Why You Should Never Store Onions With Potatoes—Plus, Other Fruits and Vegetables That Don't Go Together (2024)

Reducing food waste is always a good idea, especially when a few easy at-home shifts can help cut down grocery bills and help our environment. One way to do just that? Knowing which fresh produce items can be safely stored together—and what fruits and vegetables should never be too close. Heeding our tips will prevent your apples from smelling like onions, stop your fruits from ripening too quickly, and get rid of moisture that turns fresh lettuce to mush.

Should You Refrigerate Lemons?

Keep Onions Away From Apples and Potatoes

Ultimately, understanding which types of produce can and can't safely be stored near each other will maximize your foods' longevity. "In general, don't store ethylene-sensitive fruits or vegetables with fruits or vegetables that produce a high amount of ethylene gasses," says John Adler, the vice president of culinary at Blue Apron. "Probably the best example of this is storing onions with apples—you will end up with onion-scented apples!—and more commonly, onions with potatoes. Storing onions and potatoes together will hasten the ripening process on the potatoes, leading them to grow eyes and sometimes roots." This goes for garlic, as well, despite the fact that potatoes, onions, and garlic should all be housed in a cool dark place.

More Apple Storage Tips

As for some other fast facts to know about storage apples? Don't place them in a bowl with other fruits—they can be stored on the countertop, but because they emit lots of ethylene gas, aim to keep them at least 6 to 8 inches away from other fruits and vegetables. Consider putting a bowl of apples on a coffee table, hutch, or entryway station to keep your apples safely away from ethylene-sensitive produce.

There's one exception to this: If you want to quickly ripen countertop fruits, like bananas, "putting them closer to apples on the counter will help them ripen faster," says Adler.

Store Melons Solo

Like apples and bananas, melons produce ethylene, which can lead to the over-ripening of nearby produce. Melons are typically best stored on your countertop, until they are ripe enough to cut, eat, or store in sealed packages that will protect the fruit itself and its nearby neighbors in the fridge.

Keep Cauliflower Away From Apples, Kiwis, and Onions

Cauliflower is a vegetable that belongs away from most fruits and alliums. "Cauliflower is very ethylene sensitive, so it is best not to store it in the same drawer as apples, melons, kiwis, or onions," says Adler. It needs air circulation to stay fresh, so if it's in a punctuated plastic bag, feel free to keep it in tact. If your cauliflower is in a a plastic or compostable produce bag, make sure the top is open so it can breathe. It keeps best in a refrigerator drawer with other vegetables—or on a shelf. The same goes for broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, all of which are sensitive to ethylene.

Place Mushrooms Away From Pungent Foods

While they are technically a fungus—not a fruit or vegetable—most of us consider mushrooms produce, and we generally store them with other produce iterations in the refrigerator. But our favorite fungi are susceptible to absorbing odors from smelly foods nearby, like leftover takeout, so take care to store them near less pungent options in the refrigerator.

Ultimately, it's best to store mushrooms in a paper bag; this lets the mushrooms breathe, prevents contamination, and should also absorb excess moisture to prevent the mushrooms from spoiling. Change the bag if it feels wet or flimsy, and make sure any moist bags aren't in close contact with other produce.

Use Your Crisper Drawer

Keeping vegetables in your crisper drawer is the key to extending their freshness. "The biggest thing that will spoil vegetables quickly is excess moisture and temperature abuse, so you want to store vegetables in a crisper and make sure they are dry," says Adler. Control both, he says, before you place food in the crisper drawer.

Temperature Control

Lay vegetables that become warm in your car or in a tote on the way home from the farmers' market flat and allow them to return to room temperature before you move them to their new home in your vegetable drawer, says Adler. This ensures that the vegetables won't condensate as quickly and make the rest of the produce in your fridge moist and spoiled.

Moisture Reduction

"Greens are best washed, well dried, and then stored with layers of paper towels [between leaves] to prevent condensation from causing damage," says Adler.

Separate Ethylene Producers and Ethylene Sensitive Produce

When in doubt, or if you're low on storage space, the most important element of fruit and vegetable storage is to separate ethylene producers from their sensitive produce relatives (see the below chart for a comprehensive list of produce items that should never be stored together).

Note that there are some fruits that aren't sensitive to ethylene, such as citrus; they can be stored with ethylene producers if space is tight. Products, like storage containers and sheets, can help absorb ethylene in your crisper drawer to keep produce as fresh as possible.

Ethylene ProducersEthylene Sensitive
AvocadosBananas (unripe)
Bananas (ripe)Brussels sprouts
Peaches and NectarinesLeafy Greens

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Why You Should Never Store Onions With Potatoes—Plus, Other Fruits and Vegetables That Don't Go Together (2024)


Why You Should Never Store Onions With Potatoes—Plus, Other Fruits and Vegetables That Don't Go Together? ›

Onions produce a high level of ethylene gas, which will cause potatoes to ripen — and go bad — before you're ready to use them. However, those spuds aren't completely innocent, either; potatoes' high moisture content can cause onions to liquefy and leak. Keep onions and potatoes apart for both vegetables' sakes.

