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I’m not sure about anyone else, but I am growing tired of my food going bad and all the money I waste when I have to throw it away.

So, I decided that I should look into what I might be doing wrong. I want my foods to last longer not just for saving money, but also knowing that I will have some food on hand.

What I found was interesting enough that I believe it will help me save food and money in the future. So, I thought I would share it with others.

One thing I learned is that it isn’t always just “keep refrigerated” or not, but sometimes where in the fridge it should be placed that will make a difference.

Milk

15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

Of course, in the fridge. But, if you keep your milk on the door’s shelf for convenience, you might be surprised that it’s not a good place for it at all.

Sure, it makes it easier to grab. But, it could spoil so much quicker, because that is the warmest area in your fridge when it’s exposed to warm air every time the door opens.

Now, imagine a teen and the door opening often, and staying open until they can figure out what they want, if they ever do. Yes, I have a teen.

If you drink the milk in 2 days or less, then it’s not a problem. But, if it takes you longer to go through a container of milk, then place it towards the back of the fridge instead. In fact, the top shelf near the cooling vents would be best.

Raw Meat

How many of you keep raw meat on the top shelf of the fridge? I admit, I have several times. Mainly because I want to remember it’s there so it doesn’t go to waste by forgetting it.

15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

However, unless it’s wrapped really well or in a sealed container, juices from the meat can seep out and drip down onto other foods, contaminating them without even realizing it.

I have noticed this before and now store it on a plate, which can be placed on any shelf.

But just as with milk, it should not be right in the front getting exposed to warm air coming in. Make yourself a note that it’s there, if you fear that you will forget it.

Onions

I used to place my fresh onions in the crisper drawer in the fridge, thinking I was doing the right thing to keep them fresh and last longer. But, I was wrong. They kept going bad on me far quicker than I thought they should.

don’t place onions next to the potatoes

So, now I keep them on the counter, out of the sun, until I cut them. Once I cut them, I place them in a special onion container, then in the crisper drawer.

Also, don’t place them next to the potatoes, to save both from spoiling quicker. Speaking of potatoes…

Potatoes

I don’t put raw and uncut potatoes in the fridge, but I think I just got lucky in being “right” about this one. I simply don’t have room in the fridge. But, as it turns out, refrigerating potatoes will turn the natural starch into sugar.

I guess if you like sweeter tasting potatoes, this might work for you. Then again, it also alters the texture, and not in a pleasant way. I mean, if you want gritty, just buy grits, right?

If the potatoes are cooked, or cut, they should be stored in the fridge. For example, if you cut them a day or ahead of using them, place them in water, then in the fridge to avoid discoloration.

Fresh Produce

There are several items of fresh produce that should never be stored next to each other, due to spoiling much quicker.

For example, I mentioned potatoes and onions earlier. But, here is a list of other foods to maybe reconsider how and where you store them:

● 15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

Cucumbers – alone, and on the counter at room temperature.

● Root Vegetables – if you don’t have a root cellar, store them in a brown paper bag.

And, keep them away from onions, which will cause them to rot much sooner.

● Apples – Keep them away from oranges, but both can be kept in the fridge or on the counter.

● Celery, Carrots, and Asparagus – they shouldn’t be stored together, but they should be stored similarly. To keep them crisp, cut them into sticks, then submerge them in water in a glass or plastic container, then place in the fridge.

Tomatoes

15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

In the refrigerator? Nope. Unless you want less flavor, which doesn’t make sense. The cold air will also alter the texture by making the tomatoes quite mealy.

For best results, just keep them on the counter at room temperature. And, let them get some air.

Also, don’t layer them in a bowl or plate, because if one spoils, it will hasten the spoiling for the others. Spread them out.

Bread

I have never been one to store bread in the refrigerator, with the rare exception of once or twice when I bought too much. But, what I noticed is that it was quite dry when I went to use it.

Bread is best when it’s stored on the counter, or in a bread box. If it’s going to be longer than 3 or 4 days, store it in the freezer. But, wrap it in at least a couple layers, such as a couple bags.

When ready to use, unwrap the frozen bread, then bake it at 350°, for about 35-40 minutes. In fact, yum. I just might do that anyway.

Butter

15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

I struggle with this one, but butter can be left (covered) on the counter, especially if it’s just for a couple days.

If you aren’t going to be using it for a few days, then put it in the fridge. Then, take it out a day or two before wanting to serve it to guests. This will keep it safe, and spreadable.

Avocado

I never even considered putting my avocados in the fridge, until now. But, not all of them. They are best when stored on the counter at room temperature, unless they are at their peak ripeness, or just before that stage.

