Cut down on food waste and keep your groceries around for longer with these food storage ideas! Here’s what you should know about safe food storage and techniques for extending the shelf life of your purchases.
How To Store Vegetables
When putting away your veggies, you should consider three main things: temperature, airflow, and ethylene. Ask yourself these questions to determine the optimal place for your vegetables:
- What temperature is best for storage?
Most foods do well in the fridge, but some veggies prefer room temperature. Items to keep on the counter or in the pantry include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Are my room temperature vegetables in a spot that has good airflow?
The vegetables stored at room temperature do best when there’s adequate air circulation. Even moving your items from their perforated packaging will make a difference in their shelf life.
- Which vegetables release ethylene gas, and which are sensitive to ethylene gas?
Some fruits—including apples, bananas, melons, peaches, and pears—produce ethylene gas, which certain vegetables are sensitive to. Keeping those veggies near ethylene-producing fruits will speed up the ripening process, so keep them separate if you want them to last longer. Vegetables sensitive to ethylene include:
- Collard greens
How To Store Fruits
Keep these tips in mind for safe and long-lasting fruit storage:
- Store fruit unwashed; excess moisture can cause them to go bad faster.
- Refrigerate! Freezing ripened fruit is also a great way to prolong freshness.
- Store fruit away from raw meat and dairy products to avoid contamination.
- Inspect berries for spoiled or crushed ones before you put them away.
Other Food Storage Tips
Fruits and vegetables aren’t the only things you’re putting away, so here are some more miscellaneous tips for food storage:
- Store meat, fish, and poultry in the coldest parts of your fridge.
- Properly wrap and contain your meat so that the meat juices don’t contaminate other food in your fridge.
- Make sure your fridge’s temperature is set at or below 40°F.
- Leftovers should be stored within two hours—and eaten within three to four days.
- In your pantry or on your counter, store older items near the front to cut down on food waste. You’ll be more likely to remember to eat them when they’re visible.
- For optimal fresh herb storage, trim them, place them in water, cover the leaves, and refrigerate (but not in the coldest parts of your fridge).
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