How do you keep fruit off the counter?

Keeping fruit off the counter can be a challenge, especially if you have limited space or a fruit fly problem. However, with some simple solutions, you can store your fruit properly and keep it fresh longer.

Why Keep Fruit Off the Counter?

There are a few key reasons you may want to avoid leaving fruit out on the counter:

  • Fruit ripens faster – Fruit left out at room temperature ripens faster due to ethylene gas exposure. This can lead to spoilage.
  • Attracts fruit flies – Fruit flies are attracted to the smell and juice of ripe fruit. Leaving it out can lead to an infestation.
  • Absorbs odors – Fruit can absorb odors from the kitchen, leading to off-flavors.
  • Prone to mold – Sitting out increases moisture exposure, making fruit prone to mold growth.

Countertop Storage Solutions

If you have ample countertop space and want to keep fruit visible and ready to eat, there are ways to store it properly:

Fruit Bowl

A fruit bowl is the classic option for keeping fruit on the counter. Choose a shallow, wide bowl rather than a deep container. Glass or metal bowls are ideal since they allow air circulation. Only keep a couple pieces of fruit in the bowl at a time, and replenish with fresh fruit daily.

Hanging Fruit Basket

Hanging fruit baskets are great for small kitchens or to keep fruit up off the counter. Choose a wire or mesh basket that allows air flow. As with a fruit bowl, only keep a few pieces of fruit inside at once and replace them regularly.

Fruit Hammock

Fruit hammocks or slings are designed to keep fruit suspended and separated for maximum air flow. They come in wire, mesh, or fabric and hang from cabinets, windows, or walls. Use them to store bananas, avocados, apples, or other hardy fruits.

Fruit Fly Traps

If you’ve had an ongoing fruit fly problem, use fruit fly traps around any fruit you keep on the counter. Traps draw flies away from the fruit with apple cider vinegar or wine. This prevents eggs from being laid on the fruit.

Refrigerator Storage

For most fruits, refrigerated storage is ideal. The cold environment slows ripening and drying out. Different fruits have different optimum humidity levels, so follow these guidelines:

High Humidity

Fruits that require high humidity are best stored in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag. This helps prevent moisture loss. Fruits that need high humidity:

  • Berries – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Cut melons – cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
  • Pome fruits – apples, pears, Asian pears
  • Stone fruits – plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots

Low Humidity

Fruits that require lower humidity should be refrigerated in a paper bag or produce bin. This prevents moisture accumulation. Low humidity fruits include:

  • Citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes
  • Bananas
  • Mangoes
  • Papaya
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • Tomatoes

Avoid Refrigerating

Some fruits are cold sensitive and should be left on the counter until fully ripe. Only then can they be moved to the refrigerator to slow further ripening. These include:

  • Avocados
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains

Fruit Storage Tips

To maximize fruit freshness in the refrigerator:

  • Store fruits separately – Fruits produce different amounts of ethylene gas. Keeping them separate prevents over-ripening.
  • Use clean containers – Always store fruit in clean, preferably airtight, containers to prevent contamination.
  • Check regularly – Look through refrigerated fruit every few days and remove any spoiled pieces.
  • Wash just before eating – Don’t wash fruits until you’re ready to eat them. The excess moisture can speed spoilage.
  • Avoid chilling injury – Allow cold-sensitive fruits to come to room temperature before refrigerating to prevent chilling injury.

Freezer Storage

Many fruits freeze well for later use in smoothies, baking, sauces, and more. To freeze fruit:

  1. Wash, peel, and slice fruit.
  2. Spread pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Freeze until solid, about 2-4 hours.
  4. Transfer to airtight freezer bags or containers.
  5. Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  6. Label with the fruit and date.
  7. Use within 8-12 months for best quality.

The best fruits to freeze include:

  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas – best frozen when ripe with peel on

Avoid freezing:

  • Watermelon
  • Citrus fruits
  • Grapes
  • Pears

These fruits tend to become mushy when thawed.

Drying and Dehydrating

Drying or dehydrating fruit removes the moisture to prevent spoilage. It concentrates natural sugars and intensifies flavor. Dried fruits last for several months stored in an airtight container.

Fruits can be dried naturally in the sun or with a food dehydrator. To dry in the sun:

  1. Slice fruit 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and remove any pits, stems, or blemishes.
  2. Arrange slices in a single layer on mesh racks or baking sheets.
  3. Place racks in direct sunlight for 6-12 hours, flipping halfway through.
  4. Bring trays inside at night to prevent reabsorbing moisture.

Food dehydrators provide consistent low temperature airflow. Most fruits take 4-12 hours to dry.

