Buying fresh produce and meat from the grocery store is one challenge, but keeping it fresh is a whole other issue. We have all had unpleasant experiences in the past with expired foods or fruits and veggies simply gone bad, so how can we stop wasting food?
If you want to prevent spoilage and - ultimately - wastage, certain foods shouldn’t be stored together at all, while others that we commonly keep in the fridge should actually be left on the countertop. To keep your produce optimally fresh (and cut down on food waste), use this handy guide. Without having to get into the latest in food packaging technology, there are a surprising number of ways to keep food fresh just by taking a few extra precautions.
1. Keep fish and poultry colder than cold.
Fish and poultry should always be stored at the bottom of the refrigerator, where it is the coldest. When storing fish, always make sure to keep the meat on a thick layer of ice, just as grocers do in the supermarket. This way, the fish is almost guaranteed never to go bad since its temperature will always remain above freezing. Even if you are planning on saving the fish for a later occasion, make sure to drain the water on a regular basis and replace the ice.
2. Consider the source.
Depending on what kind of fruit you purchase, consider the fruit’s country of origin. If the fruit is tropical, keep it in a cool environment outside of the refrigerator. For regular fruits like apples and oranges, never store these in a sealed plastic bag. Punch holes in the bag or simply leave the bag open so the fruits are able to respire.
3. Start separating.
Keep certain fruits separate. Vegetables and fruits release a gas called ethylene when they ripen. Some fruits are more prone to release ethylene than others, including nectarines, pears, tomatoes, kiwis, papayas and bananas, while other fruits are prone to go bad from the ethylene these fruits produce. Fruits that are sensitive to ethylene include carrots, apples, watermelon, green beans and brinjals. These two categories of fruits should be kept separate in different drawers of the refrigerator.
4. Educate yourself on dairy.
Dairy products are some of the worst offenders when it comes to expired food. As a result, they are a product commonly thrown out without a second thought. While refrigerating dairy foods may be common knowledge, cheeses vary in terms of spoilage. Grating cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan generally do not contain enough moisture for mold or bacteria to grow. On the other hand, soft cheeses like cottage cheese and mozzarella are susceptible to spoiling if they are not kept refrigerated.
5. Keep some veggies out of the fridge.
Potatoes are considered a staple in nearly every kitchen, though they are oftentimes stored the wrong way. Refrigerating potatoes will cause the starch to turn sweet, so opt instead for dry and cool areas like regular kitchen cabinets. This also applies to other vegetables like onions and garlic.
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