I do not presume to know your personal rate of fruit consumption. I just know that a hell of a lot of lemons, limes, and oranges come into my home on a weekly basis, and the vast majority of them are dispatched in the form of cocktails. There's very little chance that the fruit will remain intact long enough to degrade in any measurable way. In my kitchen, citrus sits out in a hanging wire basket for a brief time before it's transformed into an old fashioned or a bourbon sour. I like how it looks, and frankly, I can't spare the fridge space. 

But last week at Extra Crispy HQ, we brought in some citrus to test a recipe, and my colleague stashed it alongside the milk, eggs, and butter. Suddenly I worried: Had I been storing my fruit incorrectly this whole time? I did a deep dive into the best way to store fruit and found out that we were both right.


If the fruit is going to be consumed in a week or less, it's fine for it to remain out on the counter or in a cool, dark cupboard. Just make sure to take it out of any plastic bags and give each piece some breathing room. If individual pieces of fruit are touching, they may quickly grow mold. If the fruit is going to be hanging out for longer than that, it may start to dry out. Store uncut citrus in the produce drawer of your refrigerator for several weeks, and for maximum longevity, Cook's Illustrated suggests sealing the fruit in zipper-lock bags. Cut fruit should be wrapped, refrigerated, and used as quickly as possible.