Grocery Shopping - How to Stretch It Out to Two Weeks Vs. Weekly?

Updated on December 19, 2010
T.A. asks from Sacramento, CA
9 answers

We have a family of four. We go grocery shopping once a week. Due to our busy lives I would like to shop every other week. I would like to continue eating fresh fruits & vegetables though. So my questions are: what fruits & vegetables will keep for two weeks? I know onions, garlic, potatoes.... but what else? I’m thinking maybe carrots, apples, oranges, will keep for that long as well? Is there a list I can download/view that gives the “shelf” life for these items?

I know there is always frozen fruits and vegetables but I prefer to feed my family fresh. Canned fruits and vegetables we try and stir clear of as much as possible except for maybe the crushed tomatoes. The meats I’m not worried about because I can always freeze these and defrost as needed. Bread, milk, eggs, etc. come with expiration dates and we can always freeze if needed. I’m just worried about the FRESH fruits & vegetables. I know I can always stop off at the store and just buy those items but I would prefer not to have to stop off at the store in between our major shopping day. Any input would be great.


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answers from Washington DC on

i do this, and while some things (tender greens, grapes) won't quite make it, there are enough good fresh fruits and veggies to make it work. i mean, no one will perish if they have to go 2 or 3 days without baby spinach, right?
if you buy bananas very green and separate from the bunch as soon as you get home, they ripen more slowly. apples and pears are fine for 2 weeks, and most berries and succulent fruits will go over a week in the fridge (and freeze them when they start to get close and use them for smoothies.) winter squash keep forever, and zukes, cukes and tomatoes are generally fine for 1-2 weeks in the fridge if you buy 'em fresh.
the only thing i buy every week is milk, because i can't stand processed milk, and raw doesn't keep as long.

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answers from New York on

You should know that frozen veggies will almost always have more nutrients than fresh - since they are frozen right away. Unless you're shopping at a farmers market the "fresh" fruits and veggies you buy at the store are more than a week older, and sometimes even longer. So when it comes to veggies you may be doing your family a favor to buy frozen. Of course that's not an option with salad. But you can get really fresh produce at a farmers market or buy purchasing a "share" of a local farm for a year.

Farms in your area have "shares" that can be purchased in advance. They're called CSA's - Consumer Supported Agriculture. In NY there are a number of organics farms that sell shares for about $600 a year and the bring boxes of fresh produce to a central pickup spot once a week - you can choose which of the various spots is best for you. Since we have a cold winter in NY the produce is only available from May to November - but since California is a big farm area of the country I would think there would be greater availability through the year - and I expect it would be more pricey - since you'd get it all year long.

I've attached a link that is specific to Sacramento, CA - there's even a CSA who'll deliver frutis & veggies to your house!

I hope this helps!

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answers from Sacramento on

I would recommend trying out Farm Fresh to You. It's a delivery service and they drop off a box of fresh fruits & veggies to your front door. The cost is reasonable and the produce is great. You can schedule the delivery for a specific day and for as often as you need. You can also customize your box so that if you see there is something you will not eat then you can sub it out for something else. This way you don't have to worry quite as much about what will or won't last. We do this and haven't been disappointed yet!Just go to their website to check them out and then you can order from there if you want to try them out!

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answers from Columbus on

i wonder the same. I have to go weekly. I've tried freezing grapes, buying green mangos and unripe avocados, apples and some green bananas, and pineapples. As for veggies, I buy celery, onions, carrots and cucmbers and romaine lettuce. If I wash it, cut it up and put it in a tupperware or ziplock with a paper towel (to dry up condensation) it lasts a little longer.

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answers from Glens Falls on

Those geen bags work well to keep fruits and veggies fresh longer. Don't put your apples and bananas together, the bananas will ripen much faster if kept with apples. Buy local produce if you can, it will be fresher when you bring it home. I go to the grocery store every 2 weeks and stop at the fruit market weekly.

