Decoding the Shelf-Life of Fruits in the Fridge

How long does fruit last in the fridge?

Fruit is a diverse and nutritious food category that comes in a wide range of varieties. Whether you enjoy apples, berries, citrus, or melons, it’s important to know how long these fruits will keep in the refrigerator to ensure optimal freshness and flavor. In this article, we will explore the shelf life of different fruit categories and some of the most popular fruits.

Factors that affect fruit shelf life

The shelf life of fruit can vary significantly depending on several factors. Understanding these factors can help you determine how long your fruit will last in the refrigerator and avoid potential spoilage. Here are some key factors that affect fruit shelf life:

1. Moisture content

Moisture content plays a critical role in the shelf life of fruit. Fruits with higher moisture content tend to have a shorter shelf life, especially if they don’t contain preservatives. The presence of moisture can promote the growth of bacteria and mold, resulting in faster spoilage.

2. Age of fruit

The age of the fruit at the time of purchase is another important factor. Most fruits are picked before they are fully ripe. They are then stored at low temperatures to slow the ripening process. Once they reach the store, the ripening process continues at a faster rate. Therefore, the shelf life of fruit is measured from the time it is fully ripe, not from the date of purchase.

3. Storage Conditions

The conditions in which fruit is stored after harvest and before it reaches the supermarket can affect its shelf life. Proper storage conditions, such as temperature and humidity control, can help extend the freshness of fruit. Conversely, improper storage conditions can accelerate fruit spoilage and shorten shelf life.

Shelf life of different categories of fruit

Now let’s explore the shelf life of fruits in different categories and some examples of popular fruits within each category.

1. Pome Fruits

Pome fruits are characterized by a structure that includes a seed-filled core surrounded by flesh. Examples of pome fruits include apples, pears, kiwis, and quinces. The shelf life of pome fruits varies depending on the specific fruit and storage conditions.

  • Apples: Apples can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-12 months before reaching the store. Once purchased, they will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.
  • Pears: Pears have a shorter shelf life than apples. They ripen slowly on the tree, so once they are picked, they begin to spoil more quickly. Pears will keep in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days.

2. Stone fruits (drupes)

Stone fruits, also known as drupes, are fruits that grow from a single seed protected by a hard endocarp or stone. Examples of drupes include apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums. The shelf life of drupes can vary depending on the variety and storage conditions.

  • Apricots: Apricots have a shelf life of approximately 7-10 days in the refrigerator.
  • Peaches: Whole peaches have a shelf life of about 4-5 days, while sliced peaches have a shorter shelf life of 2-3 days.
  • Nectarines and plums: Nectarines and plums have a similar shelf life to peaches.

3. Berries

Berries are small fruits with bright colors and a variety of flavors. Examples of berries include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and gooseberries. Berries are highly perishable and require careful storage to maintain freshness.

  • Strawberries: Strawberries have a shelf life of a few days, up to a week if refrigerated.
  • Blueberries and gooseberries: These berries have a tougher skin and can last up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • Raspberries: Raspberries have a shorter shelf life of 2-3 days due to their delicate nature.

4. Melons

Melons are round, fleshy fruits with thick skins that come in a variety of sizes. Examples of melons include watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Proper storage is critical to keeping melons fresh.

  • Whole melons: Whole melons will keep in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks.
  • Cut melons: Once cut, melons have a shorter shelf life of 4-7 days.

5. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are characterized by their thick rinds, segments, and tart flavors. Examples of citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and pomelos. Citrus fruits have a relatively long shelf life compared to other fruits due to their protective rind.

  • Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes: These citrus fruits can last from several weeks to a few months when stored properly in the refrigerator.
  • Pomelos: Pomelos have a longer shelf life than other citrus fruits and can last up to a few months in the refrigerator.

6. Tropical Fruits

Tropical fruits are exotic and often associated with warm climates. Examples of tropical fruits include mangoes, pineapples, papayas, and bananas. The shelf life of tropical fruits can vary depending on the fruit and its ripeness.

  • Mangoes: Mangoes have a relatively short shelf life, typically about 3-5 days when ripe.
  • Pineapples and papayas: These fruits can last from several days to a week if stored properly.
  • Bananas: Bananas have a shelf life of several days to a week, depending on ripeness.

Monitoring fruit freshness

To ensure the freshness and quality of your fruit, it’s important to monitor it regularly for signs of spoilage. Here are some physical changes to look for:

  • Soft and grainy flesh
  • Wrinkled or discolored skin
  • Mold or spores on fruit surface

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw the fruit away to avoid consuming spoiled or potentially harmful food.


The shelf life of fruit in the refrigerator can vary depending on the type of fruit, moisture content, age, and storage conditions. By understanding these factors and following general guidelines, you can maximize the freshness and flavor of your fruit. Remember to check your fruit regularly for signs of spoilage and discard any fruit that shows physical changes associated with spoilage. Enjoy your fruits at their peak freshness and enjoy their natural flavors and nutritional benefits.


How long does fruit last in the refrigerator?

The shelf life of fruit in the refrigerator can vary depending on the type of fruit. It can range from a few days to several months, depending on factors such as moisture content, age, and storage conditions.

What factors affect fruit shelf life?

Several factors can affect the shelf life of fruit, including moisture content, age of the fruit, and storage conditions. Higher moisture content and improper storage conditions can shorten the shelf life of fruit.

Can I extend the shelf life of fruit in the refrigerator?

While you cannot significantly extend the shelf life of fruit beyond its natural life, you can slow down the spoilage process by storing it properly in the refrigerator. This includes keeping them in a cool and moist environment.

How do I know if a fruit has gone bad?

There are several signs that a fruit has gone bad. These include soft and grainy flesh, wrinkled or discolored skin, and the presence of mold or spores on the surface. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw the fruit away.

Can I freeze fruit to extend its shelf life?

Yes, freezing fruit can help extend its shelf life. However, it’s important to note that the texture of some fruits can change after freezing and thawing. It’s a good idea to wrap the fruit properly to prevent freezer burn and label it with the date for easy reference.

Are there any fruits that should not be stored in the refrigerator?

While most fruits benefit from refrigeration, some fruits are best stored at room temperature to maintain their flavor and texture. Examples include bananas, pineapples, and citrus fruits. It’s best to store these fruits in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.