Tips for Properly Handling and Storing Delivered Fresh Produce

Does your delivered fresh produce seem to wilt, decay, or lose its vibrancy sooner than expected? Have you ever wondered how to prevent your crunchy capsicum from turning soft or your luscious strawberries from becoming mushy? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us need help with maintaining the freshness of our produce post-delivery. But don’t worry! By understanding the correct ways to handle and store your fresh goods, we can win the fight against food wastage.

One of the greatest pleasures of living in Australia is the abundance and diversity of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us. We can conveniently enjoy this bounty with a simple click of a button, as most of these delicious and health-boosting foods are delivered right to our doorsteps in a neatly packaged fruit and veg box. However, the challenge often begins once these goodies arrive home. How do we properly handle and store these items to ensure they retain their freshness and taste as long as possible? This comprehensive guide provides insights and practical tips to keep your delivered fresh produce at its best for longer.

The Importance of Understanding Your Fresh Produce

To excel in handling and storing fresh produce, we must first understand different fruits and vegetables’ unique needs. Apples are not stored the same way as avocados, and leafy greens have different requirements than root vegetables. Knowing these differences is the first step in preserving their freshness.

Treat Your Fresh Produce with Care

It’s worth remembering that fresh fruits and vegetables are quite delicate. Rough handling can lead to bruising, cuts, or other damages that accelerate decay. Thus, handling your produce gently is crucial, especially when unboxing your fresh delivery. Not only does this preserve their appearance, but it also helps maintain their nutritional quality.

Wash As You Go, Not Beforehand

Many of us habitually wash all our fruits and vegetables as soon as they’re delivered. While this practice might seem hygienic, it can encourage spoilage. Moisture promotes mould growth, which can quickly damage your produce. It’s best to clean them right before they’re about to be consumed.

Smart Storage Practices for Fresh Produce

After carefully unboxing and handling your fresh produce, the next step is storing them in conditions that best suit their needs. Here’s how:

Use Your Fridge Wisely

Refrigeration slows the ripening process and curbs the growth of harmful bacteria, making it an ideal storage method for many fruits and veggies. However, not all fresh produce thrives in cold conditions. For example, bananas, tomatoes, and potatoes tend to suffer in the fridge and are better kept at room temperature.

Humidity Matters

Different types of fresh produce have varying humidity requirements. While leafy greens usually prefer high humidity, fruits like apples and pears need low humidity to stay fresh. Thankfully, most refrigerators have high-humidity and low humidity drawers to cater to these needs.

Keep Ethylene Producers Separate

Certain fruits and vegetables, including apples, bananas, and tomatoes, release a natural gas known as ethylene that speeds up the ripening process. To prevent premature ripening, it’s best to separately store ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive items (like leafy greens, cucumbers, and carrots).

Regular Checks and Maintenance

Storing your fresh produce correctly is half the battle. Regularly checking and sorting them is just as crucial in maintaining their freshness.

Act Quickly to Remove Spoiling Produce

The old saying, “One bad apple spoils the bunch,” rings true. If one item in your produce box starts to spoil, it can quickly affect the rest. Regular inspections will enable you to spot and remove rotting items promptly, thus protecting the rest of your produce.

Practice Rotation

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy for older produce to be overlooked and go to waste as new deliveries arrive. Avoid this by adopting a ‘first in, first out’ rule. Always consume the older items first and place the newly delivered produce towards the back. This method ensures everything gets eaten in good time and reduces the risk of finding a wilted lettuce or squishy peach at the back of your fridge.

Don’t Forget the Dry Storage

While we’ve focused on the fridge, it’s important to remember that some produce prefers dry or room-temperature storage. For example, potatoes, onions, and garlic are best stored in a cool, dark place. Meanwhile, tomatoes and stone fruits should be stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight to preserve their flavour and texture.

Keep Them in the Dark

Most fruits and vegetables prefer the dark. Light can accelerate ripening and cause some vegetables, like potatoes, to develop harmful compounds. A pantry or cupboard exposed to little light is an ideal storage place for these items.

Give Them Space

Overcrowding can cause fresh produce to ripen and spoil faster due to restricted airflow and increased ethylene concentration. Wherever you store them, be it in the fridge or a cupboard, make sure your fruits and veggies have enough room to breathe.


Learning how to handle and store delivered fresh produce properly might seem like a chore initially. But once you get the hang of it, these small changes can significantly extend the life and quality of your fruit and veg box. Proper storage keeps your produce fresh and tasty for longer. It promotes a healthier lifestyle, saves money, and reduces food waste—a win for you and our beautiful planet. So, take the time to understand your product, treat them with the care they deserve, and store them correctly. You’ll be rewarded with fresh, delicious fruits and veggies ready to be enjoyed at every meal!


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