Care and Handling At Home

Storing & Prepping Your Produce

  • Proper storage of fresh produce can affect both quality and safety. Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below

  • Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled to maintain both quality and safety. If you have sliced or peeled produce at home, refrigerate within two hours. If sliced or peeled produce has been sitting out for more than two hours, toss it out

  • Fresh whole produce such as bananas or potatoes do not need refrigeration. If you're not sure whether an item should be refrigerated to maintain quality, ask your grocer

  • When preparing any fresh produce, begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after preparation

  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded

  • To avoid cross-contamination use two cutting boards; one for raw meat and another for fruits and vegetables

  • Raw sprouts such as alfalfa and clover should be cooked to reduce risk of illness

  • Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home, or purchased from a grocery store or grower's market. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended

  • Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable. Be sure to remove and discard the outer leaves of whole head lettuce

  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers with a clean produce brush. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present

  • Cooked vegetables should be thrown out after three to four days