According to the Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away food that amounts to a cost of around $160 billion annually. That is indeed shocking and leaves us wondering why so much food gets wasted. Research indicates that a lot of food ends up getting wasted due to improper storage that shortens the shelf life of edibles. To curb this wastage of food, we uncover the right methods of refrigerating foods in an effort to get them to their maximum shelf life.
1. Storing dairy
Dairy products are the most vulnerable to getting spoiled if they are not stored properly. When you purchase fresh milk or cheese, make sure to keep old stock in front so you can finish that first. Additionally, try to store cheese in the same container it came in. If you need to transfer cheese from its original packing, try to use a foil wrap to keep it fresh. The fridge door is the warmest part of the fridge and should not be used for refrigerating foods that are easily perishable such as milk products. So, if you have been storing milk cartons in the fridge door, it’s time to move them.
2. Storing fruits and vegetables
Store the same fruits and vegetables with each other. So, tomatoes go with tomatoes and pears with pears. Fruits and vegetables often give off gasses that can cause other fruits and vegetables to deteriorate. Vegetables that are prone to drying out can be stored in special zip lock bags that have perforations. This will allow them to retain moisture and stay fresh. If a single vegetable or fruit goes rotten, throw it away immediately to prevent it spoiling other fresh produce in your refrigerator.
3. Refrigerating foods that are ethylene sensitive
When refrigerating fruits and vegetables, it helps to understand which of them are ethylene-sensitive. Certain vegetables and fruits give out ethylene gas that can quicken the decay of ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables.
Ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables include:
Ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables include:
These two categories of produce should never be stored together.
4. Storing leftover food
Leftovers should be stored in leak-proof containers. Also, the sooner you refrigerate leftovers, the better it is for their shelf-life. You don’t need to wait for food to cool down before putting it in the fridge. Additionally, leftover food should be stored in smaller portions in flat containers. This helps the food cool quickly and uniformly and prevents bacteria from developing in the middle part that takes the longest to cool. When refrigerating foods that came in a tin, transfer them to a plastic food box. Retaining food in a metal container can cause it to go bad and develop a metallic smell.