Living in a small apartment can keep your rent low, but your spatial limits might require you to get creative with storage and furniture. This issue also extends into your kitchen, where you might have scarcely any food storage space. Many foods don’t do well in certain environments either – for example, your bananas should never go in your cupboard. Fruits and veggies are generally quite sensitive to how you store them, so when you have limited space, you need to know how to properly store fruits and veggies in your apartment – here’s a guide.
Can I store fruits and vegetables on apartment countertops?
When you’re limited on storage space, your apartment countertops might take on double duty as not just work surfaces, but storage areas. Some, but certainly not all, produce can survive on countertops, so keep the following considerations in mind:
- Some fruits will rot on countertops, but others will ripen. Berries, grapes, and citrus fruits will quickly spoil if not refrigerated. However, you can use your countertop space for tomatoes, melons, apples, and mangoes. Avocados will ripen faster on your countertop, but you may want to move them to your fridge once they’re ripe so they don’t fully spoil.
- Vegetables cannot be stored on countertops, but herbs can. Most vegetables can’t survive at room temperature, but herbs should last outside the fridge or freezer. You should store your veggies loosely in plastic bags with a mostly closed seal – a small amount of airflow is necessary to keep your vegetables from spoiling. Additionally, packing veggies too close together in your fridge can cause them to go bad more quickly.
- Always store fruits and vegetables separately. If you’ve ever kept a banana in a sealed brown paper bag, you’ve probably noticed it go bad unusually quickly. That’s because bananas give off large amounts of ethylene, a natural ripening agent. Many other fruits emit this substance, which can cause surrounding produce to go bad more quickly. That’s why you should always store your fruits and vegetables separately.
- Only store produce in your refrigerator, freezer, or open spaces. Notice that, for room temperature storage, countertops are recommended instead of cabinets or cupboards. Dark spaces with minimal airflow can accelerate fruit and vegetable rot, and even for garlic, storage in such spaces can lead to green offshoots that can make the herb more difficult to work with and alter its taste.
Can I use containers to store fruits and veggies in my apartment?
While many experts advocate for using just your fridge, freezer, and countertops to store fruits and veggies in an apartment, some brands sell airtight produce storage containers and claim these items extend your food’s shelf life. While these containers may extend fruit and vegetable shelf life by a small margin, some studies have shown that their impact on shelf life is minimal at best. These containers may offer the important space-saving advantage of stackability, but if you’re really pressed for space, tabletop or hanging fruit baskets may instead be your best options.
How do you store fruits and veggies in your small apartment? Share your tips in the comments!