Tips to Make Food Last Longer

Nobody wants to open the fridge door to moldy groceries, and yet, it happens more often than we’d like. One study found that the average American household wasted around a third of food purchased — contributing to a loss of resources, unnecessary waste in landfills, and toxic methane emissions.

To prevent food from going to waste, you could always start by buying only what you need. Then, follow these tips to make your groceries last longer:

  • Make sure you properly store your food — here are some reusable storage options:
  • Glass containers Glass containers do not contain or release harmful chemicals like some plastic ones do. For freezing leftovers and other food, make sure to get a container with a tight seal that is also freezer-safe!
  • Silicone sandwich bags It’s time to move on from single-use plastic bags. Invest in a reusable silicone bag, like a Stasher bag, that you can use over and over again to not only take your food to-go, but also to store in the fridge and freezer!
  • Educate yourself on which foods fare better in the fridge vs. at room temperature.

Not every fruit and vegetable should be refrigerated. Did you know, for example, that tomatoes, onions, and potatoes fare better when stored at room temperature? Here is a handy chart with more information on proper food storage. 

Produce at room temperature should have adequate air circulation; it will spoil faster if kept in plastic packaging (even if perforated). On the contrary, most refrigerated produce should stay sealed to retain moisture and keep fresh longer.

  • Be mindful of produce that releases ethylene gas.

Some produce — such as apples and bananas — naturally releases ethylene gas, which causes it to ripen faster and affects other produce so that it also goes bad faster. Such produce should be kept away from other produce that is sensitive to ethylene, such as leafy greens, avocados, and onions. Here’s a handy chart with more information on storing produce based on ethylene.

  • Wash produce as you go.

Wash produce right before you use it to reduce bacterial growth and spoilage caused by dampness. Berries can be washed in advance in a vinegar-water solution to help keep away mold — just don’t forget to dry them well! 

  • Lastly, get friendly with your freezer.

Got leftover diced onions or sliced fruit? A stick of butter, bread, or meat that is approaching its expiration date? Freeze food you know you won’t be able to eat in time — even fresh herbs can be frozen too!