You may not think twice about where you put your food when you unpack your groceries, but there are small habits that we all do, such as putting bananas in our fruit bowl, which could be causing our food to go off faster than it should be.

These are Love Food Hate Waste’s golden rules of food storage to make your food last as long as possible:

Store your bread in the freezer

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. Frozen bread can go straight into the toaster for breakfast, and if you use it for sandwiches it would have defrosted by lunchtime.

Freeze your meat before its use by date

Unless you are going to eat your meat within two days of buying it, you should always put it in the freezer. Not only will this ensure that it stays fresh, it also means that it will be safe to eat after the use by date has passed.

Bananas don’t belong in fruit bowls

Bananas 600

The fruit bowl is the worst place for a banana to be. Ethylene gas, released by foods such as apples and pears, causes bananas to ripen faster. Once bananas are ripe they produce ethylene gas, which ripens other fruit. It’s best to keep your bananas out-of-the-fridge and away from other fruits.

Keep cheese tightly wrapped

Cheese bag

The best way to store a large block of cheese, so it doesn’t grow mould or dry out, is to wrap the block tightly in its original packaging and place it in a cloth cheese bag in the fridge. If you don’t have a cheese bag, then wrap the original packaging around the block as tightly as possible, then wrap it in cling wrap or a plastic bag.

Keep potatoes and onions separate

It may be convenient to store them in the same place as they both need to be in cool, dry, dark places, but potatoes and onions should be kept away from each other. When they’re kept together they release moisture which makes them both sprout faster. Unwashed potatoes can last to up to three times longer than washed potatoes.

Store vegetables the right way

For many vegetables, storing them uncovered in the fridge means they will go off faster. We conducted research with the University of Otago to work out the best way to store your vegetables to keep them fresher for longer. Here are the results:

Vegetable storage page 1

Vegetable storage page 2

Click here for our A-Z storage guide