Why not store onions and potatoes together? ›

But, here's the catch: Storing potatoes and onions together will drastically shorten their shelf life. The reason? Onions produce ethylene gas, a gas that causes potatoes to spoil prematurely. Conversely, potatoes' high moisture content can cause onions to turn brown and mushy.

Can you store onions with other fruits and vegetables? ›

The Fruits and Vegetables You Should Never Store Together

Other fruits and veggies are best at a distance so they don't transfer odors from one to another; onions and garlic, for instance, can overpower the taste or smell of apples, pears, carrots, celery, and others.

What two vegetables should not be stored together? ›

  • Keep Onions Away From Apples and Potatoes.
  • Store Melons Solo.
  • Keep Cauliflower Away From Apples, Kiwis, and Onions.
  • Place Mushrooms Away From Pungent Foods.
  • Use Your Crisper Drawer.
  • Separate Ethylene Producers and Ethylene Sensitive Produce.
Aug 5, 2022

What fruit should not be stored together? ›

While we'd love if all fruits and veggies could get along, these are some of our favorite produce combos that shouldn't be stored near each other: Apples and Avocados. Bananas and Mangoes. Tomatoes and Cucumbers.

Why should you not put potatoes in the refrigerator? ›

Surprisingly, even the fridge isn't great. Cold temperatures prompt the spuds to turn their starches into sugars (something called cold-induced sweetening), making them taste, well, sweeter, and will likely make them turn brown when cooked. Storing them there will fly for a little while, but not long term.

Why should you not keep onions in the fridge? ›

Onion is known to have a bad smell and contains Sulfur, which causes tears while chopping. Keeping chopped onion in the refrigerator can cause bacteria to grow in it. There are pathogenic bacteria in the environment, due to which onion becomes oxidized, and the onion will get spoiled.

What vegetables are not compatible with onions? ›

While there are many plants you want to grow near onions, there are a few that should definitely be avoided. Onions should not be planted with peas, beans, asparagus, or sage. Onions can stunt the growth of these crops and also negatively affect their flavor.

Can bananas and tomatoes be stored together? ›

Tomatoes and bananas

This pair is actually on the list of what fruit and veggies not to store together. Fruits and vegetables that do a lot of ripening after they're picked, such as tomatoes, bananas, kiwis and honeydew melons, are best stored apart.

What are 2 vegetables that should not be refrigerated? ›

WHAT VEGETABLES SHOULD NOT BE REFRIGERATED? Vegetables that should not be refrigerated include avocados, bell peppers, onions and potatoes. Some vegetables that you may want to refrigerate include mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and asparagus.

What vegetables Cannot be next to each other? ›

14 Vegetables You Should Never Plant Together—Gardening Experts Explain Why
  • 01 of 14. Beans and Onions. ...
  • 02 of 14. Tomatoes and Potatoes. ...
  • 03 of 14. Corn and Tomatoes. ...
  • 04 of 14. Tomatoes and Brassicas. ...
  • 05 of 14. Cucumber and Squash. ...
  • 06 of 14. Lettuce and Celery. ...
  • 07 of 14. Fennel and Tomatoes. ...
  • 08 of 14. Peppers and Cabbage.
Jan 16, 2024

What not to put next to bananas? ›

Ethylene-producing fruits, such as apples, bananas, peaches and honeydew melons, should not be stored next to avocados, lemons, grapes, onions and other fruits or vegetables that are sensitive to this compound. Also, you should never store ethylene-producing fruits together.

Why can't you store apples and bananas together? ›

Yes. Many ripening fruit produce the hydrocarbon gas ethylene as they ripen, which itself triggers more ripening. Bananas are especially productive sources of the gas, and putting one that's in the process of going brown next to apples, pears or hard avocados will greatly speed up their ripening.

What fruit should not be refrigerated? ›

But many other fruits and veggies need to spend some time on the counter before they're ready to eat. Apples, avocados, peaches and pears are examples of produce that should be left out of the fridge until they've ripened.

Which fruit is not eaten together? ›

Acidic and sub-acidic fruits such as grapefruits, strawberries, apples, pomegranates, and peaches, should never be combined with sweet fruits such as bananas and raisins. This is because it often leads to digestive problems, nausea, acidosis, and headaches.

What is the best container to store potatoes and onions in? ›

A plastic basket with open weaving (something like a small laundry basket) makes a great storage bin for potatoes. Just make sure you place the basket in a dark place, like a closet or pantry. It's also important not to wash potatoes prior to storing them. You can wipe them off with a dry cloth or paper towel.

What not to store onions with? ›

It's not just potatoes you need to worry about. Other produce that releases ethylene gas, such as apples, citrus, and bananas, will accelerate an onion's degradation, as will moisture-rich fruits such as melons and cucumbers, says Alibrandi. An onion's absorbent nature also means it easily picks up smells.

Should potatoes and onions be stored near each other at room temperature to increase their shelf life? ›

What you don't want is to have your potatoes and onions in close proximity, as gases from the onions can hasten sprouting in potatoes. Kept in the dark: Davison says your potatoes should be stored inside a paper bag in a cool, dark, dry place.

Can you plant onions next to potatoes? ›

Onions and potatoes are perfect companion plants who grow together happily. To avoid some common planting mistakes and grow a successful crop, check through this onion and potato companion planting guide.

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