3. Leafy Greens and Lettuce
You better eat those salad greens right away, or they might go bad from ethylene exposure before you know it. Different greens have different freshness expiration dates, but most of them are ethylene-sensitive and require cold storage. Lettuce bagged at the market will stay fresh for only about five days in the refrigerator. Spinach can last up to a full week. Romaine lettuce can last up to two weeks. Here’s a quick tip for green salads: serve the ingredients in separate containers that can be closed and stored in the fridge. Keeping your leftover greens away from your leftover tomatoes will make them all last longer.
Onions can last for up to a month at room temperature, but there’s one common household mistake that will cut their lives short. Storing onions near ethylene-producing potatoes is a quick way to encourage the onions to sprout and rot. Ethylene-sensitive onions do much better in cold storage away from potatoes and other ethylene producing foods. Freezing onions works well, and gives them a shelf life of around 10 to 12 months. With onions stored properly in the refrigerator, they can last nearly two months.
1. Squash and Pumpkins
You’d think with those tough exteriors, squash and pumpkins would be safe against ethylene exposure. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The number of days they’ll stay fresh depends on the types of squash. Pumpkins can stay fresh at room temperature for up to three months, and a couple of months longer if you put them in the fridge. Winter squash can stay in the pantry up to six weeks, up to three months when refrigerated, and up to a year in the freezer. Summer squash stays fresh about five days at room temperature, up to three months in the fridge, and about one year in the freezer.