Why You Should Never Wash Your Fruit Before Refrigerating It

Don't sabotage those berries.

As part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” project, HuffPost Taste will focus the entire month of July on simple ways you can reduce food waste in your own home.

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Storing fruit isn’t as easy as it might seem ― especially if you want to extend its shelf life. First of all, there are certain fruits that should never be stored together. (Some kinds encourage others to ripen too quickly.) Secondly, you should never wash them before storing them in the fridge. That’s just going to increase the chance that they spoil prematurely.

The instinct to wash fruit is a good one ― just wait to do it right before eating it. Putting washed fruit in the fridge adds excess moisture, which speeds up fruit’s decay. And decay means throwing it in the garbage, which is a waste of money and food. Instead, store properly dried fruit in the fridge and wash it when you’re ready to eat.

If you really insist on washing your fruit before refrigerating it, just be sure to dry it really well before doing so. Cook’s Illustrated recommends using a salad spinner lined with paper towels to get fruits like berries really dry without any rough handling. But it would work for grapes and cherries, too.

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If you’re one of those people who has to wash their summer berries before storing them, consider doing so in a vinegar solution. This can actually help extend the shelf life of fruit ― so long as the time and care is taken in drying. The vinegar destroys bacteria and mold, helping it stay fresh for days, sometimes weeks, longer. If you ask us, that’s more than worth the effort.

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