The refrigerator is a modern marvel that not only keeps food fresh and edible for a lot longer, but also cuts down on your food spending by providing a reliable storage area with a controlled temperature. But that doesn’t mean that you can store just about anything in it. While some foods do last longer when kept in a cool area, others will spoil faster or lose their flavor, which eventually leads to wasted food.
To prevent this, keep the following tips in mind the next time you get home from grocery shopping:
1. Dry goods are best kept in the open…
Canned, dried, and preserved foods are best kept at room temperature, or in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. For sealed packages that have been opened, airtight containers make for an ideal storage.
2. …and so are some fruits and vegetables
You may want to jam all your fruits and vegetables inside the fridge, but some are better kept in an open space or separated from others. This is the case for items that give off a lot of ethylene as they ripen, like bananas or papayas. There are other food items that you shouldn’t keep in the fridge as well, like bread, tomatoes, onions, and especially aromatics like onion and garlic.
3. Not everything is fridge-friendly
Hot food items should be given two hours to cool down to room temperature completely before storing inside a refrigerator. Since bacteria can only survive between five and sixty degrees Celsius, bringing hot food into the fridge will only bring the temperature within that range and spoil any leftovers you might plan on saving for later.
4. But you can keep the liquids in the back…
The fridge door is definitely no space for liquids, especially for fruit juices and fresh milk. The reason? Temperature changes too frequently in the fridge door compartments, and liquids are especially prone to going bad. Instead, try storing them in the back of the fridge where the temperature is more stable, and leave the fridge door storage compartments for items that have natural preservatives, like condiments.
5. …and keep your greens wet!
Keeping your herbs green and springy locks in their freshness and flavor for a longer time, but just because your herbs are in the fridge doesn’t mean they won’t wilt in there – and they most likely already have.
Since the air inside the fridge is actually quite dry, you want to make sure they are stored in your fridge much like you would a bouquet: stems submerged in a jar of water and a plastic bag draped over the leaves to lock in moisture.