I am admittedly the worst when it comes to storing food. I cannot even begin to comprehend or communicate the amount of money that I have wasted, simply because I did not store something properly or because it got shoved to the back of my fridge and I forgot it was there. With each memory of a mushy vegetable or a rotten leftover container I see flashes of vacations that my family could have gone on, that pair of Manolo Blahniks and ooh, ooh that bicycle I’ve been eyeing.
To avoid your money being thrown away along with your poorly stored food, follow these tips and you’ll never have to worry again.
Fruits & Veggies
- You want to store like items together. Apples with apples. Peppers with peppers. You may not have known this but each fruit and veggie produces its own gas and one may have a negative effect on an unlike item and cause it to ruin quicker.
- Do not wash your produce first. Only wash what you pull out on a need basis. Water left on produce can cause it to mold and rot at a much quicker pace (this makes me want to head home and dry those grapes I just put in my fridge after washing them).
- If you have and vegetable or fruit that can dry out, store them in a perforated bag or be mindful not to seal the bag as to allow air and moisture to circulate through the packaging.
Meat, Poultry & Fish
- Always keep any meat purchased in its store bought packaging. Transferring the meats to any new packaging could cause harmful bacteria to enter the food during the transfer process.
- If you purchase fresh red meat, ground beef or chicken, use within 1 to 2 days. Freeze what you will not be using immediately.If there was not one of those Styrofoam built in pads, place a plate underneath to catch any drippings.
- Fresh pork should be used within 3 to 5 days.
- Fresh fish should be used within 1 to 2 days. You should keep it in the coldest part of the fridge.
- Lunch meat should last 3 to 5 days. Do not buy more than you can use in that time frame (this is in my top three worst food purchasing habits).
- An open pack of hot dogs will last about a week.
- Leftovers need to be stored in airtight containers. Leak proof as well.
- Leftovers should be stored in shallow containers. This allows them to cool faster which prohibits the formation of bacteria.
- Leftovers should be eaten within 1 to 2 days or frozen after cooling in the fridge for up to six months depending upon what type of leftover it is.
Dairy & Eggs
- If you purchased dairy in a container, leave it in that container. These are things like sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, etc. If you do take a little bit out, do not put what is left back into the container. Store it separately and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
- With hard cheeses like cheddar or any block cheese, wrap them loosely in plastic wrap or even better, wax paper, after you open the original packaging. Not too loose however in order to avoid the hardening and drying out of the cheese. These will be good for about 5 to 8 days after opening.
- Milk should be used by the expiration date and if you transfer it out of the container, do not pour any remainder back into the original container. Another tip for milk is to purchase the plastic containers or cardboard with a plastic spout.
- Note to self. Don’t use the egg storage on the door. Keep them on the top shelf in the carton. They will last you up to five weeks.
- “When in doubt, throw it out.”
- Always check sell by dates.
- Put what will expire first towards the front of the fridge to make sure it’s eaten before the expiration date and it’s not forgotten about.
- Keep you fridge set on 40 degrees or below. Otherwise bacteria can grow.
- Plan your meals so there is not a chance of wasted items. This way you buy only what you will need.
- You can check more specific items here.
- Make sure you move any leftovers to the fridge within two hours of cooking.
Happy eating and saving!!