Can You Store Fruit in an Airtight Container?


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Most food experts and food authorities would tell you to store your food inside an airtight food storage container once they are out of their original packaging. However, this ruling only applies to some foods, including dry foods like flour and herbs. Then how about fruits?

Can you store fruit in an airtight container? Dry fruits and certain fresh fruits like cherries should be kept in airtight food containers. It is also best to keep fruits in airtight containers in the freezer. However, most fruits, especially citruses, should be kept in containers with good airflow.

You can read more about how airtight containers keep food fresh in my article here and what kind of food items to store in them in my other article here.

Can you store fruit in an airtight container?

According to food authorities, fruits are one of the most commonly wasted foods in the world.

Well, it’s no surprise since it can be hard to preserve the freshness of your fruit without the right knowledge. You may even unknowingly speed up their decay if you store them improperly.

So what’s the deal with fruits and airtight containers anyway? Can you store fruits in airtight food containers?

I’ve done extensive research and here’s what I found.

Generally, most fresh fruits love an environment with low humidity and great airflow. (01Opens in a new tab.

Why?

Because just like you and me, fruits are considered as living beings, which means that they need air to survive, or in this case, to remain fresh.

So if you keep your air-loving fruits inside an airtight container, you basically cut off their air supply and cause them to spoil and rot much faster.

Therefore, you should not store them in airtight food storage containers where the air is blocked. Instead, store them in a place with good airflow and less humid.

That’s the reason why your fridge’s crisper (also known as storage bins and drawer), where you usually keep your fruits and veggies, is designed to maintain a much higher humidity level compared to the other parts of your fridge.

In fact, some refrigerators are innovatively created with a built-in humidity level adjustment to let you control the amount of airflow in your storage crisper, so your fresh produce stays fresh longer. Cool, isn’t it?

Even the US Department of Agriculture holds up to this claim. (02Opens in a new tab.)

Nevertheless, there’s always an exception to this general rule.

Unlike most fresh fruits that need air to stay fresh, dried fruits, including dried prunes, apricots, and raisins, should be kept in airtight containers where oxygen and moisture are low, so they stay dry and dehydrated. (03Opens in a new tab.)

You wouldn’t want your dried apricots to become soggy, right?

Unopened dried fruits can last up to 6 months. Once they are opened, you should keep them cool in airtight food containers. You can either store them in the pantry or refrigerate them. (04Opens in a new tab.)

On the other hand, opened dried fruits that are stored in the pantry in airtight containers can last up to one month, while dried fruits kept in the fridge in an airtight container can last up to 6 months. (05Opens in a new tab.)

Interestingly, experts recommend storing certain fruits, such as cherries, in airtight containers.

So, which fruits should not be stored in airtight containers and which fruits should be kept airtight containers?

More on this below.

Fruits you should and shouldn’t keep in airtight storage containers

According to food experts and authorities, here are some of the fruits you should and should never store in airtight food storage containers. (06Opens in a new tab.,07Opens in a new tab.,08Opens in a new tab.)

Cherries

You should store your cherries in airtight containers or bags and keep them cool on the fridge’s shelf.

Also, you should avoid washing your cherries until you’re ready to eat them. Washing them ahead of time may introduce moisture and causes them to become moldy faster.

In case you accidentally wash them before you plan to consume them, you should let them dry completely before storing them in the container. You can also line the container with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.

Avocado

You should let the avocados ripe on the counter. Once you cut the avocados or turn them into tasty guacamole, you should store them in airtight containers and place them in the fridge with their pit intact to keep them from browning.

Another trick to prevent them from turning brown is to store them together with small chunks of onion. 

Also, you can try specialized avocados containers like the Guac Lock containerOpens in a new tab. to store your guacamole or the silicone avocados stretch podOpens in a new tab. to keep your cut avocados fresher for longer.

You can also drizzle a little bit of olive oil or lemon juice on the avocados to keep them fresh.

Avocados can last about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 8 months in the freezer.

