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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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 are to help keep us from 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 from being overwhelmed because I can prevent throwing food away because it doesn’t go bad so quickly. Especially nowadays! Have you noticed that food prices have gone way up? Trust me on this, 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.
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.
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 meal prep is essential and worth it in the end. Meal prepping is doable, add it to your daily plan, and you are good to go! 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 fruit that is practically ripe already unless you eat it that day or the next. Leafy greens should be rich in color and not limp or wilted.
Side note: Pineapple doesn’t ripen anymore once it is picked, so make sure to 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 have mentioned that if I have fruits and veggies prepped and prepared ahead of time, my kids tend to grab those as a snack first!
Remember, life gets busy, and keeping it simple will help you from being overwhelmed.
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 what ones are worse than others, simply 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. When it comes to food storage and meal prep, you want to get it done correctly and quickly as possible to 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?”
Ethylene gas is the major 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 create it to ripen too quickly.
Who is sensitive to ethylene gas?
Who gives off the most ethylene gas?
I have created a simple cheat sheet for you, but bottom line, when storing in the fridge, yes, it does slow the ripening process down, but it can also alter the taste of some fruit. So it is best your fruit can be stored at room temp and eaten soon after. If you can’t eat it once it is ripe, stick it in the fridge, and it 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 must be chilled, such as berries, veggies, and herbs.
Ok! Let’s get down to storing foods in the fridge!
To wash or not to wash, that is the question. You want to 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!
Your fridge typically has two drawers at the bottom; they are called the crisper drawers. You can control the humidity with the adjustable levers on the drawers. This controls the amount of 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!
Helping to keep food from spoiling quickly, keep your fridge organized and clean. Containers are great for this; properly storing food in separate containers helps to keep food from not only going bad so quickly but also keeps your fridge clean. Place paper towels at the bottom of your drawers also.
Remember, fruit still gives off ethylene gas even when stored on the counter. 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.
The main foods that need to be stored at room temperature are avocados, onions, garlic, potatoes, and tomatoes. Another veggie that you wouldn’t think of is cucumber. They are temperature sensitive and don’t like the cold. Check out the cheat sheet for more items that need to stay at room temp.
Pro tip: Onions and potatoes should not be stored together either; they don’t get along.
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.
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!
After lots of research and tons of trials and errors, I have finally found what I love to use best for food storage and kitchen organization. So far, Amazon has yet again shown me they have some of the best prices.
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I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.