Keep Your Produce Fresh On The Road Tips. For RV’ers

When we are out on the road, we are always trying to find ways to store produce in our RV or camper van.  Unlike all the dried beans and canned staples we carry with us, it’s nice to have fresh foods in the van.

The importance of knowing how to store fresh fruits and veggies to last longer is helpful information for small kitchens and nomads.

With all the time between shopping trips when you’re out on the road, we need to make the perishable items last as long as possible.

Fruits and vegetables are not all created equally. There are leafy-delicate greens and sturdy-long lasting root vegetables. There are soft, quick-ripening fruits and stable, dried items. So storing your produce in your RV or van all need to be taken care of differently.

The main cause of your produce rotting or getting moldy is usually moisture. Try to dry any of your items completely before you store them.


Storing produce in an Rv or van to stay dry

How to store fresh fruits and veggies begins with the pantry. Now, when you are living in a stick and brick house you are probably blessed with a nice-sized kitchen and a wonderfully nice walk-in pantry. The pantry in an RV or van is a much different thing.

produce on shelf in pantry


We have gone from a travel trailer to a 5th wheel to a motorhome and van. Each one had a different-sized pantry or none at all.

Let’s face it, the space you might be using for your perishables is prime real estate. I have used a drawer in our van to store some of my produce just to help them last longer.

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Any size pantry that you have should be kept at about 50-70F. I like to keep my RV pantry at around 50-60F. This isn’t easy in the summer.

I like to keep the veggies in the dark. If some of your root veggies see light they might think they are outside and begin to sprout.


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Pantry dry storage for vegetables

  • garlic 10 days to a month if cloves are unbroken

  • shallots and onions 14 days

  • potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams 4-6 months

  • acorn, spaghetti, butternut, and winter squash for 4 weeks to 6 months depending on the squash

The best part about these veggies is that because I kept them dark and dry, they lasted for almost a month.


Refrigerator crisper drawer for storing veggies in an RV

  • broccoli – 3-5 days

  • cauliflower 7 days

  • green beans & zucchini 3-5 days unwashed in a mesh bag or paper bag

  • cucumber, celery, and peppers 7 days

  • radishes and carrots 14 days

  • mushrooms 3-5 days

  • ear of corn in the husk 2 days

  • most lettuces 3 days in a mesh bag or paper bag in the crisper drawer with produce crispers drawer liners after being washed and dried

  • asparagus 3 days with the ends trimmed and upright like a bouquet of flowers in a jar of water

Remember that these veggies will last longer in the fridge if they are put into the crisper drawer with the vent closed to create more humidity.


storing produce in crisper drawer


Countertop for storing veggies in a van

I know that counter storage is hard when your kitchen is compact. Using a hanging produce hammock for some of your produce might help with the counter space. There are a few vegetables that can and should be kept on the counter because the cooler temperatures and humidity of a fridge aren’t an ideal environment. They are:

  • tomatoes 5 days then refrigerate

  • eggplant 3 days

  • fresh herbs 5 days in a jar of water like a bouquet of flowers

Check out the short video on the hanging produce hammock here to see how much you can put in one.


4 F’s – Friendly fridge for fruits

There aren’t a lot of fruits that you would want to store in the pantry so they will go right onto the fridge list. Keep in mind that fruits like less humidity so when you put them in a paper towel-lined crisper drawer make sure you open the vents.

Here are a few we like to have with us when they are in season.

storing Produce in crisper drawer


  • apples 1 month

  • berries 3 days uncovered but only wash the amount you are going to eat

  • cherries 10 days in a plastic bag but only wash the amount you are going to eat

  • grapes 14 days again in a plastic bag unwashed

  • lemons & limes 1 month in a ziplock bag

  • melons 7 days or 1-2 days on the counter

  • peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines 7 days after kept on the counter for 3 days

  • watermelon 2 weeks before cutting

  • avocados 3 days whole


Countertop RV or van storage for fruits

Some fruits do ok on the counter but make sure they are well-ventilated to avoid any rotting or molding. I love coming into the RV or van and seeing a lot of fresh fruits hanging or baskets on the counter. It really makes me feel like it’s summer. Here are a couple of our favorites.

  • pears 3-4 days

  • kiwis 7 days up to 4 weeks in the fridge

  • bananas 2-3 days with the ends wrapped with plastic wrap


Can’t the produce all get along

There are some fruits and vegetables that really don’t play well together. For instance, potatoes should never be stored next to onions. The potato will begin sprouting buds if too close.

Apples and apricots should be stored away from peaches, plums, and nectarines. This is because fruits give off a gas called ethylene, which accelerates the ripening process.

Keep your fruits away from your veggies or they will accelerate the ripening of them as well.


Size does not matter in storing produce

Now I know you are probably saying that all this would be great with a huge residential fridge, with lots of countertops and pantry space. The fact is that if you are living in a space with a compact kitchen it will be more challenging to store fresh fruits and veggies but it is doable. You have to be creative.

Hanging baskets, drawers for potatoes, fridge sections just for produce, and crisper drawer liners to extend produce life all help. Keep in mind, if you’re more plant-based the need to store meats and dairy is gone which leaves you more space for your produce. This gives you more room than you think.

Keep in mind that you can always have an alternate chest cooler for the overflow of produce to store in your RV or van.

I would love to know if you have any quick tips or secret ideas to help us all save our fresh produce as long as we can. Please leave a comment below so we can all share our ideas.