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How to Stock Your Fridge If You Want Your Food to Last!

One of the most fundamental ground rules for keeping refrigerated items fresh:

“The colder the fridge, the longer things will last.”

Refrigerators should be set between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit for both safety and quality—even a degree can make a difference.

Due to the frequent opening and shutting of the refrigerator door, the food in the front and on the side of the refrigerator door may be most likely well above 40 degrees. So, make sure your fridge is set cool enough and push things as far back from the door as possible.

We rounded up a few tips which will help you make sure your food lasts longer and save you from having to make extra grocery store trips.

Choose foods with staying power!

Some long-lasting picks:

  • eggs (they’re good up to five weeks, and it’s easy to know when one’s gone bad),

  • winter squash,

  • citrus,

  • onions,

  • hard cheeses (avoid low-sodium cheese which won’t last as long),

  • pickles,

  • cream cheese,

  • sour cream,

  • heavy cream, and

  • bacon.

Separate your produce!

All fruits and vegetables are not created equal, and tossing them all into the same crisper drawer can significantly shorten the lifespan of some food items.

Tomatoes for example, produce a lot of ethylene gas, a plant hormone that speeds up the ripening process. Asparagus, garlic, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, peppers, and strawberries are among the produce items most sensitive to the effects of ethylene. If you must refrigerate these items, store high ethylene producer tomatoes in its own drawer.

These foods should be stored at room temperature!

Tomatoes, onions, and avocados last longer at room temp.

Here are some foods that shouldn’t go in your fridge. Find out why:

  • Basil,

  • cucumbers,

  • onions,

  • tomatoes,

  • coffee,

  • garlic,

  • hot sauce,

  • honey,

  • sliced low carb bread,

  • nuts,

  • avocados,

  • olive oil,

  • bell peppers,

  • pickles,

  • chocolate,

  • eggplant.

Don't wash everything right away!

Moisture leads to mold, so washing a box of strawberries at once, for example leads to rapid spoilage. Instead, only wash the amount you’re going to eat in one sitting immediately before eating it and leave the rest dry.

Maintain proper moisture levels with your fresh herbs for them to last longer

Fresh herbs make a big impact in all kinds of recipes, yet those delicate greens never last long. Growing your own is always a good option, as is using dried.

The best way to extend the life of cut leafy herbs like cilantro and parsley is to maintain proper moisture levels by sticking them in a jar of water and placing a plastic bag loosely over the top. Of course you should change the water regularly.

Here’s more information on how to store your herbs properly.

Minimize your cut surfaces

Exposure to oxygen is one of the fastest ways to spoil food. When you need half only an onion, tomato, or lime, you want to minimize your cut surfaces (i.e. don’t chop the rest of that onion) and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. This will also prevent odors from stinkier items like onions from permeating other foods in the fridge.

Don’t wrap your cheese in a plastic foil

Cheese is a living food. The common yet WRONG way of storing a cut wedge of cheese is to wrap it in a plastic foil. This traps moisture inside and doesn’t let the cheese breathe. That's why cheese starts to feel slimy before sprouting bad kind of mold.

Cheese should be wrapped in parchment or wax paper and placed in a small Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid.

Wrap right

Wrap your leftovers in plastic wrap before popping then in a Tupperware container. This way, you will prevent freezer burn in case you plan to keep them for longer periods.

When you don’t want to take any chances with food going bad before it’s time, sucking the out of the plastic bag your leftovers are in is the best solution. Vacuum sealing can keep food fresh for five times as long as other storage methods.

Enjoy your perfectly fresh kept left-overs. Bon appétit!

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