Storing your fresh food correctly is important. It protects you from contamination that can make you sick, and it helps you get the most out of your groceries. If you store your fruits and veggies in the wrong way, they can go bad more quickly, before you have the chance to use them. These tips can help.
Keep them cold. Most importantly, make sure your fridge is at the right temperature, 40°F or below, and the freezer should be 0°F or below.
Foods that need refrigerated should be put in the fridge as soon as you get home. Never allow food that should be refrigerated, including leftovers and takeout, to sit out for more than 2 hours.
As soon as you get home from the store, freeze any meats that you aren’t going to cook in the next 2 days.
Some things always need to be refrigerated. All produce that is pre-cut or peeled needs stored in the fridge.
Eggs, meat, chicken, and seafood need to be refrigerated.
Some fruits and veggies shouldn’t be refrigerated. Tomatoes get mushy and lose their flavor; bananas will turn black, and the starch in potatoes turns to sugar when kept in the fridge.
And while potatoes and onions do best in a cool, dry place, don’t keep them under the sink where leaking sinks can ruin them. And never store any food near cleaners because they can poison you.
Some fruits should be ripened on the counter and then refrigerated. Avocados, kiwis, and fruits with a pit, like peaches and plums, take a few days on the counter to ripen and then can be kept in the fridge.
The containers some produce comes in are good ways to store them. When you bring home berries, make sure you go through them and remove all spoiled ones so they don’t spread mold to the other berries. Their containers also allow for air to get to them.
Things like grapes and onions also come in bags that let air get to them.
Salad mixes also often come in good storage containers. It can be a good idea to put a paper towel between the lid and greens to prevent condensation.
Always make sure your meat is wrapped well, both for the best quality and to protect other food.
Some things shouldn’t be stored together. Never store anything you eat raw, like fruits and veggies, near anything that must be cooked to be safe to eat, like raw meat, chicken, or seafood.
And even though potatoes and onions both do well in cool, dry environments, you shouldn’t store them right next to each other. That goes for most foods and onions because other foods can take on the onion flavor. (But make sure to store green onions in your fridge in the crisper drawer.)
If you buy root vegetables with their tops still on, like radishes, turnips, beets, and carrots, cut the greens off and store them separately. Never used the tops before? Don’t worry, we can help!
Use water to keep some things fresh for longer. Asparagus and fresh herbs, like basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint, stay fresh for longer when you store them with the ends in a jar or cup of water.
Still not sure how to handle a certain food? This handy guide can help:
Image via Buzzfeed
Wondering how long your food is actually good for? We can help make sense of all those dates!
And make sure you keep your food bacteria-free by washing your produce and practicing safe food prep.