How to Store Grapes to Keep Them Fresh?

Not sure what you should do with your freshly bought grapes when you get home with them? It’s time you fix that and learn how to store grapes so they keep fresh and plump.

The Short Answer

Keep your grapes unwashed and on the stem in a ventilated bag in the crisper drawer in the fridge. This way, they stay fresh and plump for a week or so.

That’s the lowdown on storing grapes. Now, it’s time to discuss things in a bit more detail, including:

  • if and when you can leave grapes on the counter
  • if washing grapes in advance is an option
  • how to choose grapes at the grocery store

Sounds interesting? Read on.

How to store grapes: half-open bag
How to store grapes: half-open bag

How To Store Grapes?

The best way to store grapes is to refrigerate them unwashed and dry in a place where they’re not squeezed or tightly packed. Make sure there’s some airflow and that there aren’t any smelly foods nearby.

The easiest way to meet all those conditions is to put the grapes (still on the vine) in a ventilated bag in the crisper drawer.

Do Grapes Need to Be Refrigerated?

Grapes last much longer in the fridge, so refrigerating them is much better than storing them on the counter in a fruit bowl. The warmer the storage temperature, the faster they lose quality.

Related: How Long Do Grapes Last?

But if you know you’re going to eat them within a day or so, it’s okay to leave them on the counter. Especially if your fridge is full.

If you forget about grapes hidden in the fridge, wash a bunch in the morning and leave them on the counter to snack on during the day. Just remember to finish them before the end of the day.

That’s the trick my wife and I use to eat the grapes we buy before they spoil in the fridge from prolonged storage.

How to store grapes: a ventilated bag
How to store grapes: a ventilated bag

Airflow Helps

In most supermarkets, grapes come in ventilated bags, and that’s the best option for storage.

If yours didn’t come in such a bag, use a plastic bag and poke some holes. Or grab a resealable plastic bag and leave it half-open. Either will provide sufficient airflow.

Warning

Since you’re keeping grapes in a perforated bag, make sure they don’t sit nearby any smelly foods. This way, they don’t absorb odors you might not like.

Next, you should keep the grapes on the stem until they are ready to eat. Otherwise, they might start to spoil prematurely.

The place where the fruit connects to the stem gets access to fresh air, and the fruit starts browning and softening from the stem end.

Long story short, grapes go bad faster off the stem. You don’t want that.

Besides, there’s no need to worry about the stems pulling water from the fruit because that’s not the case. Grape stems aren’t carrot greens (which I discuss in “How Long do Carrots Last?“) or radish greens (that I cover in “How to store radishes?“), so there’s no need to remove them.

Should You Wash Grapes Before Storage?

No. Leaving the grapes unwashed helps them retain freshness for longer. That’s because excess water on the surface helps promote mold growth.

That said, washing the fruit before storage isn’t a huge problem. It’s not like the grapes are going to grow mold the very next day and you’ll have to throw them out along with other fruits and veggies that were nearby.

But you should pay extra attention to them. Let’s talk about that.

How to Store Washed Grapes

Here’s how to store washed grapes:

  1. Let the grapes dry. Spread them on a tea towel or paper towels, and leave for at least 30 minutes so that they dry. Use paper towels to remove any extra moisture. (You can dry and reuse those towels.)
  2. Pack the grapes. Place them in a ventilated bag like you do with unwashed ones, or take them off the stem and put them in an airtight container. The latter shortens storage time but is a convenient option if you want to bring some grapes with you when you’re on the go. No matter the option, remember that grapes shouldn’t be squeezed.
  3. Chuck the grapes in the fridge.

If you make sure the grapes are completely dry, there shouldn’t be any negative consequences of washing them. And their storage time shouldn’t change at all (assuming they stay on the vine).

Storing washed grapes in an airtight container
Storing washed grapes in an airtight container

How to Select Grapes?

Like with all fruits and veggies, the key to long storage time, besides good storage practices, is choosing the best ones available.

When selecting grapes, choose ones with green and pliable stems and plump fruits.

Green stems hold the grapes well and are a sign of freshness. When your grapes are old, the stems start to turn brown and dry, and some of the grapes fall off on their own.

When it comes to the berries themselves, look for ones that are plump and full of color. When they’re getting old, the grapes soften, and the color starts to fade.

Last, look for ones that rock a white coating. That coating is called bloom. It is natural, and it helps the grapes retain their moisture and therefore stay fresh for longer.

Spoiled grape
Spoiled grape