The Loving Cedar, LLC

Simplifying Life Series

simplify life

The focus of this series is to give simple tips and tricks to help ease the hectic life. Simple living creates positive changes in places you can’t even imagine. Those small changes can make a significant impact. Is your baby between the ages of 1 minute to 100,000 minutes, and do you want to create a loving, positive atmosphere for them? Then you are in the right place! 

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Simplifying Life with Food Storage

I know you are thinking, how can I simplify my life with food storage? Bear with me; I have found this to be very helpful!

The simplifying life series of simple tips and tricks is meant to help us avoid getting overwhelmed and make life a bit easier, right?

Proper food storage helps save me money and prevents food waste. This eases my mind and helps me avoid being overwhelmed because I can stop throwing food away. After all, it doesn’t go bad so quickly. Especially nowadays! Have you noticed that food prices have gone way up? Trust me, if your children are younger, start in the habit now because once they become teenagers, they will eat everything in sight, and your food budget will go WAY up! So, let’s simply avoid wasting money and food with proper food storage. 

Table of Contents

What is proper food storage?

Do you find there is a simple joy in opening up the fridge and grabbing crispy leafy greens instead of wilted slimy leaves? I sure do! Proper food storage hacks help keep produce lasting longer and minimize that daily struggle of food waste.  

  • The first storage rule is to keep fruits and veggies separate. I’ll explain why in a minute. 
  • The second is having suitable food-grade containers. To keep it simple, glass is a safe way to go, but if you are looking for a suitable plastic or another type, find a non-toxic and BPA-free container. Silicone is excellent if you are like me and trying to avoid plastic! Check out more options further in this article! 
  • Let your fridge have breathing room. Too many items in your fridge can cause it to work overtime, ruin foods, and let’s not even get started on what it can do to the electricity bill. Depending on your space in the fridge, some fruits and veggies can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. So take advantage of storing room temp. You can always grab a cute basket to keep a colorful display of citrus fruits on your counter. Or a basket full of apples. 
  • A rule of thumb for fridge temperatures is to set your fridge slightly lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit /5 degrees Celsius. 
  • Most fruits and veggies should be washed right before eating them. Storing wet food can create an unwanted bacteria party!
Proper Food Storage

How to help avoid the struggle of food waste.

We are all guilty of it. We get home from grocery shopping and just toss everything in the fridge. As part of your daily planning and meal prep, schedule your grocery shopping on the day you do all your meal prep work. This can help eliminate improper storage. Taking the time to prep meals is essential and worth it. Meal prepping is doable; add it to your daily plan, and you are ready! Creating a quick and easy process encourages you not to give up!

Only buy what you need when it comes to produce; keep it fresh. Avoid buying fruits and veggies in bulk. When at the grocery store, avoid practically ripe fruit unless you eat it that day or the next. Leafy greens should be rich in color and not limp or wilted. 

Side note: Pineapple no longer ripens once picked, so use it soon after purchasing. You can make it softer by storing it upside down, but not make it sweeter. A good pineapple, the bottom should smell sweet. 

Keep food in its individual containers and make it easy for your family to grab and go. In my meal prep article, I mentioned that if I have fruits and veggies prepped and prepared ahead of time, my kids tend to grab those as snacks first! 

Remember, life gets busy, and keeping it simple will help you from being overwhelmed.

 

Let’s keep those fruits and vegetables stored separately!

What is the big deal about storing fruits away from other produce? Fruits give off ethylene gas, and some more than others. So, to avoid always having to remember which ones are worse than others, keep things separate. Overthinking can get us overwhelmed as well. Don’t worry; I will give you a chart and tell you about the main fruits that should stand alone but keep fruits and veggies separate to avoid being too complicated.
Regarding food storage and meal prep, you want to get it done correctly and quickly so you can move on with the rest of your day. So, keeping it as simple as possible is vital! You don’t want to sit there and think, “Can I keep my apples and lettuce together?”

What is ethylene gas?

Ethylene gas is the primary plant hormone that contributes to plant growth and the ripening of fruit and veggies. Since some fruits give off this gas more than others, storing it separately is essential. Some produce is sensitive to this hormone, which will cause it to ripen too quickly. 

Who is sensitive to ethylene gas? 

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Green Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Watermelon

Who gives off the most ethylene gas?

  • Bananas: the highest on the list!
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes

So what should be stored in the fridge then?

