Keep your food fresh longer
“Which fruits do I keep in the refrigerator (fridge), and which ones on the counter? How can I make my bread last longer?”
Monthly Topic Overview
Oftentimes, we find ourselves peering into the depths of a fridge at a Tupperware long-forgotten on the bottom shelf and wondering, “what was that?” By checking your fridge daily and making sure produce isn’t kept in the coldest spots and leftovers are properly sealed and labeled, you can stop playing “what was that” and fully enjoy the meals you create.
How you store food matters. You can make your food last longer by storing it in optimal conditions and organizing your fridge and pantry. Another essential benefit is that correct food storage helps to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Reduce food waste with these tips:
- Fruit and vegetables:
- Apples, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and bananas should be kept separate from other produce to prevent speedy ripening.
- Keep potatoes in the fridge, which can make them last up to 3 to 4 months
- To prevent potato sprouting, keep potatoes and onions separate, and place an apple with potatoes.
- Milk: Don’t place milk in your fridge door, as the frequent temperature fluctuation from opening the fridge can make the milk go bad faster.
- Cheese: Store cheese in a colder area of your fridge in a breathable wrap, such as wax paper, which prevents molding.
- Bread: Freeze bread that you will not use right away.
- We can’t always eat food in time, so knowing when to freeze food can make your food last longer and reduce food waste.
- Get to know your fridge:
- Organize food to help you keep track of food that needs to be eaten soon. Use this “Eat Me First” sign to dedicate a section in your fridge for food that is about to go bad and needs to be eaten first.
- Mark opened food containers and leftovers with a date of when it was opened or prepared to help keep track of how soon items need to be used up.
- Be intentional and efficient when you open the fridge door, and make sure it is completely closed when you’re done perusing the fridge. This reduces how much cold air escapes, which means less energy demand to re-cool the fridge.
- These tips were provided by Eureka Recycling’s A-Z Food Storage Tips and Stop Food Waste’s Fruit & Veggie Storage Guide.
- Reorganize your fridge and pantry! Try starting with the five most wasted foods – bread, milk, cheese, potatoes, and apples.
- If you have a loaf of bread that’s been sitting on the counter a little too long, freeze it, or try making croutons or bread crumbs.
- If you have milk in your fridge door, place it in the interior instead.
- Wrap your block of cheese in wax paper and place it in a cold section of your fridge (toward the back). If you have any cheese close to expiring, freeze it! (It helps to shred it before freezing.)
- If you have potatoes in the pantry, place them in the fridge to keep them fresh longer.
- Place apples farther away from other fruits and vegetables to prevent speedier ripening.
- Fruit & Veggie Storage Guide from Stop Food Waste: https://stopfoodwaste.org/media/resources/StopFoodWaste-StorageGuide2020.pdf
- A to Z Food Storage Guide: https://www8.iowa-city.org/WebLink/ElectronicFile.aspx?dbid=0&docid=1779820&
- Cold Food Storage Chart: https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts
- “Eat Me First” sign: https://www8.iowa-city.org/weblink/0/edoc/1779819/Eat%20me%20first%20label.pdf
- NY Times how to keep produce fresh: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/keep-your-produce-fresh/
- We Don’t Waste food storage tips: https://www.wedontwaste.org/10-best-ways-to-improve-your-food-storage-at-home/