where to put them, the temperature requirements for different veggies, and knowing which vegetables make others go off (yes, that's a thing). Follow these guideline to store your vegetables the correct way. 

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Do fresh vegetables need to be refrigerated?

The biggest debate is around storing vegetables in the fridge vs. storing them in a pantry or cellar.

Fresh vegetables that contain lots of water and that are prone to wilting such as lettuce, celery, spinach and the likes (more on this below) will be better off in the fridge.

Then we say: if you are lucky to have a basement or cellar, store all your root veggies (potatoes, carrots, parsnips) and gourds there. The cool, dark environment is perfect for this type of vegetable. Having said that, there's nothing wrong with storing your vegetables in the veggie drawer of your fridge: despite claims that potatoes taste funny when kept in the fridge, we've not found that to be the case. 

How to store onions and garlic

One thing you need to be aware of is that storing onions and garlic in the same drawer as other vegetables will make them spoil sooner. Onions contain gases that get released into the air next to your vegetables making them ripen and rot too soon. Keep your onions in a separate drawer – or, better still, in cool, dark place in your kitchen. 

Garlic can also be refrigerated, but it's perfectly safe to store it on your kitchen countertop. Garlic likes air circulation to remain in top condition. 

How to store soft vegetables

Vegetables with soft or spongy flesh, notably tomatoes (technically a fruit, in fact) tomatoes and aubergines, should always be stored at room temperature, out of direct light. However, salad leaves such as lettuce and spinach, should be stored in the fridge for best results, as should be herbs that will wilt in a matter of hours if not refrigerated.  

It's by no means a scientific method, but if it's green, it's best to store it in the fridge. If it's any other colour, it'll probably do best at room temperature.

Mushrooms should also be stored in the fridge – they're not technically a vegetable and will spoil quickly if not kept cool.