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In most refrigerators you will be able to find a compartment for your vegetables and fruits. This compartment is called the crisper and it is supposedly able to keep your vegetables and fruits fresh longer.

How do these crispers keep the vegetables fresh longer? I personally don't really notice much of a different between storing the vegetables in the crisper compared to the rest of the refrigerator.

Does the crisper provide a better environment for your vegetables to last longer? And if so what qualities of this environment is doing this?

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I went ahead and removed the "crisper" tag - I think it's a little too specific to be useful. (It would've been removed automatically in a couple weeks anyway, if new users didn't keep using it in questions about crispy potato chips and such.) –  Jefromi Jun 27 '12 at 3:51
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

The crisper provides a somewhat enclosed environment, which prevents moisture from escaping as rapidly. Vegetables keep best at a certain humidity, higher than that typically found in the rest of the fridge, but not so high that condensation starts accumulating on them. Vegetables kept in too-dry air in the rest of the fridge will tend to dry out and shrivel up faster; those kept in the crisper will retain their water and texture better, keeping them crisp.

Leafy vegetables are also much more prone to drying out, since they have much more surface area, while hardier vegetables with a decent skin on them (like bell peppers) don't dry out nearly as quickly. Fruits benefit somewhat from this as well, but don't generally need as high a humidity as vegetables.

Some crisper drawers have little sliders on them which vary the size of the opening to the rest of the fridge, letting you vary the amount of circulation and therefore the humidity; you can adjust this to suit what you tend to store in the drawer. If you have two crisper drawers, both adjustable, then it might be a good idea to put fruit and hardier vegetables in one, and more vulnerable vegetables in the other.

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Hmm my crisper doesn't have an adjuster. I guess my frig is just older. Maybe the newer refrigerators' crispers do a better job than mine and that's why i don't notice the difference. –  Jay Jan 11 '12 at 19:50
    
@Jay: Yeah, a lot of things vary fridge to fridge. It could be that your entire fridge is more humid than normal, or that your crisper doesn't partition too well, or that you eat your vegetables too fast to notice... If you do want to try to see the difference, lettuce tends to be pretty obvious. (This is why some people store lettuce in a bag with a damp paper towel.) –  Jefromi Jan 11 '12 at 19:53
    
I guess i'll have to do a little experiment to see. Thanks for the suggestion. –  Jay Jan 11 '12 at 19:54
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