Food waste is a huge problem in North America, but as time goes on we are discovering more and more ways to reduce our waste and make more educated changes in our lives to conserve our planet. One of the ways we can do this is by properly storing our food so that we can make it last. So much food gets thrown out because it has simply gone bad in our fridge or on our counter. Check out this list of quick fixes that will ensure you are getting your money’s worth with your groceries.

1. Ground Flaxseeds

Ground flaxseeds are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids that are the good type of fat your body does not naturally produce, but definitely still needs.

Some people may store ground flaxseed in their cupboard because it looks like flour, however, it actually belongs in your freezer. This is the best way to maintain all the nutrients inside the flaxseed, but it only lasts for about a month so make sure you use it up quickly.

2. Onions

How many of us toss our onions in the veggie drawer in our fridge when we are unpacking groceries? I know I did until I learned where they actually belong.

Onions are meant to be stored in a cool, ventilated space. Don’t wrap them in plastic bags or anything, they’ll do just fine all on their own. Do you want to reduce the tears while cutting them? Pop your onion in the fridge for half an hour before you chop and you will cry a little less. Another way to reduce tears is to bite into a bun or piece of bread while chopping. It is miraculously effective!

3. Tomatoes

Who likes frosty tomatoes? Not us! While it may seem logical to pop your tomatoes in the fridge to let them stay ripe for longer, it actually is not the greatest choice.

If you don’t already have a fruit basket on your counter, pick one up from the store and add your tomatoes to it. After all, tomatoes are technically a fruit!

4. Garlic

If you aren’t already cooking with garlic, you need to take the plunge! Garlic is a game changer when it comes to flavor and quality of a meal. Your friends and family will thank you!

Similarly to onions, garlic is not meant to be stored in the fridge, but in a cool, dark place with some ventilation. The best thing to do is to have a ceramic jar with holes in it to store your garlic in.

5. Watermelon

Watermelons are a summer staple and a great fruit to help you stay hydrated on those hot days when water is simply just too boring.

Store your watermelon outside of the fridge on your countertop and allow it to ripen. This increases the nutritional value of watermelon while also increasing that juicy flavor. When you are getting ready to eat the melon, store it in the fridge one day prior to eating to get the best result.

6. Avocado

Do you know what else is considered a fruit other than a tomato? An avocado! Which is why you may be able to predict where this is going…

Come on, we all know by now that avocados do not belong in the fridge! Add them to that lovely fruit basket you bought for your tomatoes and you will see you avocados ripen to that yellow-green shade of perfection.

7. Coffee Beans

If you have coffee beans in your home, chances are you aren’t just a casual coffee drinker. You know the difference between a cup of Joe and a quality cup of coffee.

Why buy coffee beans if your storing methods are wrecking the quality of the beans? The best way to store your beans is to keep them in the pantry in an air-tight container. If you won’t consume them too quickly, store them in an airtight bag in the freezer. Be sure to avoid warm space or the fridge for your coffee beans.

8. Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour seems like an easy food to store because it’s supposed to go with all your other baking ingredients right? Wrong!

Whole wheat flour should actually be stored in the freezer to extend its lifetime. If you are going to use your whole wheat flour quickly, keeping it in pantry for one to three months is perfectly fine.

9. Oils

It only makes sense to store our oil by our stove so that we can reach for it while we are cooking. The problem is that by doing this, you could be speeding up the aging process of the oil, thus making it go bad a lot faster.

Keep your oils in dark, glass bottles in your pantry with little to no light exposure. This will extend that oil’s lifetime and will keep it fresh for longer!

10. Asparagus

A lot of veggies can be cut up and stored in the fridge with a little bit of water to keep them fresh. It makes for easy, healthy snacking and meal prep.

When storing asparagus, keep them out of that water and in a plastic bag. Wrap the ends of the asparagus in some damp paper towel to maintain freshness.

11. Lettuce

Lettuce can wilt fairly quickly, making it difficult to enjoy a crisp salad when grocery day isn’t for another couple days. A few quick fixes to the way you store your greens will make a world of a difference.

Make sure that when you store your lettuce, it’s in the crisper in your fridge. Wrap the lettuce in some dry paper towel, or if you purchase your greens in a plastic container, add the paper towel to the top of the package. This absorbs all that moisture that makes your lettuce get old really quick.

12. Peanut Butter

When it comes to how you store peanut butter, it really depends on how quickly you consume it. For some families, peanut butter is a staple, while for other families it takes a while to get through a jar.

If your family basically lives for peanut butter and eats it very quickly, store it in your pantry for about a month. If it will take you longer to finish that jar of nutty butter, keep it in the fridge where it can stay fresh for a longer period of time.



13. Bread

Bread is always best when it is at room temperature – unless it’s warm because it just came out of the oven! Delicious. If you eat a loaf of bread a week or more, store your bread in the pantry.

What if you don’t consume bread very quickly? The best thing to do in this case is to keep it in the freezer and thaw out however many slices you need at a time so that you aren’t throwing out moldy bread.

14. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is usually replacing that gross artificial syrup that we usually keep in our pantry. The problem is, a lot of people think that they are one in the same when it comes to storage.

Maple syrup can be stored in the pantry before it is opened, but after it is opened it needs to be stored in the fridge. This is unlike the artificial syrups which can usually be stored in the pantry at all times.

15. Eggs

How many fridges have you seen that have a spot for you to store your eggs on the door? It may seem like the best way to keep eggs fresh, but that is simply not the case.

Keeping your eggs on the fridge door actually makes their temperature fluctuate every time you open and close the door. The best way to store eggs is in their carton on one of the shelves directly in your fridge. This will help them maintain a consistent temperature and stay safe and fresh for you and your family.

16. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is one of those condiments you don’t need to worry too much about because they aren’t the greatest hosts for bacteria and growth. With this being said, it is good to be aware of the best practices when it comes to food storage.

Hot sauce can be stored in the pantry if it is going to be used up fairly quickly. But for those of us who just like a drop or two every once in a while, the best bet is to store it in the fridge!

17. Grapes

Grapes are an amazing fruit to have in your fridge. They are packed with water and taste amazing without being super high in sugar. They also make a great addition to a charcuterie board along with some meat, cheese, and crackers.

Grapes are stored very similarly to lettuce which is a little surprising! Make sure you remove any grapes that are bruised or rotting and then wrap the bunch in dry paper towel. Store in the bag they came in in your fridge, and you can be sure that your grapes will be fresh and delicious!

18. Carrots

Did you know that if you remove the green stems from carrots they can actually last longer? This isn’t the only unique thing about storing carrots!

If you have carrots stored beside fruit, they will actually go bad a lot faster. Therefore, store carrots in the fridge with other veggies.

19. Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be a little bit confusing when it comes to storage. Do they sit outside the fridge or do they go in? What should they be stored in?

The best way to keep mushrooms fresh is to make sure they are dry and stored in a paper bag. The paper bag actually ensures that the mushrooms don’t get dehydrated. It’s the perfect balance between dry and dried out.

20. Apples

Apples are a staple in most homes for school and work lunches. They also are resilient in just about any kitchen and can last quite a while.

Keep your apples crisp by storing them in the bag they came in in your fridge. If you have altered their form (sliced, pureed etc.) they should be stored in the freezer to stay fresh.

Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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