Melons

You should let your uncut melons, including watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, to ripen on the counter before storing them in the fridge. Store them loose or in a paper bag.

Once you’ve cut your melon, you should store them in an airtight container or cover them with a plastic film like this oneOpens in a new tab. before refrigerating them. Be sure to wash the outside of your melons before cutting them.

Melons can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge when uncut, but will only last around 2 to 4 days after cutting. Balled melon can last up to 1 month in the freezer.

Citrus

You should never store citrus fruits, which include lemon, grapefruits, oranges, pomelo, and clementines, in an airtight storage container.

Instead, store them in a cool area with good air circulation. You can store them loosely in a mesh bag in the fridge or store them in the crisper drawer. You can also freeze them to prolong their lifespan.

They can last for about 10 days in the pantry or cupboard, between 10 and 21 days in the fridge, and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Berries

All types of berries, including blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries tend to decay pretty quickly than most fruits. This is because they contain a higher amount of moisture compared to other fruits, which makes them more susceptible to mold and germs.

That’s why similar to citrus fruits, you should never store them in airtight food storage containers

Instead, store them in unsealed shallow containers in the refrigerators to increase airflow and keep the mold from growing. You should also leave the cover slightly cracked to improve airflow. Arrange them in a single layer in the containers.

UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources does not recommend storing berries at room temperatures like in the cupboard or pantry.

Just like cherries, you should never wash berries unless you’re going to eat them. If you still want to wash them ahead of time, dietitians and nutritionists from LiveStrong recommend washing your berries with a mixture of ½ cup of water and ½ cup of white vinegar. (09Opens in a new tab.)

Be sure to let them dry completely and remove any crushed or spoiled fruits before placing them in the container. Line the container with a paper towel to soak up the excess moisture.

Strawberries and raspberries can last about 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator crisper while blueberries can stay fresh up to about 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. They can last up to 1 year when stored in the freezer.

Grapes

Similar to berries, grapes have high moisture content so they are best kept in an area with high humidity. Store them in breathable bags or containers, including bags and containers with holes, paper bags, cloth bags, and baskets.

You should only keep them in airtight containers when freezing. Like berries and cherries, you should never wash the grapes until right before you want to eat them. (10Opens in a new tab.)

Grapes can last for only one day in the pantry or cupboard. However, they can last up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to one month in the freezer.

Essential tips on how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher longer| Vital fruit storage mistakes you need to avoid

According to fruits and veggies experts from the UC Davis Postharvest Technology, fruits generally require one of the following three types of storage methods: (11Opens in a new tab.

  • Store in the refrigerator
  • Ripen first, then store in the refrigerator
  • Store at room temperature

Therefore, the first major mistake you need to avoid when it comes to fruit storage is storing your fruits in improper places and temperature.

Examples of fruits you need to store in the fridge include:

  • Apples (after one week)
  • Asian pears
  • Apricots
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Cut fruits

On the other hand, fruits you need to ripen on the counter before refrigerating include:

  • Tropical fruits, such as pineapples and mangoes
  • Avocados
  • Melons
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Kiwi
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines.

One trick to speed up the ripening of these fruits is by placing an apple with them inside a paper bag or a bowl.

To avoid the loss of moisture, you should store your fruits separately in a ripening bowl, perforated plastic bag, or paper bag on the counter away from sunshine.

Fruits you should only store at room temperature, that is in the pantry or cupboard, include the following:

  • Apples (for less than one week)
  • Bananas
  • Papayas
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranates
  • Persimmons
  • Mangoes

Another common mistake you probably do all the time is directly storing your fruits in the container without checking for spoilage.

You might be thinking, what’s wrong with one rotten fruit in the bag, right?

Well, here’s the thing.

One rotten fruit can spoil the rest of the fruits. So if you’re not careful, you’ll be shocked to find out your whole bag of fruits goes bad much faster than normal.

So be sure to watch out for the signs of spoilage and remove those that are spoiling, spoiled, or crushed from the group.

