Proper food storage has many advantages. It stays fresh for a longer time, you minimize the likelihood of food waste, and you help your budget! And of course, by doing all that, we end up helping nature, as well! Because proper food storage means optimal use, which in turn means fewer purchases. Do you know how to store your food properly so that it lasts longer? In this article, we will take a closer look at our food and storing habits, and the different types of food. We will dive into proper fruit and vegetable storage tips, how to store spices, dairy products, meat, and more! Keep reading and apply this knowledge for crispier and fresher produce, less food waste, and fewer trips to the grocery store!
Let’s see what is the best way of storing your produce and food, so it remains fresh
In what order should I purchase grocery items?
Did you know that food safety starts at the grocery store! To prevent possible spoilage of produce before you take it home, use the following trick: First, choose items such as canned goods, then continue with vegetables and fruits, and finally get your dairy and frozen items. This way, temperature-sensitive foods will spend less time out of the fridge. In this article, we will learn how to store different types of food properly. Also, make sure to choose your food carefully! Look at the expiration date labels and always pick your fruits and vegetables carefully. Selecting the best ingredients and products means that they will last you longer!
Tip: If you want to prevent your fridge at home from smelling, you can place a jar of baking soda in it. This baking soda hack will absorb all the smell from the food.
Using this smart shopping hack will keep your groceries fresh the longest
Now let’s move to the kitchen food storage tips and hacks
How should I store vegetables?
Root vegetables such as potatoes and onions should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a cold cellar, or a cool room. Other vegetables should be stored in a refrigerator. Vegetables can also be frozen. Home-frozen vegetables have a freezer life of about 10-12 months. So, leave your onions and potatoes in the coolest room of your house (not next to each other) and everything else you can put in the fridge.
Tip: You can leave the tomatoes outside, so you can enjoy them at room temperature. There is nothing worse than stone-cold tomatoes!
Tip: If you buy a couple of avocados at a time, you can leave them outside to ripen. When you see them ripening, transfer some of them to your fridge while you eat the others. That way, you will have perfectly ripe avocados waiting for you in your fridge!
This tomato tip will completely change the taste of your salads
There are many vegetables that you can pickle or store in a jar with water to keep them tasty
How do I store fresh herbs?
For short-term storage of fresh herbs, cut 1 cm off the stems and place the spices in a jar of water. Cover the leaves with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 5 days, changing the water every 2 days. If your fresh herbs are not looking very fresh, you can soak them in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes. When you are ready, drain the water from the bowl, wrap the herbs in paper towels and place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to several hours. If you want to learn how to take care of fresh herbs indoors, then check out our fresh herb guide!
Tip: Do not put your fresh basil in the fridge because it will turn black!
Knowing how to store your fresh herbs is important since they spoil quickly
How should I store fruit?
Fruit and vegetable storage is always the hardest and most challenging! It is safe to store fruits at room temperature. Once the fruit ripens, it will start to spoil and mold quickly. So if fruits begin to ripen, and you will not use them immediately, place the ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Ethylene leakage plays a very large role in the ripening of some fruits. Ethylene is a gas that is released from some fruits and helps ripen them faster, which in turn causes other fruits and vegetables to spoil. To make sure that fresh fruit and vegetables last as long as possible, you need to know which fruits release ethylene and which are sensitive to it.
A good tip is to put your ripened fruits in the fridge, so you have more time to enjoy them
Ethylene and Food
This list will show you different fruits and vegetables and their ethylene status.
1. Ethylene sensitive – Apples, Asparagus, Avocado, Banana, Broccoli, Melon, Green beans, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemons, Lettuce, Lime, Mango, Onion, Peaches, Peppers, Pear, Courgette, Sweet potatoes, Watermelon, Unripe bananas, Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Leafy greens, Okra, Parsley, Peas, and Spinach.
2. Ethylene producers – Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Melon, Kiwi, Peaches, Pears, Peppers, Tomatoes, Apricots, Ripe bananas, Figs, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papaya, Passion fruit, Plums, and Quince.
3. Ethylene non-sensitive – Blueberries, Cherries, Beans, Garlic, Grapefruit, Orange, Pineapple, Potatoes, Raspberries, Strawberries, and Tomatoes.
Knowing fruit and vegetables’ ethylene status is important, so you know how to store them
Here are some more low waste food storage tips for you to try out
How should I store meat in the fridge?
If not used immediately, it is best to freeze meat, fish, and poultry after purchase. If you want to refrigerate them, store the meats in their original packaging and place them in trays at the bottom of the refrigerator. This will prevent juices from raw meats from coming into contact with other fresh foods. If you have some cooked meat, and you don’t know what to do with it, check our guide on what to do with leftover chicken! There are some delicious ideas and recipes there, so you never again have to waste meat!
Store your cooked meat in air-tight containers to prevent smell and keep the meal tasty
Invest in boxes, containers, and baskets so your fridge is always clean and smell-free
How should I store dairy products?
Store dairy products such as butter, cheese, milk, sour cream, and yogurt in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The refrigerator door, where products such as butter and eggs are often stored, is not actually the coldest part of the refrigerator. Check our guide for deep cleaning your fridge, so you can learn where in your fridge you should place dairy products! Butter, cheese, and cream can be frozen. Always thaw frozen dairy products in the refrigerator. The quality of the products may be different after thawing (for example, hard cheeses are very crumbly once frozen), but they should still be good for cooking.
Dairy products need to be kept in the coldest part of your fridge
How should I store frozen foods?
Frozen foods should be stored at temperatures below -18 °C. Keep a thermometer in your freezer to help you monitor the temperature. To defrost frozen foods, always defrost in the fridge, not at room temperature! This will ensure that your food will defrost evenly. You can also defrost in the microwave if you’re going to cook the food immediately, or defrost in a sink under cold running water. However, these options should be used only in desperate cases since they can change the taste and texture of the food.
Always defrost frozen food in the fridge, NOT at room temperature
Store your frozen foods neatly, so you always see and know what you have in the freezer
How should I store dry foods?
Foods that sit on a shelf, such as dry goods and canned goods, should be stored in a cool, dry place, like your pantry or a dark cupboard. If you have a smaller kitchen, take a look at our kitchen cabinet storage solutions guide for some ideas and inspiration! After opening, check the labels to see if the food needs refrigeration. Some canned products (such as tomato sauce for example) will need to be transferred to an airtight plastic, or glass container after opening to prevent food spoilage. That way you can use them over the span of a couple of days.
Reusing old jars and stickers is a great way to store your dry foods
You don’t need to store everything in identical containers, just try to keep your food fresh!