Once that happens, place them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process.

Bananas

I have also never placed bananas in the fridge. I knew they didn’t need to be, and I just don’t have the extra room for a bunch in there. But, I learned that the peels will blacken when refrigerated, and the actual banana will not ripen.

15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

Storing bananas at room temperature is best. So, keep your bundle together and on the counter. You can then tightly wrap the stems with plastic wrap to help lengthen the shelf life.

If they start to ripen too much, wrap them up and throw them into the freezer for breads and muffins when you are ready to bake.

Also, keep them away from other foods (especially fruits and veggies) that are left on the counter. It will speed up the ripening process, leading to premature spoilage.

Corn

I have been doing this one wrong. If you are not going to eat corn on the cob right after picking or purchasing, it’s best to store in the husk, and in the fridge. I have always kept it out on the counter.

Also, keep the corn…even in the husk, away from other fruits and veggies. It will spoil the corn rapidly.

Ketchup & Mustard

This one I learned and shared before, but continue to forget. My ketchup and mustard are still in the fridge, even though I know there is no need for them to be in there.

Ketchup & Mustard storage

There is no harm in keeping them in there, but it does free up some space in there, if you simply keep them in the pantry. Yes, even once they are opened.

If you have doubt, the next time you go into a restaurant…take note of the condiments that are left out on the tables.

Mayonnaise

No, I’m not going to tell you to keep your opened jar of mayo in the pantry. Opened containers need to be stored in the refrigerator.

But…like milk, don’t store it right in the front of the fridge to be exposed to warm air each time you open the doors.

Olive Oil

I have kept my oils near the stove, even olive oil. I will make sure that I don’t from now on though. Apparently, many olive oils are sold in dark containers for a reason. Light and heat can cause oxidation, which causes the oil to either lose its flavor, or turn rancid.

Keep it in a dark container, in the pantry and away from heat and light. Actually, it’s best to store all oils this way.

Hard Cheese

I had this one wrong too. Don’t store your opened hard cheeses in the wrapping it came in.

storing cheese

It seems as though you should be able to, right? But, now that I found out, it makes sense.

Once the wrap is opened, it rarely closes tightly on it again, which exposes the surface of the cheese to air. This will just lead to your cheese drying out and losing it’s texture and flavor.

It’s better to cover it with wax paper, then foil, then place it in an airtight container…then finally, in the refrigerator. Sounds like a lot to do, but cheese can be costly and not used quickly. Better to take the extra steps to preserve it the best you can.

Basil

I got this one wrong too. I just assumed that this would be better in the crisper, like many other herbs. But, basil will wilt and darken in cold temps.

It’s best to store fresh basil by snipping the ends, then placing the herb in a glass container, like a mason jar, of (room temperature) water. And, just keep that on the counter.

Dried Fruits

15+ Foods You Might Have Been Storing The Wrong Way

At a glance, dried foods have seemed to be indestructible just in a bag on the counter. At least to me, they do.

However, that’s not an accurate assessment. They can easily become contaminated if not stored properly, when moisture is allowed to seep in.

Dried fruits should be packaged while they are not warm, because warm fruits will sweat, producing unwanted moisture. The container you choose should be dry and airtight, such as freezer bags, canning jars, plastic freezer containers, or a vacuum-sealer container or bag.

Then, place the sealed fruits in a dark and cool area, or the freezer. If left unopened, they should last for up to a year without issue.

Flours and Sugars

If you use your flour and sugars frequently, then it should be fine to keep them in the original packaging, even after opening. The packaging is typically meant for storage.

However, if they are going to sit for a while, especially after opening, it would be best to transfer the unused foods into an airtight container such as a mason jar or sealed plastic container. This will keep it fresh much longer, and keep pantry moths out.

Dehydrated Meats

Dehydrated foods should be stored in airtight containers, such as a mason jar or sealed plastic containers. If you place it in your pantry, it should stay for about 2 weeks, as long as it’s cool, dark…and dry. However, it can be stored in a freezer for up to a year.

Refrigerating dehydrated meats is somewhat debated. Some say that it’s cool, sure. But, it’s not dry in the refrigerator. So, it’s probably even more important to make sure the container is completely airtight if you are going to store it in the fridge.

Yes, my counter might be getting more full in the near future. But, my fridge is going to have more room. It’s a wash, I guess.

Hopefully, I shared some information with you that is new, in hopes that it will help keep some of your foods fresher and tastier, for longer. I’m all about saving money and space, as well as letting nothing go to waste!

Reference

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