Eating fresh and nutritious food isn’t alway easy to do economically. And that often comes down to the shorter shelf life, and how to “buy in bulk” but also utilise before it turns bad.

In fact, the average household typically throws away about $2,000 worth of food each year, which contributes to the 4.2 million tonnes of food waste that goes into Australian landfills.

However, did you know that there are simple little tricks and ways that you can store your food in the fridge to better preserve its freshness? Well, you can… So we’ve compiled our favourite five tips to help you do just that:

  1. To fridge, or not to fridge: that is the first question you need to ask yourself. While many assume that a fridge will keep food fresh for longer, this only applies to certain types. It’s true that for most greens – like salad leaves – cooler temperatures can slow down respiration to ward off bacteria. However, a lot of our favourite fruits don’t favour the fridge, with the cold in fact actually impacting the ripening process. Examples of this include pears, apples, kiwifruit, tomatoes and avocado, which are best kept in a bowl on the bench.
  2. Wait to wash your fruit and vegetables: rather than washing all at once after purchase, you’ll enjoy longer lasting produce if you hold off until just before use. Many
    vegetables, particularly those going into the fridge can turn rotten (and slimy!) if they get too wet. On that note, another great way to ward off wastage from wetness is to keep condensation at bay with simple steps such as avoiding opening and closing the door too often.
  3. Choose the correct container: not all containers are created equal for all types of fruit and vegetables. The core types of storage solutions range from a reusable container with paper towel or brown paper bag through to an open plastic produce bag or a resealable plastic bag. Often individual items such as green beans, zucchini and brussel sprouts hold up better in open bags, whereas fennel and cabbage are best in one with a seal. Smaller fruits like strawberries, blueberries and also loose leaf salad leaves are better in containers, while mushrooms and avocados prefer paper over plastic.
  4. Not all foods are friends: nice neighbours are important, even when it comes to fresh produce storage. Some fruit and vegetables emit ethylene gas as they ripen, which as well as being a reason to keep out of the fridge, means you should store them separately. One of the most common examples are onions and potatoes, while both are pantry storage pieces, if they’re kept close, the onion will turn your potatoes too quickly.
  5. Hydrate your herbs: as items that pack a lot of flavour punch for such small amounts, leftover herbs are often the ones that we end up tossing out. The most simple solution for extending shelf life however is to treat tender herbs like flowers. These herbs – such as basil, parsley and coriander – will survive longer if you firstly trim the ends and then store in a cup of water with a loose plastic bag over the top. Harder herbs, however, also  love hydration but can be stored simply rolled in a damp paper towel inside a resealable plastic bag.

Of course, in the interest of our environment we want to reduce the use of plastic as much as possible. So we encourage you to reuse bags and containers, or do a little extra research and
invest in other alternatives that promise not to suck moisture out of the produce, but also doesn’t make the items wet.

Now that you’re armed with these food storage secrets, why not have a look at our monthly food box deliveries? For the same price as shopping in a grocery store, you’ll receive approximately 9kg of seasonal produce that is sustainably sourced, locally grown and contributes 100% of profits to Food For Change’s mission to end food insecurity across Australia. The fresh food box is currently being delivered across Melbourne & Victoria!

Bon appetite!