Here’s How Long Your Fresh Produce Will Really Last

Wondering how long your fruits and vegetables will last, and how to tell when produce has gone bad? Our storage guide is here to help.

You’ve just arrived home from the farmers market or grocery store laden with bags full of plump blueberries, juicy peaches and bright leafy greens, ready to be made into fantastic meals. Keep your bounty fresh with our handy produce storage guide.

Here, you’ll find the shelf life of common fruits and vegetables, storage tips and signs that your produce is at peak ripeness so you can smartly plan meals to eat your most fragile foods first. (Read: No more produce mistakes like finding slimy lettuce in the crisper drawer at the end of the week.) You’ll also find tips on how to properly store them, from general produce keepers to specialized storage solutions for each type of fruit and veg.

No matter what—or when—you decide to cook, it’s best to err on the conservative side when judging whether food is safe. Trust your instincts. If something looks or smells off, your best bet is to toss (or compost).

Apples

How Long It Lasts

  • 4-8 weeks in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • It’s OK if your apple has a few brown spots. Those can be cut away. But if it looks wrinkled or feels mushy, it’s time to toss.

Avocado

How Long It Lasts

  • 4-7 days at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Peel off the stem. If the skin underneath is green, the avocado is ripe. It’ll also give in to light pressure when squeezed. To maximize freshness when storing a leftover avocado half, try an avocado keeper that’ll keep browning at bay.

Bananas

How Long It Lasts

  • 2-5 days at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Bananas are best when they’re yellow and have just started to develop brown spots. A ripe banana will be easy to peel.

Blueberries

How Long It Lasts

  • 1-2 weeks in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Most blueberries from the store will be ready to gobble down, although a trick to keep them fresh longer is to rinse berries with water and vinegar (just a splash). If they start to feel moist or look moldy, it’s time to toss.

Broccoli

How Long It Lasts

  • 7-14 days in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Broccoli should have a rich, green color. It’s best to eat when the stems feel firm, not limp.

Carrots

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-4 weeks in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Carrots are past their prime when they feel limp or have developed a white, grainy look. If you bought carrots with their greens on, it’s best to cut the greens off and store separately.

Cucumbers

How Long It Lasts

  • 1 week in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Your cucumber should have a bright and even green color throughout. Discard if it has any sunken areas, is yellow or has wrinkly skin.

Garlic

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-6 months at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Garlic in its prime will feel firm and have an off-white color. If any sprouts have grown, peel them away before cooking. Pass up garlic that has turned tan or looks wrinkly. Editor’s tip: try a garlic keeper for optimal freshness.

Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce

How Long It Lasts

  • 7-10 days in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • If your greens look discolored, feel soggy or have a rotten smell, it’s time to discard. We recommend washing greens and storing them in a lettuce keeper to prolong their crisp.

Lemons

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-4 weeks in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Healthy lemons will be bright yellow and slightly firm to the touch. It’s overripe if it has soft spots, dark blotches or is oozing juice.

Onions

How Long It Lasts

  • 2-3 months at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • A good onion will look clean and feel firm. Moisture and soft spots can be a sign it’s gone bad. Keep in an onion storage container to maximize your onion’s shelf life.

Oranges

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-4 weeks in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Juicy oranges will look bright and feel slightly firm to the touch. Check to see that there are no soft spots.

Peaches

How Long It Lasts

  • 1-3 days at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Ripe peaches will have a deep golden color. They’ll also wrinkle slightly around the stem and give in a bit when gently squeezed.

Potatoes

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-5 weeks in the pantry

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • A good potato will feel firm and smell like earth. It’s OK if it has small sprouts, but if the sprouts are longer than a few centimeters, your potato may have gone bad. To keep your spuds from sprouting, store them in a potato storage container.

Strawberries

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-7 days in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Fragrant and bright strawberries are the best to eat. Discard if there is any sign of mold.

String Beans

How Long It Lasts

  • 3-5 days in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • The beans should be slender and firm without any visible seeds. You’ll know they’ve gone bad if they’ve turned limp or moist.

Tomatoes

How Long It Lasts

  • 1 week at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Ready-to-eat tomatoes will feel firm when slightly squeezed and seem slightly heavy compared with their size.

Watermelon

How Long It Lasts

  • 7-10 days at room temperature

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Tap on the side. If the melon sounds hollow, it’s good to eat. Also, it should feel firm when pressed but not hard as a rock.

Whole Mushrooms

How Long It Lasts

  • 7-10 days in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • If the mushroom feels sticky or slimy, it’s bad. Whole mushrooms will keep longer than sliced mushrooms.

Zucchini

How Long It Lasts

  • 4-5 days in the fridge

Tips for Fresh Produce

  • Your summer squash should be firm yet slightly flexible and have glossy skin. If the zucchini looks gray, it may be overripe.

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Nicole Doster
Nicole is the Content Director of TMB's Strategy and Performance team. She oversees the brand's shopping and trend editorial teams and assists with content planning across Taste of Home, Family Handyman, Reader's Digest, The Healthy and Birds & Blooms. With over seven years of experience writing and editing in the food and home space, she enjoys sharing cooking tips, recipe picks and product recommendations that make life a little easier. When she's not hunched over her laptop, she's either practicing latte art or fixating on her latest DIY home renovation.