Such a simple concept and yet I have mistakenly ignored this blatant truth for….forever!
The rule of thumb, the simple truth, is that you should not refrigerate the majority of your fruits and vegetables. Doing so compromises the integrity of the flavor of the food.
Sure, you may be able to preserve your apple a lot longer in the “crisper drawer” of your fridge, but I promise you it will taste much more like a cross between the shallots and lemon in the drawer than a Granny Smith. Yech!
Store ’em like ya find ’em. If they are out on a shelf in the middle of the produce aisle, with absolutely no refrigeration, like the bananas, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, pineapple, kiwi, oranges, etc, than they belong on your counter when you get home.
If they are on the cooler shelves, then you can by all means refrigerate the fruits and veggies. But be sure to use them relatively quickly so that they do not take on the odors and flavors of whatever else you have stored in your fridge.
To avoid the fridge flavor absorption, try repackaging some of your foods before storing them in there. Take your berries out of their original container, line the bottom of a tupperware with paper towels and repackage them in here, with the lid tightly fastened. Wash your lettuce, dry it, and repackage it with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, in a ziploc baggie. Wrap up your herbs in a paper towel and stick them in a ziploc bag, as well.
Asparagus is always sitting in a bath of water at the grocery store, so mimic this at home. Tomatoes are also usually found in the center aisles of the produce section, which are not cooled. So, I usually keep mine out on the counter and they taste so much better.
The only advice I’d give on storing your produce on the kitchen counters or your kitchen table is to make certain that it will not get any sun. Unless you don’t mind limp, wrinkled asparagus!