Tips on Keeping Your Summer Fruits Flavorful and Healthful

Fresh Fruit

Summertime encourages almost everyone to eat more fresh fruit.  After all, the variety seems infinite, the berries are at their best, the prices are inviting, and the fruits look scrumptious. In keeping with the season, ShelfLifeAdvice offers the following tips—from storage to handling to (of course) shelf life—to help you enjoy a fruitful summer. 


Don’t refrigerate most fruits until they’re ripe.  They won’t ripen further once refrigerated. To hasten ripening, place the unripened fruit in a paper bag,  add a banana, and close the bag. Check the ripening progress at least once a day.

There’s no point in keeping  strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blackberries out on the counter in hopes that they  will ripen; once picked, they will not ripen further. Refrigerate these as soon as you get them home.  For a handy list of fruits that ripen and those that don’t, click here:


Most fruits can be tightly wrapped because (unlike vegetables) they are too acidic for the bacteria that cause botulism to grow on them.  Tight wrapping keeps out oxygen, which is protective since mold growth requires oxygen. Some fruits are packed in modified atmosphere packing that eliminates oxygen.  That’s often what you’re looking at when you see pieces of fruit on a Styrofoam tray and covered with plastic film.


Fruits that give off a lot of moisture (especially berries) should be loosely wrapped to prevent the growth of  mold and/or nonpathogenic bacteria that will make the fruit slimy.  Berries are usually packed in perforated containers, but, if not, cut a slit in the packing to allow the fruit to get some air.  Leftover berries taken out of the original  package should be stored with some air.


Store the left-over part of a piece of fruit one of these ways:


1) put the cut side face down on a plate without any wrapping 




2) cover the cut portion with plastic wrap, and leave the rest uncovered. 

For more information on fruits: has detailed Q/As on the following types of  fresh fruits: apples, bananas, berries, cherries, citrus fruits, grapes, and melons.  The Q/As will answer a great many of your  questions about these products including how long you can expect them to remain in good condition. In addition, you’ll find shelf life information on many other fruits right on this site.  The following link will get you to the fresh fruit section of our site:





The University of Maine “Best Ways to Wash Fruits and Vegetables”


All about Food!  “Fruits that ripen/don’t ripen after picking”


A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report: Healthy Eating Medical Editor, Frank M. Sacks, M.D.,
“Is Organic Better?” 2008, p. 43.


Susan Brewer, Ph.D.  University of  Illinois, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition


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