Summer is here. Most of us really enjoy all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available this time of year. That’s a good first step for us. We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables. But taking care of fruits and vegetables is the next step. When do you wash them? How do you take care of them to get the most from them? The answers to these questions ....it depends! Some fruits have better flavor if they are stored at room temperature. Unripe melons, tomatoes and tree fruits (pears, peaches, nectarines) should be kept at room temperature so they can ripen and become sweeter. Once they are fully ripe, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them. Tomatoes will keep longer if stored with the stem down. It is really better to eat vegetables pretty quickly after they are picked. Some vegetables, however, like celery, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots will keep one to two weeks in the refrigerator. When should you wash your fruits and vegetables? There is not a simple answer. It depends. If there is dirt on your produce, wash it before you store it. Otherwise you can probably wait till you are ready to eat it to wash it. Neither the USDA or FDA recommends washing fruits and vegetables in anything but cold drinkable water. You do not need to purchase special products or dishwashing detergent to wash them in. Melons, cucumbers, citrus fruit, and potatoes should be scrubbed with a brush. Bananas also need to be rinsed off as well. Just think about how many hands touched the fruit or vegetables before it gets to your mouth.