When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people started worrying about supplies. First, it was bottled water and toilet paper, and now people are thinking about food. “First of all, please don’t panic,” writes Lindsey, dietitian for Moms on Instagram’s Nutritiontofit. “You don’t need to go overboard, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security does advise having a two week supply of food in the face of a pandemic. Pantry and freezer staples are certainly part of it, but fresh produce can still be included.”
Now you may be wondering how that could possibly work. You’ve seen bananas go from green to yellow to black in what seems like one night. But don’t worry. There are fruits and vegetables that last much longer than bananas. Lindsey provides a list of sixteen items—from squashes to beets, onions, carrots, citrus fruits, and more—that will last at least two weeks, and sometimes longer, in your pantry. You just need to store them properly. Those storage options include a pantry, the refrigerator, and “a cool dark place.” You should also be aware of the nature of certain plant foods. For instance, apples produce ethylene gas, which can cause other foods to go bad more quickly, so you’ll want to separate your apples from other foods. Broccoli and Cauliflower should also be stored separately. Root vegetables potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, but root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes should be kept in the refrigerator.
Stocking up for a pandemic doesn’t mean that you’ll be filling your pantry with rows and rows of number 10 cans. You can still get the fruits and vegetables that you love, you just need to pick the right one. The simple guide to which fruits and vegetables last the longest can help you make that choice, and help you store them properly.