How To Organise Your Fridge To Extend Shelf Life And Reduce Waste
For too long, we've been guilty of treating our food like forgettable castaways, allowing it to go to waste. Whether it's the vegetables your little one refuses to touch or the salad that got sidelined when you opted for takeout instead, we're all part of this food-wasting frenzy.
Believe it or not, New Zealanders alone spend a whopping $872 million each year on food that ends up uneaten and thrown away. That breaks down to a staggering $1520 wasted per household annually. Food waste sneaks its way into every stage of the supply chain, from production to processing, transportation, retail, and, of course, our very own households.
Let's dive into the two important definitions of food waste:
Food Waste: This includes any edible food that is discarded or left uneaten at any point in the food supply chain. It encompasses everything from food that spoils before reaching consumers to food that gets tossed by individuals or establishments.
Food Loss: This refers to the reduction in quantity or quality of food during production, post-harvest, and processing stages. It often occurs due to factors like insufficient infrastructure, mishandling, poor storage conditions, transportation mishaps, and market dynamics. Food loss typically happens before the food even reaches the consumer.
But here's the kicker: when we dump food into landfills, it decomposes and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. And that's not all. We're also wasting precious resources like water and energy during the production and distribution of food that ultimately ends up as waste. Food waste is a major player in greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating environmental problems such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and water scarcity.
Given all these factors, it's no exaggeration to say that reducing food waste is one of the most impactful actions we can take to combat climate change. That's why we've compiled an A to Z storage guide for fruits and veggies, aimed at helping you cut down on waste at home. Properly storing your produce not only saves you money and keeps your fruits and vegetables fresh, but it also makes a dent in household food waste.
So let's roll up our sleeves, embrace smarter food storage practices, and embark on a mission to fight food waste together. Your wallet, the planet, and future generations will thank you for it!
A-Z OF PRODUCE STORAGE
Brussels sprouts: Store in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Cabbage: Store in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Capsicum: Store in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Carrots: Store whole carrots in a container with a damp cloth in the fridge. If you are storing cut carrots, you can store them in a jar or lunch box and cover them with water to prevent them from drying out.
Cauliflower: Store in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Celery: Store wrapped in a cloth loosely in the fridge. Cut celery can be stored in water.
Corn: Store loose in the fridge.
Cucumber: Store in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Eggplant: Store loosely in the crisper drawer.
Garlic: Garlic should be stored in an open container in a cool, dark place. Storing garlic in the fridge causes it to rot.
Green beans: Store in the fridge in a sealed container.
Kiwi: Ripe kiwi should be stored in the fridge; unripe kiwi can be stored on the counter.
Kumara: Kumara should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area. Ideally, they should be kept in a pantry or a cupboard away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture.
Leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale, and bok choy should be stored in an airtight container with a clean damp cloth placed on top. Store them in the fridge.
Leeks: Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
Lemons: Store in the crisper drawer.
Limes: Store in the crisper drawer.
Melon: Ripe melons should be stored loose on the countertop. Ripe melons can be stored loose in the fridge.
Onions: Onions should be stored loosely in a dark, cool, dry place, but away from potatoes.
Oranges: Store in the crisper drawer.
Parsnips: Store in a sealed container with a damp cloth in the fridge.
Peaches: Unripe peaches should be stored on the countertop. Ripe peaches can be stored loose in the fridge.
Pears: Unripe pears should be stored on the countertop. Ripe pears can be stored loose in the fridge.
Persimmon: Store on the countertop.
Plums: Unripe plums should be stored on the countertop. Ripe plums can be stored loose in the fridge.
Pomegranate: Store loose in the fridge.
Potatoes: Potatoes should be stored loosely in a cool, dark area, e.g., the bottom of the pantry. This will prolong their shelf life. Never store potatoes with onions.
Pumpkin: Store pumpkin in a cool, dark, dry place, e.g., the cupboard. It's best to store the pumpkin with the stalk side down. If storing a cut pumpkin, ensure to cover it with beeswax wrap and place it in the fridge.
Radishes: Store in a container lined with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place them in the vegetable crisper drawer of the fridge.
Spring onions: Wrap them in a damp towel in
Zucchini: Store in the fridge. Place unwashed zucchini in a perforated plastic bag or a loosely wrapped damp cloth to maintain moisture. Keep them in the vegetable crisper drawer, which helps maintain a cool and humid environment.