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Storage dos and don'ts

Storing food the right way can help it last longer. Storing food in the wrong way can make it go off faster, wasting money and precious food!

Knowing how and where to store your food will help you get the most out of it.

Follow these handy tips to make sure you're not wasting your groceries!

Bench top or pantry

  • Onions should be stored in a cool dark place in open trays. Don't store onions and potatoes together, as the gases they each give off will cause the other to spoil
  • Keep bread out of the refrigerator – it will become stale more quickly at lower temperatures
  • Don’t store unripe avocados in the fridge as it will prevent them from ripening
  • Do not refrigerate potatoes or store for longer than necessary as they will turn green and go soft.
  • Storing bananas with unripe avocados or kiwi fruit will speed up the ripening process for the unripe avocados and kiwi fruit. Remember to separate them once your avocado or kiwi is ripe.

Refrigerator

Fruit and vegetables

  • Do not store lettuce with melons, apples, pears, or other such (ethylene gas-emitting) fruits as they will cause the lettuce to turn brown.    
  • To store fresh herbs, trim the stems, place them in a jar with about one to two centimetres of water in the bottom. Refrigerate herbs in a plastic bag.
  • Mushrooms are best stored in a brown paper bag in your fridge crisper. Plastic makes mushrooms ‘sweat’.
  • Chives, spring onions and leeks should be stored in an airtight bag in your fridge crisper.
  • When your avocado has been cut open, leave the seed in and brush the surface with water or lemon juice and cover tightly with cling film. The lemon juice will help to prevent the flesh from going black.

Dairy

  • It is best to store soft cheeses in waxed cheese paper or baking paper. Plastic wrap will make the cheese ‘sweat’.
  • Blue cheese can be wrapped in foil but remember to change the foil every few days because the acidity of the cheese will react with the foil.
  • Hard cheeses including cheddar or parmesan can be stored in plastic wrap or airtight containers.

Fresh meat

  • Keep raw meat in a sealed container or wrapped to avoid contamination with other food types such as salads or vegetables. Wrapped fresh meat can be kept safely for up to three days in refrigerated temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius or less.

Deli items

  • Deli meats such as ham and salami need to be kept in the fridge. Ask your delicatessen for specific advice on storage and shelf life of your deli items. Check the use-by date on pre-packaged delicatessen meats and choose items with the longest use by dates.

 

Love your food

Each year Victorian households throw out 31,500 tonnes of fresh vegetables.