10 Longest Lasting Vegetables To Maximise Savings On Grocery Trips & Prevent Food Wastage

Longest lasting vegetables

We regularly embark on new grocery trips with grand visions of our next nutritional, veggie-filled meal. However, many of us face the issue of not knowing how long the vegetables last or how to store them, causing the once-green leaves to shrivel and wilt past its edibility. Especially with COVID-19, it’s time to maximise those grocery trips and stop food wastage.

To help you out, we’ve done some research on the longest lasting vegetables that can both shorten the frequency of your supermarket trips and get the most bang for your buck. You’ll know which ones to consume first and which that can be stored.

Note that the lifespans listed are under the most optimal conditions and are estimates. Depending on the purchase condition and since every kitchen is different, the lifespans may be shorter or longer.

Check out these other articles on cooking:

1. Spinach

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How long it lasts: Up to 5-7 days
Where to store it: In the fridge
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Darkening, mushy, wilting, foul odour

Spinach is a leafy green adored by adults and children alike due to its taste, simplicity and because it can make you stronger like Popeye. Mix it into your one-pot pasta to add fibre in your diet or quickly sauté with some garlic and oyster sauce for something straight out of a zi char stall.

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However, keep in mind that it doesn’t have the longest lifespan and, if not remembered, can be neglected at the back of the fridge. Better to plan out some smokin’ spinach dishes in the days after your grocery run.

2. Broccoli

Cheesy broccoli
Image credit: Billy Tran

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How long it lasts: Up to 5-7 days in the fridge, or up to a few months in the freezer
Where to store it: In the fridge or frozen in freezer
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Severe yellowing, crisp texture gone soft, slimy texture

Broccoli is an ideal side-dish and companion to your rice, noodles or pasta. Easy and simple to prepare, you can boil, steam, sauté or roast them and have it ready in less than 15 minutes. Pro tip: it’s even better with cheese.

If you’ve received a bulk of broccoli that you can’t seem to finish, they’re one of the veggies that freeze well. One technique is to boil them for a couple of minutes in salted water, shock by immediately putting them into ice water, and then dry over a paper towel before freezing. They could last for months in that ice box.

3. Lettuce

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How long it lasts: Up to 7-10 days
Where to store it: In the fridge
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Large brown or black spots, sliminess, rotten odour

Be it romaine or iceberg, this crunchy green is a go-to for whenever we want a healthy salad. Throw some together with your favourite toppings and sauce such as cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing and you have a simple taste-good and feel-good lunch. 

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But if you want your lettuce to maintain that ASMR-worthy crisp, note that you’ll have to consume it within 7-10 days. To prevent them from getting slimy before time’s up, wrap or line them with a paper towel first if you’re storing loose lettuce leaves to absorb excess moisture, before placing in your preferred container as this prevents them from getting slimy. 

4. Spring Onions

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How long it lasts: Up to 7-10 days
Where to store it: In the fridge
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Severely wilted, soft and mushy

Spring onions pack a flavourful punch despite its size, so some might consider them to be a kitchen essential. A generous sprinkle of chopped spring onions over your fried rice, porridge or soup is enough to add a lovely green colour. You could also mix it into your stir-fry, salad or dumpling filling – the possibilities are endless.

They preserve their green colour for a decent amount of time in the fridge, but may lose the crunch factor and wilt slightly. So use them as a raw garnish first and a topping in soup-based foods later on in their lifespan.

5. Cauliflower

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How long it lasts: Up to 2 weeks
Where to store it: In the fridge
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Severe browning, slimy texture

As broccoli’s sibling, cauliflower is highly versatile. The vegetable can be steamed, boiled, sautéed and a star in many fancy dishes such as cauliflower rice or a creamy cauliflower puree. 

Making cauliflower fried rice
Image credit: Eatbook

You’ll be able to stretch out the cauliflower’s lifespan if you buy the whole head fresh and keep it refrigerated in a loosely-sealed plastic bag.

