food waste, fridge

Food waste is a crime, really. In these trying economic times, there is even more pressure to avoid food wastage. Here are some easy tips to keep your food fresher for longer:

1. There Is a Right Place for Everything

Your fridge is not a car booth, a sardine can, or a game of Tetris. It’s not about trying to make a lot of things fit in a given space. So what’s the best way to do this?

Fridge Door

Temperature: fluctuates and is the warmest part of the fridge.
OK: food or drinks that doesn’t spoil fast like water, juice, soda, condiments, etc.
NOT OK: food that spoils fast like milk and cheese

Upper Shelves

Temperature: most consistent, an average of 7°C
OK: Food that’s eaten cold like cold cuts, olives, hummus, butter, cheese, etc.

Middle Shelves

Temperature: optimum, 4-5°C
OK: milk, cheese, eggs, butter, yogurts, cream, etc.

Lower Shelves

Temperature: average 3°C
OK: leftovers, chilled ready meals, etc.

Crispers / Drawers

Temperature: 8-10°C
OK: fruit and vegetables

2. Separate Fruit and Vegetables Correctly

Fruit and veg are the trickiest to store. Divide them into three main categories:

a. Store at room temperature

There are some fruit and veg that survive better outside the fridge. Examples of these items are bananas, garlic, onion, and potatoes.

b. Store in the fridge – produces a lot of ethylene gas

Keep these food items separate from those that are ethylene-sensitive gas. Ethylene gas promotes ripening. Food with high ethylene gas are: 

  • tomatoes
  • pears
  • avocado
  • bananas

c. Store in the fridge – ethylene-sensitive food

Food that is ethylene-sensitive will ripen and spoil if exposed to too much ethylene. These are items like: 

  • leafy veg
  • apples
  • peppers

3. Shop Smart & Don’t Overload 

How many times a week do you do your grocery shopping? Once, twice or more? Plan your meals out and strategically buy what is needed. Ideally, fresh food should not stay in your fridge longer than a week.

Once you’re able to plan and control the items that go in and out of your fridge, you will notice that overloading the fridge will become a habit of the past. It’s also easier to clean the refrigerator just before you go out for the weekly grocery shopping.

4. Check and Rotate

No matter how much we plan, there will always be some leftover food from the previous week that we didn’t manage to cook or eat. Separate these items and/or bring them to the front of the shelves. New shopping goes to the back, so it doesn’t get mixed. This is an easy way to remember to cook or eat the older items first.

5. Get Specific Hacks

Take note of specific food items that seem to still spoil fast for you, and search the internet for hacks. Someone out there would have faced the same issue as you and may have found a solution to it.

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