Nutrition

Stock Up on This Long Lasting Produce During Your Next Grocery Trip

With this list, you don't have to worry about your fruits and vegetables going bad.


Going to the grocery store during COVID-19 is no longer just a quick trip in and out. You have to come prepared with a list of items that you know will last a long time and give you the flexibility to make different types of meals. While everyone tends to flock to the frozen fruits and vegetables, there is actually a lot of long lasting fresh produce that you can safely bring home.

To help you be better prepared for your next grocery run, we put together a list of fruits and vegetables that have the longest shelf (or fridge) life and ways you can use them.

1. Squash

While it may not technically be squash season, there are still a variety of squashes to choose from at the store, such as butternut squash or spaghetti squash. Squash can last a couple of months if stored in a cool, dark place.

Use it in these recipes: 

Garlic Spaghetti Squash

This dish, made with spaghetti squash, herbs, and Gruyére cheese, is easy to put together as a side dish or an entrée. If you’re making it for an entrée, try topping it with a meat or bean/lentil of your choice to keep you full for longer.

Roasted Squash Panzanella

If you panic-bought bread at the beginning of quarantine and it’s about to go bad, this is a great recipe to have on hand. This panzanella combines crunchy bread with roasted butternut squash, red onion, kale, and tahini.

2. Cabbage

Whether it’s red or green cabbage, wrap the cabbage in plastic wrap and it’ll last for about two months in the refrigerator. Because of its low water content, it stays fresh much longer than your usual spinach or leafy green.

Use it in these recipes:

Lemon Garlic Sautéed Cabbage

This simple sautéed cabbage recipe can be made with ingredients you most likely already have, such as olive oil and garlic. When slicing up the cabbage, remember to remove the outer leaves and discard the core.

Sesame Ginger Slaw

Both red and green cabbage can be used in this slaw, along with carrots, scallions, and basil. Use it to top tacos, fish, or serve it up as a crunchy snack.

3. Carrots

Opt for the larger, full-sized carrots that haven’t been peeled or cut yet. To keep them fresh for longer, place a paper towel inside the bag of carrots to absorb any moisture, which can accelerate rot.

Use them in these recipes:

Honey-Garlic Roasted Carrots

This basic roasted carrot recipe is simple and easy to follow. The recipe calls for butter, but if you prefer, you can use olive oil—it just won’t have the same browned butter taste. Leftovers will last for up to five days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Macaroni and Cheese

If you’re craving comfort food, but also want to sneak some vegetables in, this is the perfect recipe to do so. The carrots are cooked and puréed and used to make the base of the cheese sauce.

4. Potatoes

Potatoes are best stored around 40 degrees in a cool, dark place and will last a couple of weeks. However, if you store potatoes in the fridge they can last for about two to three months.

Use them in these recipes:

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Now’s the ideal time to improve your potato roasting skills. This recipe produces simple, roasted potatoes flavored with salt, pepper, and rosemary, but feel free to add other spices of your choosing. Remember not to crowd the potatoes or else they won’t get as crispy.

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

These roasted sweet potatoes are made extra crispy by smashing them halfway through baking. The recipe calls for lentils, but you can use whatever you have in your pantry, such as beans or rice.

5. Beets

Beets can last between two and four months in the fridge. To prevent the beets from drying out, trim off the greens if they’re still attached to the top of the beet.

Use them in these recipes:

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze

The key to roasting beets is to cover them with foil so they don’t dry out. These beets are roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and finished with an easy balsamic glaze made with balsamic vinegar and sugar.

Marinated Beets with Potatoes and Horseradish

This recipe is great to use up both your beets and potatoes. The beets are cooked, then marinated, in a tangy marinade and mixed with roasted potatoes, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, and lemon juice for a fresh spring dish.

6. Apples

Apples are one of the few fruits that take much longer to go bad. They last the longest in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator and can keep for about four months.

Use them in these recipes:

Sweet and Spicy Apple Chips

With plenty of time to kill, now is the perfect opportunity to make these apple chips—they need about two hours to cook. Made with brown sugar, honey, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, these are a delicious sweet and spicy combination.

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

This crunchy salad features thin-sliced apples and Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, and a shallot. Top the salad with grilled chicken or add chickpeas for a heartier meal.

7. Oranges

Oranges will last about two to three weeks out on your counter, but can stay fresh for up to two months in the fridge. These fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy.

Use them in these recipes:

Orange Thyme Jam

This not-too-sweet jam is made with only seven ingredients and one bowl. Use the jam on toast, waffles, in your oatmeal, or even if you need to make a quick PB & J.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

You only need 30 minutes to make this quick and healthy dinner. Before you sauté the chicken, be sure that it has no extra moisture. Dry it with a few paper towels if necessary.