Published: August 28, 2020
Do you know what’s living in your fridge? Is there a bag of forgotten parsley or a tomato being colonized by mold? This post gives you 5 simple tips about organizing your fridge so it’s cleaner and easier to navigate, all while making the most of your produce so it doesn’t go bad in the back of your fridge (we hope!).
1. Keep the Fridge Clean
When was the last time you really cleaned your fridge? Think about doing a deep clean. You can reduce leaks in your fridge by storing any packages with liquid in a container. Open packages, like wrapped meats, often leak and can cross-contaminate other items in your fridge like produce. Keeping them in separate containers reduces this risk leaks while keeps your fridge from smelling.
*Pro-tip: Did you know baking soda can be used for more than baking?! Store an opened box of baking soda (replacing every 3 months) in your fridge to help eliminate odors.
2. Lower vs. Upper Shelves
While you may think a shelf is a shelf, where you store your produce is imperative for long-lasting, fresh-tasting veggies. Fruits and vegetables should be kept in the lower crisper drawers and set at a lower temperature (plus, then they’re protected from any drips or raw meat!)
3. No two fruits and veggies are the same: avoid storing them together!
The number one rule of storing fruits and veggies is to be sure you aren’t storing them together. Each type of produce needs a specific environment to stay fresh. Fruit thrives from low humidity, while vegetables prefer high humidity. Fruits (and some veggies) are also known to produce ethylene, a chemical which helps them ripen — and can cause your neighboring vegetables to ripen sooner than you’d like. Common refrigerator produce items are:
- Fresh produce & berries: keep dry (and don’t wash until you eat them). Avoiding moisture keeps away mold growth.
- Greens and fresh herbs: store in a sealed zip bag. By reducing oxygen flow, you’ll be able to maintain its nutritional value.
- Citrus fruits: store in a mesh bag. The oxygen circulation allows citrus to last longer.
- Celery: wrap in tin foil so your stalks stay crunchy for 1-2 weeks.
- Asparagus: keep upright in a glass of water. This keeps the bunch fresh and hydrated for 1-2 weeks.
- Mushrooms: store together in a paper bag. Brown paper absorbs excess moisture allowing mushrooms to breathe.
- Carrots: cut off the leafy green tops. The tops will continue sucking the nutrients out of the carrots as you store them. By doing this, your carrots can last up to 2 weeks.
- Cucumbers: thoroughly dry and wrap in paper towel, then place in the crisper drawer for maximum freshness. Cucumbers will last between 5 days and 1 week in the fridge as long as excess water and humidity is kept to a minimum.
- Bell Peppers: store in a dry, sealed bag in your crisper drawer. Storing them in a dry place prevents your bell peppers from turning soft, slimy, or moldy. Bell pepper can last 1-2 weeks if stored properly.
4. Check the temperature of your fridge
The temperature in your refrigerator should be 34°- 40°F (1°-4°C). Pathogenic (disease-carrying) bacteria thrive above 40°F. Below 40°F, bacteria can still grow on foods – affecting their taste and smell – but are not considered to be harmful. Make sure to keep the temperature above 34°, if the temperature is too low, your vegetables can freeze.
5. Not all veggies need refrigeration
There are many food items that keep and actually taste better when they are left on the countertop. Gain some extra space in your fridge by leaving these items on the counter:
We hope these 5 easy tips will help you keep your produce fresher for longer! Like what you read? Check out our FREE Specialty Courses!