Choosing the right crisper drawer in the refrigerator

crisper-drawers1 Crisper drawers serve an important role in your refrigerator. If used correctly those drawers can extend the life of your fruits and vegetables.

There are two kinds of crispers: low-humidity and high-humidity. The humidity setting refers to the amount of space in the drawers left open to airflow. Low-humidity drawers introduce some airflow into the drawer while high-humidity drawers are enclosed. Put fruits that tend to rot in the low-humidity drawer and produce that tends to wilt in the high-humidity drawer.

Why you ask? Because some produce emit a gas called ethylene as they ripen. Some fruits ripen further when exposed to that ethylene. So as some fruits release more ethylene other fruits nearby may begin to rot as well as the fruit releasing the ethylene itself. If you keep the high ethylene producing fruits in the low-humidity crisper drawer, some of the ethylene gas will be let out keeping the fruits and vegetables in that drawer fresher longer.

Greens, and anything else that can lose moisture quickly, are best stored in the high-humidity crisper drawer. The tighter seal in that drawer helps keep the moisture in. It is important to keep ethylene-producing produce out of this drawer so it will not cause ethylene-sensitive produce to wilt. If your crisper drawers are labeled “fruit” or “vegetable” the fruit drawer would be considered low-humidity and the vegetable drawer would be considered high-humidity.

The general rule is fruits like low humidity and vegetables like high humidity with a few exceptions. Tomatoes can lose flavor and even become overly soft if kept too cold so keep them on the counter. Bananas stop ripening if refrigerated but their skins turn black so they are best stored on the counter. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and dry garlic prefer cool, dry conditions so don’t need to be refrigerated.

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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5 thoughts on “Choosing the right crisper drawer in the refrigerator

  1. how do I store white mushrooms? Place in a brown paper bag but in a low humidity crisper or high humidity crisper?

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