20+ Pairs of Fruits and Vegetables You Need to Store Separately

published May 30, 2019
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When I bring home a shopping bag full of fresh produce, there is some that goes onto a tray on the countertop and some that goes into the refrigerator’s produce bins. And that’s about where my divisions stop.

But when I found that bananas were hastening the ripening of nearby produce (which is sometimes unwanted!), I decided to look further into produce storage and which fruit-and-veggie adjacencies to avoid.

Here’s what I found: Some fruits and veggies produce ethylene, a small hydrocarbon gas, as they ripen. Alternatively, some other pieces of produce are particularly sensitive to ethylene. So if you want to keep things from spoiling too quickly, the trick is simple: you want to keep those two groups away from each other. Or, conversely, put them close together if you’re attempting to hasten the ripening of anything on the ethylene-sensitive list.

Here’s a list you can keep on your fridge for reference:

Ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables:

  • apples
  • apricots
  • avocados
  • ripened bananas
  • cantaloupe
  • figs
  • honeydew
  • kiwi
  • mangoes
  • nectarines
  • papayas
  • passion fruit
  • peaches
  • pears
  • persimmons
  • plantains
  • plums
  • prunes
  • quince
  • tomatoes

Ethylene-sensitive fruits and veggies:

  • unripe bananas
  • green beans
  • Belgian endive
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • chard
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • leafy greens
  • okra
  • parsley
  • peas
  • peppers
  • spinach
  • squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • watercress
  • watermelon

For a simple reminder, the ethylene producers are mostly fruits and the ethylene sensitive produce is mostly vegetables. The exceptions are watermelon and unripe bananas.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Quick Reminder: Why You Should Store Some Fruits and Vegetables Separately