The inside of a refrigerator filled with food

What crisper drawer settings should you use?

Keeping your produce fresh and crisp is important to help reduce waste and provide the best food for your family. A crisper drawer can help to extend the lifespan of leafy greens and pitted fruits to prevent them from going to waste. Read on to learn how to get the best results by properly storing fruits and vegetables in a crisper drawer and using the correct humidity levels.

Open crisper drawers filled with food Open crisper drawers filled with food

What is a crisper drawer?

A crisper drawer, sometimes called a humidity drawer, is a bin in your fridge that helps preserve freshness and may prolong the lifespan of your fruits and vegetables by exposing them to different levels of humidity.

Is the crisper drawer high or low humidity?

A crisper drawer can be high or low humidity depending on how you adjust its settings. Crisper drawers work by controlling the airflow that enters and exits the bin, which means you can toggle between high and low humidity levels. When the crisper is set to “high humidity,” airflow is cut off from the drawer. This allows produce to be stored in a controlled environment to maintain moisture. 

When the crisper is set to “high humidity,” airflow is cut off from the drawer, trapping humidity inside to help maintain the moisture of your fresh food and ingredients. On the other hand, when the crisper is set to “low humidity,” the opposite happens. Moisture and air escape freely through a vent in the bin, exposing the produce to the air outside. 

Whether the drawer is set to a high or low setting, the humidity in the drawer is generated by whatever you store inside of it. By adjusting the flow of air into the crisper drawer, you control the rate at which humidity escapes.

A humidity setting control on a crisper drawer A humidity setting control on a crisper drawer

How to use a crisper drawer

Most crisper drawers have adjustable settings that conveniently regulate airflow to and from the bin by allowing you to slide a meter to shift between lower or higher humidity levels. Some crispers also incorporate produce labels on the meters, so you can easily reference the correct setting for what you are storing.

What goes in the crisper drawer?

Fruits and vegetables should be kept in a crisper drawer to help preserve their freshness, though some produce can be stored outside of the refrigerator. Knowing whether to use a higher or lower humidity setting for the produce you plan to store will help to keep it fresh longer. 

Ethylene-sensitive vegetables and produce that are prone to wilting, such as cucumbers, fresh herbs and leafy greens, should be left in a high-humidity environment. You can keep lettuce fresh, for example, by ensuring it’s exposed to more humidity. This will allow the bin to trap more moisture and help keep your food crisp.

What goes in a low humidity drawer?

Produce that can easily rot, including avocados, apples, pears and other pitted fruits should be stored in a low-humidity setting to allow moisture and air to flow freely from the bin. Some vegetables, like mushrooms, stay fresher longer when they’re stored in a drier, low-humidity environment.

As these fruits ripen, ethylene gas gets released. Setting your crisper drawer to a low-humidity level allows these gasses to escape from the drawer and helps to prevent your produce from ripening or rotting too quickly.

Fruit & vegetable crisper drawer chart

If you’re unsure whether a specific type of produce belongs in a low or high humidity environment, you can refer to the crisper drawer chart below:

Low-Humidity High-Humidity
Low-humidity (open) crisper drawers are generally best for ethylene-emitting fruits prone to rotting, including pears, apples, melons, and other pitted fruits. High-humidity (open) crisper drawers are generally best for thin-skinned vegetables that are prone to wilting, including broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce and leafy greens.

Why do vegetables freeze in the crisper drawer?

If vegetables are freezing in the refrigerator crisper drawer, check your refrigerator’s overall temperature and adjust the settings as needed. If your refrigerator is operating at the correct temperature, try removing some of the items from the bin. Packing your crisper too tightly could block the vents and prevent air from flowing freely.

Closed crisper drawers filled with food Closed crisper drawers filled with food

What's the difference between a crisper and fresh drawer?

Many refrigerators come with both a crisper and a fresh drawer. A crisper drawer that is set to a high humidity helps to keep high-moisture foods like leafy greens “crisp” and can help prolong their lifespan. 

A fresh drawer’s purpose is to store food at the lowest possible temperature without freezing it, making it ideal for raw meat, poultry and fish.

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Whirlpool® refrigerators with select models featuring the FreshFlow Produce Preserver™ and Panoramic LED Lighting provide the ideal environment for storing your fresh fruit and vegetables with optimal visibility. If you’re ready to purchase a Whirlpool® refrigerator for your home, explore options that can match your kitchen and lifestyle.

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