You're storing your fruits and veggies all wrong -- here's what you should keep separate from one another

Fruit bowlFlickr/David LenkerWill this fruit bowl speed up some ripening?

If you’ve ever been surprised to see your just-bought produce rot away faster than you’d hoped, take note: you could be putting the wrong fruits and veggies together.

Many fruits produce a barely detectable chemical called ethylene as they ripen. It’s also often sprayed onto fruits and veggies to make produce ripen faster.

But too much ethylene can lead to a loss of chlorophyll (what happens when your leafy greens turn yellow or brown). And the more ripe an ethylene producer is, the more gas it produces. So if one piece of fruit is going bad, you should think about moving it away so that it doesn’t speed things up for the others.

To help you figure out which produce to keep apart, we’ve compiled a list of produce that you should store on its own, produce that you should keep away from other fast-ripening produce, and fruits and veggies that you can store virtually anywhere.

Applesvijay chennupati/FlickrApples are big ethylene producers.

Store alone

These fruits and vegetables give off a lot of the gas and are also pretty susceptible to it:

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Ripe bananas: If you want to slow the ripening process down, place plastic wrap over the stems. This should keep the ethylene from getting released.
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Melons, including cantaloupe and honeydew
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
Brussels sprouts 2Flickr / julesMaybe don’t put brussels sprouts near your fresh melon.

OK to store together, but keep away from other fast-ripening produce

These fruits and veggies don’t make a whole lot of ethylene on their own but are sensitive to it:


Flickr / THOR
Berries are tough.

Store anywhere

These fruits and veggies fare alright in the face of ethylene gas, so store them anywhere:

  • Bell peppers
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.)
  • Citrus fruits, like lemons and limes
  • Kale
  • Pineapples, though they do produce some ethylene.

If you’re looking for a quick way to remember it, as The Kitchn pointed out, it’s mostly fruits that are the ethylene-makers, while vegetables are the ones more likely to feel the detrimental effects of ethylene gas.

NOW WATCH: Scientists just collected a mysterious ‘purple orb’ at the bottom of the ocean, but no one could anticipate what happened next

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.