When it comes to nutrition, the problem isn’t that people don’t buy enough of vegetables and fruits. According to statistics, 25-30% of purchased groceries are thrown into the garbage. There are at least two explanations for this phenomenon:
- People buy too much food.
- Produce spoils faster than people can consume it.
So, what can people do? Go to the store every day? Plan a weekly menu in advance? It seems these principles are only suitable for the most disciplined people. Below, we mention 11 simple tips on how to help food stay fresh up to 2 times longer and stop throwing it away.
10 Food Storage Tips To Keep Your Food Fresh
Tip 1: Keep Food Separately In Packaging
When the products are near each other, their smells mix and harmful bacteria can very quickly “move” around. If the food is lying on the shelf without any protection, it will quickly ventilate or get air-dry, especially if the refrigerator operates on the no-frost system. To prevent this, you need to store products in separate containers and packages. Containers are convenient, but aren’t the most compact when it comes to refrigerator space. Therefore, you can use reusable Ziploc plastic bags instead.
The only things that should not be stored in bags are sausages, meat, chicken, fish, and cheese. It makes them “suffocate”, causes them to get an unpleasant odor, and fastens the deterioration process. For these items, it is better to transfer them from the factory packaging to containers or foil wrap.
If possible, the overall best option separating food items is to use a counter depth french door combo refrigerator.
Tip 2: Keep Vegetables and Fruits In Paper Towels
The main enemy of many vegetables, fruits, and other produce is the increased humidity in a refrigerator. To extend the shelf life of fruits, store them with paper towels or in paper bags – the paper will absorb condensation. This is especially useful if your refrigerator does not have a special freshness zone for fruits and vegetables.
Tip 3: Buying A New Refrigerator? Choose A Model With Dry and Wet Freshness Zones
Freshness zones are boxes in which you can store perishable foods for several days longer than in a regular refrigerator compartment. Due to the lowered temperature and optimal humidity level, the growth of microorganisms and bacteria slows down, but the food does not freeze. Products retain freshness up to 2 times longer. Just think how many advantages it gives:
- You can leave food in the fridge for at least a week and go on vacation without throwing away food.
- Imagine such a situation – you decided to cook a new dish, bought the ingredients, but by the evening the inspiration was gone. It’s okay – just put the food in a freshness zone and move the dish making to another day.
- For those who do not have the opportunity to cook daily, the freshness zone will allow you to store cooked soups, lunches, and dinners well in advance. At the same time, you won’t have to sacrifice the benefits and taste of the dishes.
- You don’t have to go to the grocery store more than once a week. During this time, fruits and vegetables will not become watery and will retain their vitamins due to the natural level of humidity and the ability to regulate the access of dry air. You will also forget about meat that smells bad, which usually happens in 2 days.
If you happen to already have a refrigerator with these zones, make sure to educate yourself on your fridge’s features and how to use them optimally.
Tip 4: Conduct An inspection Of Your Refrigerator At Least 2 Times A Week
Regularly inspecting the contents of your refrigerator will allow you to detect food that needs to be eaten or food that has spoiled immediately. This is especially true for food products such as yogurts, sour cream, sauces, cottage cheese, cheeses, and milk.
Tip 5: If You Are Going On Vacation, Fill The Refrigerator At Least Halfway
The fact is that an empty refrigerator works less efficiently. If the shelves of your appliance are empty, you can fill them with water bottles. On the other hand, overloading the refrigerator is also undesirable, because for effective storage, cold air should freely circulate through the chamber and around the products. If air movement slows down, the temperature will rise.
Tip 6: Store Fruits and Vegetables Separately
This will help avoid mixing odors, and most importantly, will prevent ethylene from being produced. Ethylene is contained in many fruits and often causes the spoilage of vegetables. Particularly produce sensitive to this gas are: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, and lettuce.
Here is the list of leaders in ethylene production:
Remember, these fruits are never to be put in one box with vegetables and other ripe fruits.
Tip 7: Put Bread and Pastries In The Refrigerator
If you need to leave your home for a while or you just bought too much bread, then extend its life as follows. Wrap bread and pastries in a paper bag or plastic bag with small holes, or in a bag made of natural fabric. If there is a freshness zone in your refrigerator, put the packed bread there. If there is no such box, then the top shelf of the refrigerator will do. That way, your bread and pastries can live about 3 weeks. If necessary, flour products can be frozen for more than 1 month.
To return the bread to its pleasant softness after long-term storage in the refrigerator (or after freezing), it can be heated in a closed container in a microwave oven.
Tip 8: Check The Expiration Date Before Buying
When buying products, especially perishable ones, check their production, shelf life, and storage dates. Often in supermarkets, the same goods on the same shelf can have different release and expiration dates.
Tip 9: Properly Arrange Food and Products In Your Refrigerator
Different temperatures are set in different zones of the refrigerator, and if the food falls into an unfavorable climate for it, then it starts to deteriorate faster or lose its taste. Therefore, we advise you to remember a few simple recommendations and try to stick to them in the future.
- The top shelves are one of the warmest places in the refrigerator. Here, it’s good to store: leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods (for example, butter, yogurt, cheese and delicacies).
- Lower shelves are where it is the coldest. This area is suitable for storing raw food such as meat, fish, etc. (This advice is relevant if there is no special freshness zone in the refrigerator).
- The door is the warmest part of the refrigerator. So, it is definitely not the place to store dairy products and eggs. Condiments such as sauces, ketchups, dressing, jams, pickles, and soft and processed cheeses are fine to be stored in the door.
Tip 10: Don’t Store Bananas, Tomatoes, and… in the Fridge
The secret to the long-term storage of some food products is to store them at room temperature. In addition to bananas and tomatoes, here are some other food items to store not in a refrigerator:
- Whole Watermelons and Melons
- Whole Garlic and Onions
- Coffee and Tea
These food products become tasteless at low temperatures and deteriorate faster. You can also store apples and unripe hard fruits outside the refrigerator.
It’s a terrible thing to have food go to waste because it’s not stored properly. By following the food storage tips listed above, you will prevent your food from going to waste.
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