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November 2019

It’s something we’ve all let happen. We buy something with the best of intentions, but time slips away from us. Or we put the thing behind something else and forget that it’s there. However it happens, wasteful food spoilage is the result. Not only are you throwing away perfectly good food, but your wallet will take a hit. Over a lifetime, the amount of dollars you have been forced to throw away might well be in the thousands.

You know the phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place”? This philosophy, when applied to your groceries, can be the key to preventing waste.

Refrigerate Responsibly

Refrigerators are actually designed with the “everything has its place” philosophy in mind.

For example, the door of your refrigerator is one of the warmest parts of the fridge, which makes it optimal for condiments. The top shelf, on the other hand, is one of the coldest places, making it the perfect place for your milk and other dairy products. Eggs should be kept in their carton to promote proper air circulation. Meat should be kept on the bottom shelf, where it’s suitably cold. The tray there will capture any drippings to help prevent contamination.

Meat should be kept uncut and wrapped until you’re ready to prepare it for dinner. This helps preserve freshness and is another step to keep from contaminating other foods. If you’re not going to prepare all the meat at once, store whatever you’re saving on a plate with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

Another trick to keeping the contents of your refrigerator from spoiling prematurely is to ensure the fridge isn’t overly full and that all items within it are evenly spaced. This helps ensure that everything in the fridge receives adequate airflow and the temperature remains consistent throughout. This will also help ensure you have a clear line of sight of everything in your fridge so you don’t forget the plans you had for certain items when you bought them.

Frequently used items should be near the front of the fridge for easy access. The less time you spend hunched over searching for something while the cool air lets out, the longer your food will last.

Best Freezer Practices

The freezer might seem like the catch-all for long-term preservation, but an overly full freezer likely won’t keep your items preserved as long or as well. In order to freeze items quickly, freeze in small quantities.

In some cases, particularly if you have items you’re saving for a special occasion that are taking up much-needed freezer real-estate, it might make more sense to buy a large capacity deep freezer, such as the Whirlpool Chest Freezer, that is kept elsewhere. Having a place to store the overflow can help save a lot of money (and waste) in the long run. 

Properly Store Your Produce

What all goes in the refrigerator? The answer isn’t “all of it.” In fact, refrigerating certain fruits can expedite spoilage.

What should you refrigerate? Items like apples, apricots, broccoli, plums, cucumbers, cantaloupe, cauliflower, lettuce and Brussels sprouts—specifically in the crisper bins. Also, your fruit and vegetables should be relegated to their own bins, not the same one, as vegetables require a higher level of humidity than fruits in order to remain fresh longer.

You will also want to avoid washing fresh produce before placing it in your refrigerator, as the wetness and the cold can join forces to hasten mold growth, and no one wants that.

What shouldn’t be in the refrigerator? Peaches, avocados, nectarines, bananas, whole watermelons, and tomatoes. Leave these items on the counter.

Items like potatoes, onions, and garlic need to be kept in a cool, dark place. We recommend a kitchen cabinet or the pantry, and not all in the same place, lest you want these foods to absorb one another’s scents.

Taking time to organize your refrigerator and cabinets might not sound like fun, but it can save you boatload in the long-run. And if you find anything that hasn’t yet passed its sell-by date but you know you won’t get the chance to prepare, consider donating it to a shelter where it will get use. Sure, you won’t get the money back, but you’ll cut back on food waste and knock out a good deed while you’re at it.

Have questions about proper food storage? Ask the team of experts at Metro Appliances & More! In addition to tips, we will help you find the right refrigerator/freezer combo for your home and lifestyle to help your groceries stay fresh longer.

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