The Proper Way to Store Food in Your Fridge

Putting away the groceries may seem like a kitchen no-brainer, but there’s actually some science to it.

Following these simple refrigeration rules will help keep everything fresher, tastier, and safer.

The first thing to know about what to put in your fridge is what not to put in it. Refrigeration can damage the texture or flavor of many fruits and vegetables. For example, bananas will turn black, tomatoes will lose flavor, and sweet potatoes will harden. If you like some of your produce chilled, refrigerate them only when you’re about to eat them.
Ok, maybe some fridges used just for beer (yep, we know why you need a refrigerator for garage), but not all of them.
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Some fruits, like peaches and avocados, will ripen faster outside of the fridge. Once they reach their prime, you can store them for up to three days in the fridge without sacrificing any quality.

There are some fruits and vegetables that produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen, and other fruits and veggies are sensitive to it, causing them to spoil faster. Apples, pears, and plums produce ethylene, so keep them separate from broccoli, green beans, and lettuces.

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Most fridges have bins where you can control the humidity. Unless you want limp lettuce, a good rule of thumb is that if it gets misted at the market, keep it in the humidity bin. Mushrooms don’t like humidity, so keep them out of the bin and store them in a paper bag.
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Rules for the rest of the fridge are pretty easy. Keep the fridge below 40 degrees. Since the back is cooler than the front, put dairy there. Place poultry and other meats on a baking tray on the very bottom. If you have seafood, just put it on top. This will prevent dripping and possible cross-contamination. Eggs should be kept in their original carton and not in the door. However, less perishable items like condiments, jams, and sodas, should be stored in the door. You can also keep butter you are currently using here, but the rest of it should be stored in a cooler part of the fridge to last longer. Use the leftover case from a six-pack of beer to help organize sauces and turn it into a tote for your next BBQ.

How to store food in your refrigerator (infographics)

how to store food in the refrigerator
This table displays the storage life of some chilled food in the coldest part of a refrigerator (your thermometer should show a temperature below 5 °C in the main section of the refrigerator)
[table id=6 /] N.B. Many of these products are labeled with a ‘use-by’ date. This can be used as a guide to shelf life of the unopened product.

1 thought on “The Proper Way to Store Food in Your Fridge

  1. Thanks for the helpful information. I’ve been complaining about how stuff in my fridge wasn’t staying fresh very long and now I realize that it’s my fault. I didn’t know about a lot of the facts you list. I’ve always stored my apples and pears along side of my vegetables. Now I know that’s wrong. Thanks for the information.

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