How do you fit fruit and veg in your fridge?
March 12, 2018 2:27 PM   Subscribe

I went shopping for a refrigerator yesterday and almost all of them had pathetically small crisper drawers. How do you fit your fruit and veg in yours?

I've only ever had old fridges with high drawers so I was pretty shocked to see what's being offered in new ones - the drawers are much shorter. We would open a fridge look inside at the crisper drawers and quickly move to the next one.

The main sticking points are that we will usually have a plastic container of salad greens and very often a whole Napa cabbage. Most of the fridges we saw wouldn't be able to fit a Napa cabbage in the crisper drawer at all because they weren't high enough. Add other large things like Daikon radishes, bok choi, carrots, and celery and we've already run out of space for things like grapes, berries, sprouts or ripe avocados that aren't going to be eaten today.

If I'm putting the wrong things in my fridge let me know.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of my other space is devoted to fruit/veg too. Bags of apples get put on a shelf; so do heads of lettuce and cabbage, cauliflowers, boxes of cherry tomatoes and grapes... honestly I only use the drawers for a few stalks of celery, carrots, peppers... things that fit.

Edit: I bought a simple overflow fridge for $400 to have in my garage and it is a lifesaver. There's always SOMETHING that needs to go out there whether it's a big pot of soup that otherwise has nowhere to go, or foods prepped for a special occasion, or there was a sale on organic honeycrisps and now I need to stick them somewhere, etc.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:43 PM on March 12

I suppose American fridges are now designed to better accommodate American processed foods in their tubs and boxes, not fresh food. But I have a newish fridge and don't let this get in the way. I use a ton of veggies, thanks in part to a CSA that likes to be sure I have tons of giant root veg, and I just don't bother with crispers for everything. Salad greens in clamshells or bags are fine on the lower shelf of the fridge for as long as it takes us to eat them. Big root veggies and cabbages do fine there too, wrapped up or in a container. I keep most fruit and tomatoes out on the counter unless cut up, because they do better there, and potatoes (except new potatoes) and onions and shallots in a dark cabinet because they do better there. There's no rule you can't have veggies outside the crisper drawer, so just expand.
posted by Miko at 2:43 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]

I put some of those things in the open part of the fridge. Some for easy snacking access (carrots, washed grapes trimmed into handful-sized portions) and some because I clean/trim them when I get them home and store them in water in their own bins (celery, bok choy, radishes). Avocados also don't need to go in the drawer. And those big plastic containers of greens take up way more space than they need - I transfer to a bag if not using right away.
posted by headnsouth at 2:43 PM on March 12

I wonder if this is tied to the style of fridge. Were you looking at french door styles mostly? Side by side fridges seem to have deeper drawers. Like this one (chosen randomly).

I've got a side by side and I can fit a good amount of stuff in it... except frozen pizzas. I've pretty much given up on full size frozen pizzas. (Can fit if I have a lot of open space and take it out of its box!)

Also, the plastic tub of salad doesn't need to go in the crisper.
posted by hydra77 at 2:44 PM on March 12

Unless I have a specific plan to use the product in the next day or two, I never put produce in the crisper. Otherwise I forget about it!
posted by radioamy at 2:46 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]

I have a bottom freezer and single door up top. I can fit most of my fruit in the fruit crisper, which is comprised mostly of apples and the 5 lb bag of lemons from Costco. Washed grapes go onto the top shelves to encourage consumption. The veg drawer is mostly carrots, celery, green onions and the odd bell pepper. Big things - clamshells of lettuce, napa cabbages and the like go on the bottom shelf. My tomatoes never go in the fridge.
posted by sarajane at 2:49 PM on March 12

Perhaps an extreme example, but I bought a restaurant fridge that's basically a box with racks - the inside is completely modular. Set the top shelf up like a wine rack, bottom two racks are for produce, very bottom shelf is for big things or things I wouldn't want to drip down.

I already owned a chest freezer, so even though it's a little weird to have to go downstairs to get ice, I've made my peace with it.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:59 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

Worth noting that in my (20 year old?) fridge, the "meat" drawer has a lever to control its humidity, essentially converting it into another vegetable crisper if needed. I tend to buy meat the day I'm going to prepare it, so I have two produce drawers to work with. And as has been said by others, clamshells of salad greens, apples and such seem to do just fine in the main compartment of the refrigerator.
posted by mumkin at 2:59 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

We have a cheap old top-freezer fridge with uselessly tiny "crisper" drawers that make no real difference in produce freshness that I can detect, so we've repurposed everything and added a bunch of open plastic containers to corral things.

