Open your fridge, and take a peek inside. You will probably find equal parts fresh food you'll eat within 24 hours, fresh food you bought because it's healthy but you'll never eat, condiments you've had for years, and take-out containers taking up prime real estate in front. From the looks of things, it seems like you may be guilty of a few common food storage mistakes that are keeping you from making the most of your weekly grocery haul. And it doesn't even happen exclusively with the refrigerated items. Your cabinet or pantry is also probably full of stuff you don't even need.
All it takes to combat this bad habit is a little knowledge, and a lot of rearranging. It's important to remember that the way food is stored in the grocery store isn't necessarily the way you should be storing it at home. And think about how much food you can save by adjusting your storage routine — considering that roughly one third of all food produced in the world gets lost or wasted, that's reason enough to change your eating, shopping, and storing habits, and make sure you're not part of the problem. Here are all the food storage mistakes you're probably making, and how to fix them.
1. Keeping The Original Packaging
Original packaging takes up a lot of space. Just think about your cereal, pasta, or snack food. You know before even opening the box that it's not filled to the top, so why waste that extra space? Also, moving food into a clear container makes you more likely to eat it if you can see it.
2. Using Containers Instead Of Bags
While it's nice to have a square-shaped plastic container to hold the leftovers of last night's dinner, you can also use a plastic bag for all solid food. It saves room and seals in freshness, just like a plastic container would.
3. Saving Ancient Condiments
Condiments are easy to forget about. You buy them, use only a little at a time, and they sit on the inside door of the fridge until you can visibly see mold collecting inside. If you know you're done dipping your pizza in ranch dressing, then just toss the ranch. It'll be sad, sure, but it'll remove that temptation, and it's another expiration date you won't need to check.
4. Storing Foods You Know You Won't Eat
Remember that weird spicy mixed rice that you bought five months ago that is currently collecting dust in your pantry? It's probably time to throw it away. If you haven't been in the mood to eat it for this long, you probably never will be.
5. Assuming The Freezer Eliminates Expiration Dates
A freezer doesn't stop time — it just slows it down. So frozen veggies or meat or ice cream with a pile of crystalized ice on top might still technically be edible, but it won't taste good, and the expiration date has probably passed. Toss it.
6. Forgetting The Importance Of Stacking
Once food starts ending up pushed behind other items, it's as good as rotten. You will forget that it exists, because the stuff you really want is right in front. Stack when you can, so you can always see everything.
7. Tossing Fruit And Produce Too Early
Nobody likes to eat brown avocados or mushy bananas, but that doesn't mean they can't be used for something else. Ripe bananas can be used for banana bread, and slightly browned avocados can be used for a DIY face mask. Think outside the plastic container box, people. You won't regret it.