6. Carrots

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How long it lasts: Up to 3-4 weeks
Where to store it: In the fridge
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Large dark spots, mould, sliminess

Fun fact: it is scientifically proven that you can turn orange if you overdose on carrots. But don’t worry, you’d have to consume an obscene amount of beta-carotene for many days for this to happen. So while they’re not busy changing your skin colour, the carrots are an eyesight-enhancing snack that works well stir-fried or roasted with some olive oil in the oven.

Better yet, they can last up to almost a month in the fridge – ideal if you want to feed both your family and your pet rabbit.

7. Potatoes

Image credit:
Anthony Albright on Flickr

How long it lasts: Up to 4-5 weeks
Where to store it: In a cool, dark, dry place that’s cooler than room temperature
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Soft, very large sprouting, large green spots

Potatoes are the ultimate jack-of-all-trades in the vegetable kingdom. The starchy tuber can be boiled, baked, mashed, cut into fries, chips, moulded into a hash brown, used in potato salad, made into a gratin and so much more. With a rather long shelf life and multiple creative possibilities, you could eat potatoes every day without getting bored. 

Mashed potatoes

Potatoes should not be stored in the fridge and instead placed in a cool, dark, dry place that’s warmer than the fridge but colder than average room temperature. And don’t be alarmed if they start sprouting. If sprouting is minimal, they’re still safe to eat as long as you remove the sprouts and the potato is still firm.

8. Onions

How long it lasts: Up to 2 months
Where to store it: In a cool, dark, dry place that’s cooler than room temperature
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Soft spots, mould, severe browning, foul odour

Onions have the ability to be sweet, aromatic, tangy, soft or crunchy depending on how they’re prepared which makes them a home cook’s best friend. The hearty root can be diced and incorporated into just about anything, caramelised into a sweet, jam-like paste, or dipped in batter and fried into onion rings.

Similar to potatoes, they last longer in a cool, dark environment colder than average room temperature. However, despite the similarities, keep onions away from potatoes as the gases emitted from the onions cause potatoes to spoil faster.

9. Cabbage

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How long it lasts: Up to 2 months
Where to store it: In the fridge
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Moist, slimy texture, pungent odour, severe wilting

Not only is it one of the longest-lasting green vegetables, but cabbage is also inexpensive, comes in a huge bunch and can be used a variety of ways. You can add it to a household hotpot, sauté it with some soy sauce, or chop and mix it with mayonnaise and milk to make coleslaw. 

And to preserve them even further, ferment them in an airtight jar with spices to make delicious homemade kimchi.

Homemade kimchi
Image credit: Eatbook

Keep the cabbage wrapped in cling film and it’ll stay fresh in the fridge for whenever you need it.

10. Garlic

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How long it lasts: Up to 3-5 months
Where to store it: In a dark, dry place at a slightly cooler room temperature
How to tell if it’s gone bad: Large brown spots on the clove, severe yellowing, no longer firm

Garlic is a culinary powerhouse with an instantly recognisable aroma that translates into heaps of depth when tasted. Besides from adding extra layers of flavour to your meal, it also has many proven health benefits thanks to the presence of allicin that boosts circulation, fights infections and more.

Even though supermarkets always sell garlic in bundles that would take a month to finish, the garlic can last for even longer than that. As long as they’re stored in a dark, dry place outside the fridge, they’ll stick around for a whole season.

Vegetables with the longest shelf lives

Hopefully, you’re now more well-versed in the world of vegetable storage and expiration-detection. Your fridge will be fully-stocked for you to whip up delicious, healthy veggie dishes like a pro home cook and throwing away rotten vegetables will become a thing of the past. Even after COVID-19, grocery trips don’t need to happen every single day when you know how to store your produce.

Check out these articles on recipes for your next meal:

Cover image adapted from: pxfuel, @mummybeargrows

Billy Tran

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