Smart storage can keep your food fresher for longer and give you greater flexibility when it comes to cooking and eating it. Instead of just chucking food into the pantry when you get back from the supermarket, take the time to put it in the right place.
The golden rules of storage
- Bread is the most wasted food in New Zealand, with Kiwis throwing out 20 million loaves a year! Our humid climate means that bread doesn’t last in the pantry. Bread can be stored in the fridge, but the ideal place for it is in the freezer. Beware: Once you see the first sign of mould on a slice of bread you will need to throw out the entire loaf. Mould on bread is dangerous and even if it is only visible on one slice, it is likely the spores will have already spread throughout the whole loaf.
- Meat should always be kept cold. To ensure your meat doesn’t go off put it straight into the freezer when you get home from shopping. Defrost in the fridge and use within 24 hours.
- Cheese should be wrapped tightly in plastic in the fridge to prevent it from growing mould or drying out. Wrap a supermarket shopping bag around your block of cheese – you’ll be amazed at how much longer it lasts.
- It may be convenient, but potatoes and onions shouldn’t be kept in the same place as they produce gases which spoil each other. Both should be stored separately in cool, dry, dark places.
- The fridge and freezer are the best place to store most food – learn more about them here.
- Fruit should be stored in the fridge with the exceptions of bananas and pineapples. Bananas should be stored out of the fridge and away from other fruit. Ethylene gas released by foods such as apples and pears cause bananas to ripen faster. Once bananas are ripe they produce ethylene gas which ripens other fruit.
- Rotate your items when unpacking your groceries – move the old stuff to the front and put the newer products behind.
Handy hint: Food can be kept fresher for longer by keeping them in their original packaging, in the fridge. Most modern packaging has been specially designed to preserve fresh food and keep it at its best, so don’t open items until you need to.