Also, ripening fruits give off ethylene gas which is powerful enough to spoil other nearby fruits. So don’t mix the ethylene-producing fruits with ethylene-sensitive fruits in similar storage bins. This is yet another mistake many people often make. (12Opens in a new tab.,13Opens in a new tab.)

Examples of fruits that emit a high concentration of ethylene are apples, passion fruits, avocados, bananas, tomatoes, pears, peaches, and kiwi.

Fruits that are more sensitive to ethylene include apples, avocados, bananas, broccoli, asparagus, grapes, mangoes, sweet potatoes, and watermelon.

While you should never mix these fruits together in a normal situation, you can actually use the ethylene-producing fruits to make other fruits ripen faster

Here’s how.

If you have an unripe mango at home, try putting it in a paper bag together with a ripening ethylene-producing fruit like apples. This hack will speed up the ripening of your mango because the gas emitted by the ripening apple would trigger a climacteric response in the mango.

If you want to keep your fruit later in the year, you can store them in the freezer in airtight containers. 

And don’t worry. Even though freezing can alter the fruit’s texture, it generally doesn’t affect the fruits’ nutrients, taste, and health benefits. (14Opens in a new tab.)

Freezing is also an excellent option if you’re planning to blend your fruits into smoothies.

A word of caution though, you should avoid freezing fruits that have not ripe yet since they might not ripen properly when you take them out of your freezer.

Another thing you should keep in mind is to never store your bananas in the fridge before they ripen. Otherwise, they would stop ripening and their skin would start turning black. So be sure to let your bananas ripen properly on the counter before putting them in the refrigerator.

Be sure to keep your fruits safe by cleaning them when preparing or before eating them. Rinse them under running water and rub them briskly to remove any surface microorganisms and dirt. Afterward, dry them with a clean towel. (15Opens in a new tab.)

Effective ways for storing fruit in plastic containers

Experts recommend storing foods in clear bags or containers, either plastic or glass. And whenever possible, you should mark the container with the date of the first day you store your fruits on the counter, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.

This simple action allows you to find your fruits quickly and determine their freshness level. Also, be sure to arrange your containers by date. Place older fruits in the front so you can quickly grab them first instead of the fresher ones.

Best fruit storage containers

Picking the best fruit storage containers is as crucial as learning the know-how of fruit storage. If you pick the right one, you might even be able to keep your fruits longer than expected (no kidding!).

Here are my top 3 picks for fruit storage containers.

Best Overall: Rubbermaid Freshworks Produce SaverOpens in a new tab.

These amazing food storage containers can keep your uncut fruits as fresh as the day you get them from the grocery store for up to 2 whole weeks.

They come with two innovative features: FreshVent and Crisptray. The FreshVent technology helps control the oxygen and carbon dioxide within the container. The CrispTrays, on the other hand, help lessen moisture, thereby reducing the chance of your fruits getting spoiled.

They are made of BPA-free, non-toxic plastic materials so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching out to your foods.

The best part? All parts of this container are top-rack dishwasher-safe, which means less cleaning work for you. Hurray!

All you have to do is put your unwashed, uncut fruits or veggies inside the containers and refrigerate them when appropriate.

Some consumers even go as far as calling them a “miracle plastic container.” Pretty astonishing, isn’t it?

You can read more reviews and check their latest price on Amazon by clicking this linkOpens in a new tab..

Best Budget Pick: OXO Good Grips GreenSaverOpens in a new tab.

What I love about this container is its carbon filter mechanism. Its activated carbon filter is non-toxic and serves as an ethylene gas absorber. Hence, the aging process and spoilage of your fruits can be delayed. How cool is that?

Because of this genius mechanism, your fruits, or any kinds of produce for that matter, can stay fresh longer beyond their normal expiration dates.

Also, the container’s lid comes with an adjustable vent. So you can control the amount of airflow and moisture in the container as per your fruits’ needs.

If you want a lower humidity level, simply open the vent. And if your fruits require high humidity to stay fresh, just close the vent.

