Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on August 08, 2019

Cantaloupe

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A few days at room temperature is all you need. It’s ready when it starts to have a strong smell of … well … cantaloupe. Once it's ripe, you can keep your melon in the fridge for up to 4 days before it starts to go bad. Make sure to keep it away from your vegetables, or your veggies won't stay fresh as long.

Kiwi

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Leave it on the countertop to ripen. It’s ready when it's tender enough to give a little after a soft squeeze.  Room temperature is best for ripening. After that, move it to the fridge, where it’ll stay good for 3 to 6 days.

Apples

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They're usually ripe when they're picked. Stay away from ones with soft spots. Look for firm, smooth skin. They'll stay ripe for up to 6 weeks, as long as they're in a plastic bag in your fridge.

Pineapple

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Choose one that’s fully ripe. It's ready if it's slightly firm with a sweet smell, yellow skin, and deep green leaves. It'll last about a week in the fridge. You can store it whole with the top still on. Or you can peel it, slice it, and put it in a covered container.

Bananas

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Buy them when green. When the peels turn yellow with hints of brown, they're ready. They'll be fragile and bruise easily when they’re ripe. If you hang them in a cool area of your kitchen, they should stay fresh for up to a week. If you have overripe ones, freeze them. You can make them part of your next batch of ice cream, banana bread, or muffins. You can also use them to flavor up a smoothie.

Oranges

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The best ones have shiny, thin skin and give a little when you squeeze them. Some common varieties -- Valencia, for example -- can have a green tinge, even after they get ripe. Oranges and other citrus fruits should last up to 10 to 21 days in the refrigerator.

Raspberries

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Like blueberries and blackberries, they stop ripening right after they come off the plant. The best ones are plump with a deep, rich color. They may be overripe if the color stains the bottom of the container. Most berries should last up to 4 days in the fridge. Put them in a glass bowl lined with paper towels.

Mango

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Let it ripen at room temperature. It's ready to eat when it's slightly soft with a strong, sweet smell. It’s fine if the skin is slightly bruised or has a few brownish specks. Once ripe, it should keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Pomegranates

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These usually are ripe when you buy them. For the best flavor, look for larger ones that are brightly colored with unbroken skin. They can last for 1 to 3 months in the refrigerator.  

Peaches and Nectarines

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These are ripe when picked. Sometimes, they can still be quite hard. Avoid the rock-like ones. If they’re just firm, put them in a paper bag at room temperature. They should get soft and juicy in a few days. When they are, put them in the refrigerator, where they should stay fresh for up to 3 to 5 days. Or just eat them. 

Pears

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They aren't completely ripe when picked. Leave them out at room temperature. When the stem-end of the fruit has a little give to the touch, they’re ready to eat. After that, they should stay good for up to 3 to 5 days, if you refrigerate them.

Cherries

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Like berries, they stop ripening once they’re picked. The best ones are plump with their stems still attached.  Put them in a covered container in your fridge. If you do, they should stay fresh up to 2 to 3 days. 

Watermelon

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This one can be tough to figure out without cutting. Look for a smooth skin, or “rind,” that’s pretty dull. Its ends should be full and rounded. The bottom, or “belly,” often goes from white to creamy yellow as it ripens.

Apricots

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These should be plump and golden orange. Avoid them if they’re pale yellow or greenish-yellow, or if they're shriveled or bruised. Soft apricots have the most flavor, and they taste best at room temperature. You can pop them in the fridge to keep them from going bad, but they’ll start to dry out after a couple of days.

Strawberries

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You want bright red color, a natural shine, and a fresh green cap. They should be plump, but not too soft, with no sign of mold. Wash them in cold water before you enjoy them. Keep the cap on so the juice stays inside the berry. They don't ripen once they're picked. They typically stay fresh for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. The longest they'll keep is about 7 days.

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