Fruits that dry well include:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Figs
  • Grapes (as raisins)
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Strawberries


Canning involves heating packed jars of fruit to kill microorganisms and seal for long-term storage. Refer to a reputable canning guide for detailed, tested fruit canning procedures. Some fruits that are commonly canned include:

  • Apples – sliced or sauced
  • Apricots – halved or sliced
  • Berries – whole or crushed
  • Cherries – whole, pitted
  • Peaches – halved or sliced
  • Pears – halved or sliced
  • Plums – halved or whole

Only use evidence-based, tested canning methods. Improper canning can result in serious foodborne illness.


Pickling fruit in vinegar provides tangy, acidic flavor. Refrigerator and freezer pickles can be quick and easy, while processed, canned pickles require canning methods. Some fruits that pickle well include:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon rind

Again, follow reputable recipes and canning procedures for long-term storage of pickled fruits.


Juicing fruit extracts the liquid and nutrients while removing the fiber. Fresh fruit juice only lasts 24-48 hours. For longer storage:

  • Refrigerate – Store tightly sealed for 3-5 days
  • Freeze – Freeze juice in ice cube trays or muffin tins, then transfer to bags for up to 6 months.
  • Can – Heat seal canned juice for shelf-stable storage.

Nearly any fruit can be juiced, including:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates

Preserving with Sugar

Sugar binds with water in fruit to create a high-solute environment that prevents microbial growth. This allows fruit to be preserved as jams, jellies, marmalades, conserves, candies, and more. Key preservation methods include:

  • Jams – Crushed fruit cooked with sugar to gel spreadable consistency
  • Jellies – Sweetened fruit juice gelled into spreadable consistency
  • Marmalades – Cooked citrus fruits and rinds in gel
  • Conserves – Small, whole fruits or chunks in sugar syrup
  • Fruit butters – Pureed fruit cooked down to thick, spreadable consistency
  • Candied fruit – Whole fruit or peels preserved in heated sugar syrup

When canning or processing sugared fruit products, follow established recipes and methods to prevent spoilage.

Storing Dried, Canned, or Preserved Fruit

For best quality and food safety, be sure to store processed and preserved fruit properly:

  • Store in cool, dark place – Avoid heat, light, and moisture
  • Refrigerate after opening – Keep canned or jarred fruit chilled once opened
  • Check for spoilage before eating – Look for mold, off odors, sliminess, etc.
  • Use within recommended timeframe – Follow guidelines for type of preservation
  • Freeze for longer storage – Many products freeze well for extended use

Buy Processed Fruit in Moderate Amounts

While preserving fruit at home can provide control over additives like sugar, salt, and preservatives, commercially processed fruits often contain high amounts of these additives. When buying pre-dried, frozen, canned, or jarred fruits, be mindful of:

  • Added sugars – Choose products without added sugars or look for “no sugar added” options
  • Salt and preservative content – Compare brands and choose products with fewer additives
  • Serving sizes – Stick to smaller portion sizes of dried or sugared fruits

Enjoy processed fruits in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet focused on whole foods.

Get Creative with Fruit Storage and Preservation

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new storage methods or recipes to preserve seasonal fruit. Some creative ideas include:

  • Infused spirits – Try infusing vodka or gin with berries, citrus, stone fruits, or melons.
  • Herbal fruit vinegars – Steep fresh herbs in vinegar, then add fruit for unique flavor.
  • Fruit leathers – Puree fruit into leathery fruit roll-ups.
  • Lacto-fermented fruit – Ferment fruit with whey for unique tangy flavor.
  • Fruit desserts – Make healthy crisps, crumbles, tarts, or parfaits to use up fresh fruit.

Prioritize Fresh Fruit When Possible

While preserved fruit can be more convenient and extends the season, fresh fruit provides the best flavor and nutrition. When fresh fruit is in season, make it the bulk of your diet. Enjoy berries, melons, stone fruits, and tropical fruits at their seasonal peak.

Pair fresh fruit with healthy proteins like Greek yogurt or nut butter for quick breakfasts and snacks. Whip up fruit-based salads, chia puddings, or smoothie bowls to get in nutrients and antioxidants.

Let fresh fruit shine as the star ingredient instead of adding unnecessary sugars or processing. With a little planning, you can enjoy the convenience of preserved fruit while still prioritizing nature’s perfect package – fresh fruit.


Keeping fruit off the counter and properly stored is crucial to maintain freshness and reduce waste. Refrigeration, freezing, and low-sugar preservation techniques can allow you to enjoy fruit year-round. At the same time, try to focus on fresh, seasonal fruit whenever possible for maximum nutrition and taste.

With knowledge of proper storage methods, some simple preparation, and a little creativity, you can keep fruit out of sight but not out of reach. Take steps to keep fruit fresh and enjoyable while avoiding counter clutter and fruit fly infestations.

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