• Livia Ly, MS, RD, LDN

How Fresh Is Your Fridge?

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

The way you store your food will have an impact on its freshness and life cycle

Of course, you don't like to waste food. But sometimes as hard as you try it, unavoidably seems to continue happening.

Picture by: Whole Living


Main Storage Tips

  1. CLEANING: Clean your fridge with alcohol 70% before storing newly bought food. Also, learn how to declutter your kitchen here.

  2. TEMPERATURE: For quality preservation and energy efficiency, keep the refrigerator temperature between 35 and 40 degrees.

  3. FIFO: Follow the rule "first in, first out": After you buy new groceries, move the older products to the front so you consume them first.

  4. UPPER SHELVES: Store leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods (like yogurt and cheese).

  5. LOWER SHELVES: Store raw ingredients slated for cooked dishes.

  6. DOOR: Store condiments. The refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge, so don't put eggs or milk in the door.

  7. DRAWERS: Use one exclusively for veggies and the other exclusively for raw meat. 

  8. LABELING: Label your containers with content and date information.


Leftover Food and Meat Storage Tips

  1. COOKED FOODS: To prevent foodborne illness-causing bacteria, refrigerate prepared or cooked foods within 2 hours.

  2. THAWING: Thaw all frozen meats in the fridge, not on counters or in sinks.

  3. RAW MEAT STORAGE: Store raw meats on the bottom to keep juices from dripping onto other foods. Raw meats must be away from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.

  4. ORIGINAL CONTAINERS: Keep all fresh meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy in their original containers.

  5. FRESH MEAT IN THE FRIDGE: Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.

  6. MARINATES: Marinate food in the refrigerator. 

  7. COVERING FOODS: Keep foods covered.


Produce Storage Tips

  1. GASSES: Keep fruits and vegetables separate because they give off different gasses that can cause others to deteriorate. 

  2. PERFORATED BAGS: Store produce susceptible to drying out in perforated BPA-free plastic bags (and reuse them!) to maintain a moist environment yet still allow air to circulate.

  3. CRISPER: Keep your gas-sensitive vegetables (leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, herbs, cucumber, eggplant, peppers) in the crisper to keep them firm for longer.

  4. HERB: Herbs are fine in a vase on the counter if you're going to use them within a few days. Otherwise, wrap the roots in a wet paper towel in the fridge to maximize moisture. Refresh the water regularly.

  5. LEAFY VEGGIES: Leafy greens can be washed and patted dry, then stored wrapped in a paper towel and in a closed plastic bag away from fruits like apples that release ethylene gas.

  6. BLUE APPLE: Also, preserving products like the blue apple or green bags may help extend the life of yourproduce.    

  7. COUNTERTOP: Tomatoes, avocados, peaches, watermelon, plums, nectarines, and pears are better stored on a countertop. 

  8. DON'T REFRIGERATE: Never refrigerate potatoes, onions, winter squash or garlic. But separate them so their smells don't mix. Store these in a cool, dry place.


Healthy Food Storage Tips

  1. AVOID: Any foods you want to avoid should be kept out of the house.

  2. CLEAR CONTAINERS: Use clear glass containers for healthy food so you can see what's in it.

  3. TOP SHELF: Add fresh food snacks on the top shelf or eye-level shelf. 

  4. PRE-WASHED/CUT: Clean and cut up produce, then put it in easy-to-see, portion-sized containers for grab and go.

  5. OVERCROWDING: Don't crowd the refrigerator so tightly that air can't circulate. Also, too many groceries in the fridge make it difficult to see what you have. If you can’t see it, you won’t eat it!

  6. GRAINS AND BEANS: Double or triple the batch when you make some whole grains and beans because they take longer to cook than refined grains.

  7. PROTEIN AND FATS: Stock your fridge with lean protein and healthy fats -- organic hard-boiled eggs, hummus, guacamole, tahini, nut butter, chia and hemp seeds, plain organic yogurt, organic sour cream, organic white cheeses, organic tofu, plant-based milk, and organic milk. 

  8. BREAD: Store some corn tortilla and sprouted bread.

  9. DRESSING: Make your own dressing or purchase healthy condiments, like Dijon mustard, vinegar, low-sodium hot sauces, organic tomato paste or olives. 

  10. DRINKS: Avoid fruit juices, bottled flavored teas, and sodas, and choose kefir, kombucha, and coconut water, instead.  Also, flavor your water naturally with these recipes.


Learn more about reducing food waste by

  1. planning your meals and understanding food labels

  2. storing food properly,

  3. blanching,

  4. freezing and cooking your foods adequately,  

  5. preserving surplus and discarding food correctly.

Organize your fridge and eat healthy!

July 6, 2017

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