The shelf life of many fruits and vegetables is fleeting, rather than enduring, but that's not the case for everything in the produce section. This list of long-lasting vegetables and fruit is a great place to start when filling your fridge and cupboard.

By Alyssa Sybertz
April 06, 2020

If you're buying shelf-stable foods, or ones you can keep around a while for easy dinners or even when stockpiling for a pandemic, you may head straight to the canned food aisle or even the freezer section. After all, these foods are preserved in such a way that most will last months, if not years.

But you'd be missing out on a great deal of fresh food if you didn't find your way to the produce section — yes, even if you're stockpiling. Choosing the right foods from the produce section means you can continue to enjoy meals made with fresh fruits and vegetables all while going weeks without a trip to the grocery store.

The key to keeping fruits and vegetables around for a while is to buy the right ones and make sure they're stored properly. Here, we compiled a list of 10 long-lasting produce picks, and we're sharing how to ensure they stay ripe and fresh until you're ready to enjoy them.

Apples in a Grocery Store
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How Long They Last: 3 to 4 weeks

When it comes to sweet and healthy snacks, apples can't be beat. To keep them fresh, sweet, and crunchy the longest, leave them out until they're ripe, and then store them in the refrigerator until you're ready to munch or bake them into muffins or a pie. Apples can absorb odors, so store them away from foods with strong ones, like onions or cheese. They also speed up the ripening of cruciferous veggies, leafy greens, and stone fruits, so they should be kept separate from those as well.

Whole Beets
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How Long They Last: 4 to 6 weeks

How long beets will last depends largely on how you store them. If you don't plan to use the beet greens, you should remove them from the beets as soon as you get home. Greens will pull moisture from the beets if they're left attached too long, so cut the greens, and use them right away, or put them in your compost. Once the greens are removed, you can keep beets stored in an airtight bag for four to six weeks. Cut small holes in the bag to allow moisture to escape. If the moisture is trapped, their skin may start to get a little flimsy, and mold could grow. Check periodically that the beets are still firm, and use them right away if they start to show any softness.

Red, yellow and green Bell Peppers
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Bell Peppers

How Long They Last: 1 to 2 weeks

If they're stored in the fridge immediately, bell peppers will stay fresh for between one and two weeks. If you don't have a color preference, choose green; they tend to keep longer than their orange, red, and yellow counterparts. And make sure they're dry, as any moisture will soften the peppers faster.

Blueberries in white bucket
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How Long They Last: 1 to 2 weeks

Blueberries are the longest lasting of the berry family; if they're allowed to ripen at room temperature and then stored in the fridge, they will keep for up to two weeks. Skip washing them until just before eating, and skip the crisper drawer, too — blueberries stay best in their container on a refrigerator shelf.

Bunch of organic carrots on a dishcloth
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How Long They Last: 3 to 4 weeks

These root vegetables keep in the fridge for three to four weeks after you bring them home. Best results occur if you leave them whole and unpeeled in a plastic bag and away from apples or pears; for munching as a snack or as a scoop for dip, it's best to enjoy them within a few days after peeling and chopping. Some experts also suggest placing whole carrots in a container with a lid and covered completely with water. If you change the water every five days or so, your carrots will still be fresh after a month.


How Long They Last: up to 2 months

While it may be difficult to store leafy greens like spinach or arugula for longer than a week, some greens are good for much longer. Most types of cabbage will last up to two months in refrigerator storage if you store them in a plastic bag, or wrap cut sections in plastic to protect the leaves from damage. Sliced thin, cabbage works a lot like lettuce for salads or burrito bowls; it can also be cooked down for cabbage soup or whipped up into an easy side of slaw.


How Long It Lasts: 1 to 2 weeks

When refrigerated immediately, celery will stay fresh for up to two weeks. The gas celery produces will make it go bad faster if it's stored in plastic, so experts recommend wrapping your whole head of celery in aluminum foil. And just like with carrots, if you're chopping celery into sticks to snack on, be sure to enjoy them within a day or two.

Full Frame Shot Of Oranges
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Citrus Fruits

How Long They Last: 2 to 4 weeks

Oranges, grapefruits, clementines, lemons, and limes should be allowed to ripen at room temperature and then stored in the fridge. Loose in the crisper drawer is best and the smaller fruits tend to last longer than the larger ones. But citrus tastes best at room temperature, so if you're able to plan ahead, take your orange or grapefruit out of the fridge a few hours before you're ready to juice or enjoy. Another tip: If the rind is starting to look shriveled, that doesn't mean the fruit inside isn't still juicy and fresh.

Full Frame Shot Of Onions In Market Stall
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How Long They Last: 2 to 3 months

When stored properly, onions will keep for up to three months. A dark, cool, dry area is preferable, but that area should be between 45°F and 55°F; if your kitchen pantry is warmer than that, it's best to store them in the fridge. If you're storing them in the pantry, onions should be kept separate from potatoes. Once peeled, onions will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks. They also need proper ventilation, so loose on a shelf or in a paper bag or basket is best.

Close up of potatoes
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How Long They Last: 2 to 3 months

Potatoes should be kept in a dark, humid, and cool place, ideally between 40°F and 50°F. They should never be stored in the fridge, so you'll want to find the coolest area of your house in order to extend their life the longest. Potatoes USA, the marketing organization for U.S. potato growers, also recommends you not wash potatoes before storing, as the moisture can make the potatoes spoil faster. Potatoes should be kept separate from onions but stored in a similar container, such as a basket, mesh bag or paper bag. If your potatoes sprout on the outside but are still firm to the touch and don't look shriveled, they're still safe and perfectly tasty to eat.

Variety of squash
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Winter Squash

How Long They Last: 2 months or more

Butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, and spaghetti squash may all last four weeks to several months if they're kept in a cool, dark cupboard. Be sure to give the squash lots of air (don't cram them in a drawer), which help reduce spoilage. The good thing about keeping these squash on hand is that they lend themselves to a variety of cooking methods, so you can have everything from a side of roasted squash to stuffed squash boats.