The container also comes with a build-it produce guide. So you’ll know exactly when to open or close the vent for optimal storage.

Plus, you can save money from having to buy several types of containers to accommodate the different needs of your fruits and produce.

The container also comes with a removable inner basket that doubles as a colander. 

You can check them out on Amazon through this linkOpens in a new tab..

Related Read: Rubbermaid FreshWorks Vs. OXO Good Grips GreenSaver: Which One’s Better?

Best Runner-Up: Progressive Prep SolutionsOpens in a new tab.

Similar to the OXO Good Grips GreenSaver, this container features a built-in adjustable vent that allows you to control the airflow and moisture, depending on your fruit needs. So it makes storing your fruits easier and quicker.

Apart from serving as a storage container, it also serves as a colander. You can wash your fruits and store them in the same container.

Plus, it comes with a water reservoir at the bottom to keep your fruit and veggies moist at all times. The top and bottom of the container are removable. 

It is also dishwasher-safe, so you can just dump it in the dishwasher after use.

You can get more information about this container and check their current price on Amazon through this linkOpens in a new tab..

Alternatively, you can try these 5 Reusable Silicone Food SaversOpens in a new tab., which is quite popular amongst consumers. These innovative items not only help preserve the freshness of your fruits and veggies but can also be used as jar openers or covers for containers with missing lids. 

Best countertop fruit storage basket

When looking for the best countertop fruit storage basket, the critical features you should consider apart from the price include:

  • Design: You don’t want your countertop basket display look ugly, right?
  • Stability: You wouldn’t want the basket to be wobbly. Make sure it can support the weight of your fruits.
  • Materials: You should pick those with durable material that doesn’t rust easily
  • Functionality: Depending on your needs and preference, you may want to pick those with a 2 or 3-tier basket or those with a banana hanger.

Here are my top 3 favorite picks for countertop fruit storage.

TomCare Metal Fruit BasketOpens in a new tab.

This basket is made of bronze with a nice glossy bronze finish. It features detachable 2-tier baskets. So you can use each basket for different purposes. 

It has a stable structure with circular feet for balanced support and a screw-free design. You can use it to store fruits, veggies, and even bread and snacks. 

The best part? It comes with a 45-day money-back guaranteed and a 12-month warranty.

You can check them out on Amazon by clicking this link.Opens in a new tab.

Yumi Arched 3-Tier ServerOpens in a new tab.

This basket has a chic and elegant design with a curvy side, perfect for a minimalist kitchen. You can use it as a functional storage tool and a beautiful organizer display.

It’s made of sturdy steel and has gripped feet to avoid slipping. Since it comes with a 3-tiered basket, you have the option to store an assortment of fruits. You can also use it to hold your veggies and bread.

You can check it out on Amazon via this linkOpens in a new tab..

DecoBros Wire Fruit Tree Bowl with Banana HangerOpens in a new tab.

If bananas are one of your must-have fruit in the kitchen, then this basket is an excellent option for you. 

Unlike other countertop fruit storage baskets, this basket comes with a removable hanger that you can use to hang your bananas. You can also use it to hang other fruits like grapes.

It also comes with a fruit bowl that can fit various types of fruits. Its classic dark bronze coating gives a nice contrast to your sprightly and colorful fruits.

Click here Opens in a new tab.if you want to check it out on Amazon.

Should berries be stored in airtight containers?

All kinds of berries, which include strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries should not be stored in airtight containers as they have high moisture content, which makes them more prone to mold and bacteria. Store them in containers with great airflow instead to prevent these organisms from growing.

Can you store grapes in an airtight container?

Grapes should be stored in breathable storage containers or plastic with holes to allow good air circulation and maintain high humidity. Storing grapes in non-ventilated containers, while possible, will cause them to go bad quicker. Only store grapes in an airtight food container when freezing them. 

Eina Aivoges

Eina Aivoges is a certified health and wellness coach and a licensed medical laboratory scientist. She's also a foodie, avid coffee drinker, cat-lover, blogger, and traveler.

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