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Originally published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:01 AM

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How to store citrus fruit to make it last

Extend the life of citrus with these helpful tips.

The Charlotte Observer

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Q: I was given a big box of grapefruits and oranges as a gift. What’s the best way to store it so it will last the longest?

A: While citrus fruit will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, the best way to store it is in the refrigerator. If you can find the space, the vegetable drawer is the best spot. It should keep there for several weeks.

Don’t keep the fruit in a plastic bag or an airtight container, which can make it get moldy or soft faster. Mesh bags that let air circulate are fine. Look through the fruit regularly and use the ones that are getting soft.

If you’re going to juice it, bring it back to room temperature and you’ll get the most juice. And if you can’t use the fruit fast enough and you don’t want to waste it, both the zest and the juice can be frozen.

Email food or cooking questions to Kathleen Purvis at

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