Storing Food Correctly: 7 Tricks for Vegetables, Fruits and Leftovers

storing food
Photo: Pixabay/ CC0

Storing food correctly not only stretches your monthly grocery budget – it also improves the taste and decreases waste. The following tips will show you, how to store vegetables, fruit and leftovers and avoid common mistakes.

The average American household wastes hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year by throwing out rotten food. In fact, the US department of agriculture estimates that 30 to 40 percent of the food supply is subject to food waste. We consumers contribute to this trend. We buy too much; we mindlessly adhere to the often meaningless “Best By” dates; we store our food incorrectly, allowing it to spoil more quickly. We’ll show you how to store fruit and vegetables in ways that preserve flavor and nutritional value and help reduce food waste.

Storing Food at Room Temp Is Best

Storing food tomatoes
Don’t store food like tomatoes in the fridge. (Photo: © Utopia / Binford)

Tomatoes lose their flavor in the refrigerator and can even spoil more quickly than other foods stored there. It’s better to keep them in a cool room, like a basement or pantry, at an optimal 60˚F.
If you do not have a pantry, it’s still better to keep your tomatoes at room temperature. The same goes for other vegetable varieties with high water content, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchinis, and eggplants.

Important tip when storing food: Never place apples and bananas in the same bowl. (Foto: © labalajadia -

How to Store Fruit: Keep Bananas and Apples Apart

Storing certain types of food in a mixed fruit bowl is not a good idea. For example, (ripe) bananas and apples should never be placed together. Both fruits give off ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening process. In this case, the effect is amplified and your fruit is more likely to go bad before you can eat them.
Ripe bananas should always be kept separate from other fruits and vegetables – and hanging whenever possible to prevent bruising the fruit. Don’t place them in the refrigerator; there they’ll quickly turn brown.

storing food box of plastic
Neither food nor plastic need to go to waste if stored properly. (Foto: © zoeytoja -

Avoid Plastic Waste When Storing Leftover Food

When it’s time to wrap up leftovers or prepare meals for tomorrow, many people pull out the box of plastic wrap. This is a completely unnecessary waste of plastic! It’s just as easy to put leftovers into the reusable plastic or glass containers we all have lying around. Properly storing food means no waste – neither food nor plastic.

Another added benefit: It’s easier to take leftovers packed this way to work the next day for lunch. You waste less and save money – it’s a real win-win.

How to Store Citrus Fruits: They Hate the Cold

citrus fruits
Storing food like lemons in the fridge will make them spoil faster. (Foto: ©

Lemons, oranges, or mandarins cannot stand the cold, so never store citrus fruits in your refrigerator. They will keep fresh in the open at (lower) room temperature. Even sliced lemons will last a good week without spoiling at room temperature. Place the lemon on a small dish cut side down to prevent spoilage.

Store mushrooms in paper bags or wrapped in a dish towel in the fridge. (Foto: ©

Storing Food: Mushrooms Need Air

Supermarket mushrooms are always packed into plastic containers. Once home, however, they’re much happier stored in paper bags or wrapped in a dish towel in your refrigerator. Mushrooms need to breathe, and their plastic packaging traps moisture, causing them to spoil sooner.

It’s also important to store foods like mushrooms away from any stinky foods, because they easily absorb nearby odors.

When it comes to mushrooms, it’s best not to overbuy and to use what you’ve purchased as quickly as possible due their short shelf life.

Strong food
Food storage tip: Reuse those empty glas jars from spreads to store leftover canned foods like chickpeas. (Foto: © HandmadePictures -

Empty Cans Completely

Once you’ve opened a can of something, it’s best to empty the food out of it completely. It’s possible to contaminate your food with aluminum from the can itself. And while most cans today are plastic-lined, many of those linings contain the often-criticized BPA.

Play it safe by emptying the contents of any open can into another container. Storing food in an empty, clean jar can make it last longer.

Storing Food
Don’t Toss Those Greens (Foto: © airborne77 -

Combat Food Waste: Don’t Toss Those Greens!

We admit it: This tip isn’t exactly on topic. That said, reusing vegetables does prevent food waste all the same. The greens from radishes, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, and other vegetables are all edible and delicious. You can add them to soups or make your own vegetable broth, grind them into pesto, or use them to create fillings for ravioli or lasagna.

Improper food storing practices in your kitchen are an often overlooked contributor to food waste. The last of last week’s grocery run get pushed out of sight to the back of the fridge, only to be discovered a week later well past their genuine best-by date. On the upside, waste of this sort it is also a problem we can all do our part to fix – with just a few tweaks to our daily habits and improvements to our kitchen organization and consumer mindset. Store food at home like a pro instead of running back to the store for food.

Read more: Storing Food Correctly: 7 Tricks for Vegetables, Fruits and Leftovers

This text was translated from German into English. View the original: 9 Lebensmittel, die du immer falsch gelagert hast

** Links to retailers are partially affiliate links: If you buy here, you actively support because we get a small portion of the proceeds.

Do you like this post?

Thank you very much for voting!