In the United States, around half of all produce, about $160 billion worth, is thrown into the trash each year.
It is concerning to realize that half of all produce is thrown out, many times it is because the food is deformed, damaged, or wasn’t consumed quickly enough.
Taking measures to reduce waste can seem difficult when the fruit is ripe one moment and then spoiled the next. Often times, the food spoils because it is improperly stored.
Continue reading to discover some of the best tips for storing foods so that you can avoid waste.
The Best Tips for Storing Foods
Many people put all of their fruits and vegetables into the fridge once they get back from the store but not all foods are treated the same way.
Storing foods properly can make them last longer and you won’t have to worry about wasting your money on produce or dairy products that go bad again (unless they make it past the freshness dates).
Following these tips can help you avoid contamination and spoiling during the process of handling and storing your foods.
As mentioned above, not all foods can be treated the same way, and many have to be stored in completely separate areas. Using the guide below can help you properly store your food.
1. Avoid Putting Everything into the Fridge
Not all fruits and veggies belong in the cold air of the refrigerator.
In fact, melons, citrus, berries, peaches, pears, and bananas are just a few of the fruits that you should leave on the countertop. Avocados, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes are a few items that don’t belong in the fridge either.
For the items that do belong in the fridge, like many dairy products, meats, carrots, celery, corn, and nuts should be kept in the temperature range of 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Find Good Containers
Many people choose to purchase well-made containers to put their food into to make it last longer.
If you are wanting to properly store your foods, it is important to have airtight containers, freezer storage options, and breathable bags for items like garlic, onions, and potatoes.
Storage containers that are also microwave and dishwasher safe are excellent options if you will be using them to store leftovers in.
3. Consider Your Lifestyle
Thinking about your lifestyle and habits is a great tip when storing food in your home.
This will give you insight on how much to purchase, many people overbuy on dairy products and let them go to waste, instead of purchasing smaller options. Another thing that you should consider is how often you need quick, on the go snacks available.
Using reusable bags and containers can help you keep snacks organized and stored so that they will be eaten.
4. Take Things out of the Original Packaging
Taking certain food items out of the original packaging once they have been opened is a great way to make them last longer.
Flour and brown sugar, for example, do not handle humidity very well and last longer when transferred into an airtight container. Furthermore, apples do well outside of the plastic bag that they come in and thrive in room temperatures.
5. Fill in the Dark Corners of the Kitchen
If you have any dark corners in your kitchen that are typically dry and cool, you have the ideal spot for storing potatoes, onions, and garlic.
When potatoes get too cold, the starches turn into sugar and can lead to them tasting too sweet and changing colors. Onions also require storage in dark areas but they also need good air circulation and should not be placed with potatoes, they react badly together.
6. Avoid Spreading Bacteria
Although some food products are best stored in separate containers from the ones that they came in from the store, meat is not one of them.
It is highly recommended to keep meats stored in the same packaging that they came in, transferring them can run the risk of contaminating other areas. Avoiding moisture is recommended when storing meats so that bacteria won’t begin to grow.
It is also important to watch for any cross-contamination when working with any raw meats in the kitchen. Washing your hands, knives, and cutting boards can help keep the area clean.
7. Take Care of Your Greens
Typically, people just toss in their salad greens into the fridge and don’t think about them until they go to eat a salad.
However, when the lettuce is sitting in the retail packaging, water is often trapped inside and can make your produce age much quicker. If you start seeing slime on your lettuce, it is not being stored properly.
Instead, you should wash your lettuce and dry it out. Once it is fully dry, it can be placed inside of a perforated bag, paper bag, or simply inside of a bowl.
Go Bananas for Proper Storage
Storing foods has never been easier than now!
Understanding that not all fruits, veggies, or dairy products are treated the same way is the most important take-away from this article.
Not only will you waste money on produce if you don’t store them correctly, but you will also miss out on the health benefits and can run the risk of contamination. Utilizing the tips from above can help you keep produce lasting longer and being money well spent.
Be sure to check out our general health section to find more articles, like this one, to help improve your quality of life.