I have created a simple cheat sheet for you, but the bottom line is when storing in the fridge, yes, it does slow the ripening process down, but it can also alter the taste of some fruit. So, storing your fruit at room temperature and eating it soon after is best. If you can’t eat it once it is ripe, stick it in the fridge, which will last a few more days. Most fruits and veggies need air; this is the beauty of crisper drawers; they also help control humidity. Unless an item is cut, use ventilated containers. Airtight containers or ziplock bags will trap ethylene gases and cause things to ripen faster. 

Some items, such as berries, veggies, and herbs, must be chilled. 

Ok! Let’s get down to storing foods in the fridge! 

To wash or not to wash, that is the question. You should avoid washing your fruits and veggies ahead of time unless you cut them up, dry them, and put them in an airtight container. Food won’t last as long once cut, so make sure to use it soon after. Also, if you cut something and only use part of it, place the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Some produce is picky and sensitive, so here are a few hacks on these high-maintenance ones!

  • Leafy greens: Let’s wash those immediately, dry them thoroughly, and store them in an airtight container with a paper towel. You can also keep it in a ziplock bag with a paper towel. Pro Tip: Limp or wilting? Give them an ice bath for 30 minutes!
  • Berries: Berries are very high maintenance. If there is a bad berry in the mix, it influences the rest of them to go bad. So make sure to separate them and pick out the bad ones. You can store them in a ventilated container, but do not overstuff it; berries need their space. The same goes for grapes also!
  • Celery: Rinse, dry, wrap in aluminum foil, and place in crisper. 
  • Herbs, green onions, and asparagus: Store in a tall glass jar with water in the fridge. Replace the water every few days to keep it fresh. Cut the ends of the asparagus before storing it as well. 
  • Carrots: they can be stored in an airtight jar with water!

High Humidity or Low Humidity?

Your fridge typically has two drawers at the bottom, called the crisper drawers. You can control the humidity with the adjustable levers on the drawers. This controls the air coming in. Designate one drawer for high humidity and one for low. The high humidity drawer is for veggies that need less air coming in and are sensitive to the ethylene gas. This one, for example, is where you place your zucchini, carrots, celery, peppers, etc. The low humidity drawer is for fruits that give off ethylene gas. Don’t have enough room in the drawers? Ventilated food containers work great also!

Fridge organization is critical!

Keep your fridge organized and clean to prevent food from spoiling quickly. Containers are great for this; properly storing food in separate containers helps to prevent food from going bad quickly and keeps your fridge clean. Also, place paper towels at the bottom of your drawers.

 

Ready for Room Temp Storage and Hacks?

Remember, even when stored on the counter, fruit still gives off ethylene gas. So don’t throw everything in a fruit basket and cause an upset! Bananas especially! They need to stay by themselves. They also do their best when hung up. 

Avocados, onions, garlic, potatoes, and tomatoes are the main foods that need to be stored at room temperature. Cucumbers are another veggie that you wouldn’t think of. They are temperature-sensitive and don’t like the cold. Check out the cheat sheet for more items that need to stay at room temperature.

Pro tip: Onions and potatoes should not be stored together; they don’t get along.

How Long do Fruits and Vegetables Last?

This all depends on the environment, how fresh the produce is when you buy it, and if stored properly. Living in Washington State, and knowing that, for example, the pineapple I am picking out during December is NOT from here. And how long did it take to get to the store? Unfortunately, we don’t know how old our produce is when we buy it. We can see that it will last longer if we properly store it. Fresh is best, and eating it as soon as possible gives us that yummy flavor. This simple produce shelf life guide is an average give or take of how long most fruits or veggies will last.

how long foods last

Simplified Anatomy of the Fridge

Simple Fridge Organization

Remember, just keep it simple! Proper food storage and organization don’t need to cost a fortune or require a colossal gourmet refrigerator. Anyone looking into saving money, preventing food waste, and simplifying their life can do it!

Shop My Favorite Food Storage Products Here!

After much research and trial and error, I have finally found what I love to use best for food storage and kitchen organization. So far, Amazon has shown me they have some of the best prices. 

Interested in shopping for my favorite items? Simply click on the photos below!

Want to get REALLY organized?

The Neat Method has you covered! Shop their gorgeous accessories to organize any style or size of home!

Share the fun!

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Hello!

I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.

doula

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