Top shelf: bread bin, meal prep/leftovers in storage containers, fresh fruit that needs or can tolerate the fridge1 laid out in this container for grab-and-go access.

Second shelf: three of these plastic containers. Left one is open nut butters and jams, center one is "tougher vegetables that require refrigeration2," right one is "delicate veg and herbs3."

Third shelf: I repurposed a monitor stand similar to this one to fit more into the fridge. On top are a couple of small plastic containers that hold cheese and condiments in tiny tubes or jars that don't fit elsewhere. Underneath is our weekly 11 oz tub of leafy greens4, and at least a dozen eggs. To the side, chicken broth, coconut milk, large tub of yogurt.

"Crisper" drawers: left one is our Asian condiments drawer, right one we've designated for meat. If I try to put a relatively small whole chicken in the "meat" drawer, nothing else will fit in. A full head of lettuce would similarly occupy it.

Door: more condiments and drinks.

1. Fruit like berries, stone fruit, grapes, grape/cherry tomatoes, kiwis, lemons/limes, pre-cut melon, pineapple go immediately into the fruit bin in the fridge unless we're planning to eat them that night.
2. Veg like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers, asparagus
3. Veg like scallions, loose greens like kale or baby bok choi or a head of lettuce, microgreens and sprouts and herbs.
4. Hi, tub of baby spinach, arugula, baby kale, etc.

Fruit we store outside the fridge: apples, pears, oranges, bananas, whole melon, avocados, summer tomatoes (but summer tomatoes really attract fruit flies, so we only buy what we're eating that day). When they start to get just past ripe, they move to the fridge, except bananas which move to the freezer.

Veg we store outside the fridge: onions, garlic, shallots in one bin, potatoes and hard squash in another.

Final note: We rarely have all of these on hand at once, just what we need for about a week and mostly seasonal. If we're out of room for fresh produce, usually prepping or cooking some of it helps solve the problem because the prepared veg takes up less room and can go in the ready-to-eat section of our fridge.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 3:35 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]

I keep relatively little in my crisper drawers (I have three; two normal deep-ish ones, and one long flat one below them). The left crisper drawer is shallots and ginger. The right is The Land of Citrus. The bottom one is herbs, parsley, cilantro, scallions and long veg (leeks, carrots, parsnips). All other veg and fruit goes on the shelves.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 4:01 PM on March 12

I use these. They make stacking fruits & veg in a fridge so much easier, besides making it last longer it lets me use the "normal" shelves in my fridge as fruit & veg storage without it all drying out. I find I use it more if it's on a shelf at eye level too not hidden down in the drawers. The small berry container stack nicely in a fridge door & the middle sized one does too on the bigger door shelves.
posted by wwax at 4:16 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Stuff like apples and cauliflower don't need to be refrigerated. Cabbage certainly doesn't. But stuff doesn't need to go in the crisper; it does fine on shelves. You can add a giant Tupperware container to corral it if you'd like.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:15 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

It’s very unclear to me if a crisper drawer actually does *anything* different than what’s happening in the rest of the fridge.
posted by samthemander at 9:18 PM on March 12

We keep beer in our crisper drawer, and fruit/veg throughout the rest of the fridge. (We’re in a CSA, so in season, there’s veg *everywhere*.)
posted by okayokayigive at 3:55 AM on March 13

There is only beer in our crisper drawers, as any produce gets promptly forgotten and turns to sludge. We've done better with finding alternative storage means, just as various types of tupperware, storing on shelves, or processing and flash freezing within a day or two.
posted by RhysPenbras at 9:34 AM on March 13

If you’re interested in recommendations for refrigerators with large crisper drawers, we have an entry-level Fisher Paykel French door counter-depth fridge where the bottom third is a double crisper drawer. I shove it full of produce all the time. There are no other pull out drawers, so we got clear plastic bins for cheese and meat. The fridge part is pretty great, I’m just eternally frustrated with having to dig through the slide out freezer baskets.
posted by Maarika at 6:00 PM on March 13

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