By David Luu
The sight of a full refrigerator can be one of the most satisfying things for any college student. But busy as we are, certain foods are bound to spoil if left forgotten. Here are some helpful tips on increasing the shelf life of certain foods to prevent food waste.
- Location, location, location!
Certain areas in refrigerators help ensure the food maintains freshness.
- Leftovers and ready-to-eat foods should be placed on the top shelves. The upper shelves have the most consistent temperature.
- Place vegetables in the bottom drawers. These are drawers that maintain moisture in fruits and vegetables to prevent them from drying out.
- Store meat and poultry on the lower shelf in the back of the refrigerator. It can be much colder in the back of the fridge than in the front.
- Less perishable items should be placed by the door, such as juices. The door is the warmest part of the fridge due to the exposure of room-temperature air.
- Do not overstuff your refrigerator
Fridges need to be kept at or below 40°F. In order for the cool air to circulate, it is important to leave some room between the foods.
- Try lowering refrigerator temperature to between 34°F and 38°F.
The colder temperature can help slow down the speed at which microorganisms grow.
- Blanch and freeze uncooked leftover vegetables
Blanching involves briefly placing vegetables into boiling water, and immediately shocking them in an ice bath. This process stops vegetable from spoiling.
- Keep apples away from other fruits!
Apples produce a gas called ethylene that will cause other fruits nearby ripen more quickly. Try placing them in plastic bags to avoid gas exposure and loss of moisture.
- It’s a wrap!
Tightly wrapping fruits, especially acidic ones, helps keep out oxygen, a major contributor to mold growth. Fruits that are high in moisture, such as berries, peaches, and cucumbers, should be loosely wrapped to avoid mold growth.
Avoid food waste and spoilage and take these tips to keep your fridge happy and more money in your wallet!