There is a surprising amount of controversy surrounding vegetables. Not just the whole “a tomato is technically a fruit” thing either.
One of the biggest conversations is about whether different fruits and vegetables should be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Everyone’s heard advice from someone, somewhere about how to store everything under the sun.
The problem is, some vegetables need to stay cool and dry, others need to be cool and humid, and some don’t like being cooled at all. It’s so much to remember!
It may seem confusing, but it really is worth learning and committing to memory. Produce accounts for some of the most perishable items in your kitchen.
Learning to store everything properly can reduce waste, save you money on food that’s gone bad too fast, and save time running to the store for more.
Do bell peppers need to be refrigerated? Whole bell peppers do not need to be refrigerated and can be safely stored at room temperature for 3-7 days. However, bell peppers last much longer when stored in the refrigerator, up to 2 weeks.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of properly storing your bell peppers!
How Long Do Bell Peppers Last In The Fridge?
How long you can expect a bell pepper to last in your fridge depends on a few factors. Different colors of bell pepper last different lengths of time. Also, whether the pepper is whole or sliced, raw or cooked.
Whole, uncooked bell peppers will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge when stored properly. Generally speaking, red peppers will start to go soft the soonest, closer to the 1-week mark of our time window.
Yellow peppers will last a little bit longer, about 10 days.
Green peppers will stay fresh longer than yellow or red bell peppers. They can last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator before starting to break down. This is true when the peppers are cut as well.
Cut green pepper will last longer than cut yellow peppers or cut red peppers. Once the peppers have been cooked, color won’t make one last longer than another. With cut bell peppers, they will usually last anywhere from 3-5 days.
Green bell peppers will last the longest at around 5 days, while yellow and red bell peppers will last about 3 days.
This is assuming they are stored properly—in the next section we are going to talk about how to properly store bell peppers in the fridge.
If you are storing cooked bell peppers in the fridge, they should stay fresh for around 3-5 days.
How To Properly Refrigerate Bell Peppers
In order to keep bell peppers fresh, it matters how you store them.
Not just making sure they go in the fridge and not on top of the counter, but making sure they aren’t near certain other foods and don’t have too much or too little moisture.
Bell peppers can lose their moisture and wither easily. They can also get slimy if left in direct contact with moisture.
This is what happens when you find them in the back in your fridge after a month, still in that plastic bag from the produce section of the grocery store and some now 50% slime.
For cut bell peppers, store them in an airtight container with a lightly dampened paper towel. Since cut peppers lose moisture more quickly, this controlled environment will help keep them fresh for longer.
Whole bell peppers should be stored in the fridge, away from any fruits.
Many types of fruit produce a gas called ethylene that causes fruits and vegetables to ripen. Peppers are sensitive to this gas and exposure can cause them to rot prematurely.
If your fridge has crisper drawers, that’s where you’ll want to store the peppers. Most crisper drawers have a slipper that reads “low – high” or is labelled with pictures of fruits or vegetables.
Turn the crisper to “high” or “vegetable”; this helps hold more humidity in the crisper drawer to preserve the peppers.
What Happens If Bell Peppers Aren’t Stored In The Fridge?
If for whatever reason you absolutely cannot store your bell peppers in refrigerated conditions, it is possible to store them at room temperature.
It will have a negative effect on their shelf life and possibly on their texture, though.
Bell peppers stored at room temperature will start to go bad more quickly due to the warmer temperature.
If at all possible, when storing at room temperature consider storing somewhere that doesn’t get very hot, like a cabinet or pantry shelf.
Sitting at room temperature can also affect the texture of the bell peppers. Your warm kitchen counter is probably also less humid than the inside of your fridge.
The combination of warmer air and less humidity causes the peppers to lose moisture faster. This results in softer peppers without crunch.
The peppers will still be usable, just for less time. The texture will start to go soft more quickly, and the flesh inside will start to decay.
Sometimes the seeds will even germinate if you leave a pepper on a warm counter—especially if it gets a lot of sun!
If you absolutely must store at room temperature, there are a few things you can do to help protect the pepper. This will prolong its shelf life and preserve texture for longer.
For best results, store in a cool, dry place. Leave any attached stems alone, they will help regulate moisture levels inside the pepper. If possible, store in a linen or paper bag.
Storing in this type of bag will help regulate the humidity in the pepper’s immediate environment and keep it firmer.
Now that we’ve gone over how to store bell peppers to ensure maximum longevity, let’s take a look at some related questions you might have had while reading this article!
Can bell peppers be stored at room temperature?
Yes, bell peppers can be stored at room temperature. However, it’s not recommended. Storing your bell peppers at room temperature will cause them to go bad more quickly and the texture will suffer.
Do carrots need to be refrigerated?
Unless you’re planning to use them within just a few days, carrots need to be stored in the fridge. Carrots will very quickly dry out and get wrinkly, soft, and eventually rot.
This all happens much faster at room temperature, so carrots are better when stored in the fridge—preferably in the crisper drawer.
Do onions have to be refrigerated?
Onions do not need to be refrigerated, but it can help make prep less painful. Pro tip: cold onions make you cry less than warm onions!
The reason onions make us cry is because they emit a gas that burns our eyes. At cold temperature, the gas stays mostly liquid when you cut your onion and so your eyes don’t burn as much.
Another way to use this trick is to pop the onion in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before peeling and cutting.
Do tomatoes have to be refrigerated?
Tomatoes do not need to be stored in the fridge, but they will last longer that way. You’ll also want to make sure you store tomatoes away from fruits as some emit a gas that can cause tomatoes to go mushy too quickly.
If you want to store tomatoes on the counter you can, but they will start to rot faster. Their texture is also firmer when they’re kept in the fridge. The skin still has a bit of snap when you bite into it, so it ‘feels’ much fresher in your mouth.
How long do bell peppers last unrefrigerated?
How long bell peppers last if left unrefrigerated has to do with multiple factors. Ideally, you would want to keep unrefrigerated bell peppers uncut, in a breathable bag in a cool, dry place.
If you follow those conditions you could reasonably expect a bell pepper to last 7-10 days before going bad. If you did not do any of this, it would last anywhere from 3-7 days depending on the conditions.
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