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answers from Bakersfield on

Hi Mama-
Great question! I know for me that these items last the longest.
1. Buy semi green bananas and keep them on the counter. 1 1/2 - 2 weeks.
2. Apples in the fridge!
3. Carrots
4. lettuce -- chop it up and wash it and stick it in a freezer bag with a paper towel. Keep it in your crisper or on the bottom of your fridge.
5. Oranges last, but I suggest not putting your apples and oranges together in the fridge. The gases that each give off cause the other to ripen more quickly.
6. Dried cranberries. Mix these with fresh nuts and a dash of sea salt and you have a great, healthy, yummy snack.
7. Green beans. I usually get mine to last a week to two weeks. Just leave 'em in one of those "green" bags and they should be fine.
8. Corn on the cob
9. Cauliflower can last depending on when it's opened. I open one bag of fresh ( I buy it chopped at trader joe's) and then open the 2nd bag on week two. It's hit and miss, though.
10. Broccoli seems to last
11. Dry beans- they last practically forever, and you can drop them in a veggie soup at any time.
12. Avocado's if they are not too ripe will last a little while.
13. squash. Until you chop it open, it can sit around for a while.
14. watermelon (in season). I always let mine sit for at least 3-4 days, then I chop it and some cantaloupe and honey dew up into large tupperware containers. In the summer, sometimes, it's all we eat in the evenings.
15. tubers: jicama, radishes, water chestnuts. You can eat all of these raw, or soak them in water.
16. Cucumbers
17. You have potatoes -- i like sweet potatoes (not the orange yams, but the white sweet potatoes)
18. Berries-- we used to grow them, so it didn't matter how long they "sat out". Maybe in the spring, plant a blackberry or boysenberry vine. They are pretty low maintenance, and i have wonderful memories of picking fresh berries every morning for my oatmeal or snacks. Same with strawberries.
19. spinach- it only keeps about a week for me, but then if you buy a bag of spinach and a bag of romaine, eat the spinach this week and rotate, eating the romaine or red leaf, etc the following week.
20. grape tomatoes. Mine seem to last almost two weeks in the fridge. They lose some flavor being chilled, but my hubby still likes them, so we buy them.
Fruit: in general I don't like to refrigerate my fruit. If I buy peaches or nectarines, plums....they last a week and a half, but it's probably because they are not fully ripe at first. I make sure at least a few of them are ready for immediate sisters usually last about 2 weeks before she starts getting the "make it into pie before it goes bad" itch. =)
I hope that helps. I am excited to see the other replies and get some good ideas!
-E. M

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answers from Cleveland on

We generally only shop every two weeks, but my husband will do a quick stop for bread (or freeze a few loaves), milk (this has gone bad after freezing for me), yogurt, berries, lettuce and other seasonal fruits. I also shop Costco's (may also want to check out once/month for toilet paper, dishwasher soap, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, toothpaste, soap, shrimp, meats, frozen veggies, baking soda, vinegar (use these to make cleaning products). I don't buy processed foods. I'll chop up parsley and freeze w olive oil in ice cubes, then put in a freezer bag, and chop up parsley and freeze for soups and stews as well.

I buy paper towels perhaps once/year just for the purpose of covering reheats in microwave and what I call "gross" cleanups; I otherwise use reusable flat sponges that can be sterilized in dishwasher.

Our kids like salami and pb&j, which keep longer. We always have apples and oranges and I prefer organic fruits and veggies. The kids especially also love clementine oranges this time of year. Broccoli is a staple and keeps fairly well, but I usually stock up on frozen veggies. I also like bags of small carrots for soups, as well as turnips and parsnips. All of these keep very well.



answers from San Francisco on

Hello T.,

Hire a local stay-at-home mom to do your grocery run once a week for a nominal hourly rate. is great to post a simple ad or find someone in your community word of mouth.




answers from San Francisco on

I agree with Susan T. in that frozen is a great way to go for fruits and veggies as they are frozen right away and retain all nutrients. Just one example: At Trader Joes frozen mango chunks for I think it's $1.69 a bag. If you look at the ingredients it simply says mangoe's - nothing else.

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