How to organise your fridge to avoid food waste
Could playing a little fridge Tetris help us all to become more sustainable?
With the start of a new year inevitably becomes the latest swath of resolutions. 2022 is going to be the year you finally lose those 7lbs, read that book, learn how to speak Spanish, insert equally as appropriate intention in here.
But one promise to ourselves that we are committed to keep this, and every, year is to live an increasingly more sustainable lifestyle. It’s crunch-time for our planet and if we can all pull together and make an effort where we can, it really will make a difference.
It’s the little things that can have the biggest impact – something we’re always finding out all over again. Like when we spoke to Beko, the UK’s best-selling large home appliance brand, and discovered that by having a well-organised fridge, you could actually keep your food fresh for longer, reducing your waste in the process.
It turns out that households caused 70% of the UK’s food waste last year, throwing away 6.6 million tonnes of food – of which 4.5 million tonnes was still edible. This is a staggering amount of food to waste every year.
When the weekly shop is done and your shopping bags are once more bulging with cheese, meat and veg, there’s the inevitable challenge of trying to juggle and squeeze all those goodies into the fridge. But what we didn’t know was how much of a difference where and how you store your food items can have on how long they stay fresh for.
That’s why we’ve asked the experts at Beko for their advice on how to stack your fridge for ultimate freshness, just like the pros…
It turns out, the top shelf is the least-cool part of the fridge, so this is the best place to put foods that don’t need to be kept super-chilled – such as food that is already cooked. This part of the fridge is ideal for food such as deli meats and other snacks. Some sweeter treats like trifles and other desserts will be happy up top, too.
As you move down the fridge, temperatures get cooler. The middles shelves are a great place for any dairy products, ready-to-eat foods, and leftovers (like that Saturday night pizza).
If you’ve still got some room on the middle shelves, this is where you should also place your chilled drinks, ideally near the centre. If you’ve got a fridge freezer with a wine rack, the middle shelf is where the rack should sit for optimum chilling.
The bottom shelf is the coldest part of the fridge, which means food placed here really has its freshness locked in – preventing any dripping and keeping bacteria at bay. This makes it the ideal place to store your fussier ingredients, like raw meat and fish.
The crisper drawer provides ideal conditions for storing vegetables and fruits. Try to keep your vegetables separate and in the veg drawers as much as possible to keep them fresher for longer. If you’re struggling for space, things like parsnips, carrots and potatoes will be fine out of the fridge for a short while – just keep them somewhere cool, dry, and dark.
Your fridge doors are really the place for anything that doesn’t spoil easily or needs to be kept upright, so open sauce bottles, jams, fruit juices and definitely your eggs (if you have a holder). Those suckers always roll off the shelf when you least expect it!
TOP TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR FOOD FRESH FOR LONGER
- Some ripening fruits and veggies produce a gas called ethylene, which can cause other fruits and vegetables around them to ripen much quicker and begin to rot. That’s why storing them separately can be so important.
- Here are the fruits you should try to store separately: apples, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, mangoes, onions, pears, plums, potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, and strawberries.
- You can keep salad fresher for longer by poking holes in the top of the container you keep it in.
- Putting a paper towel in the veg box to absorb the moisture that the veggies create will help them last longer.
- Always wrap your cheese in parchment paper before you put it in the fridge – this stops it from getting mouldy too quickly.
- Try using reusable beeswax film to wrap your foods in if you’ve used part of them and want to use the rest later. Reusable products are much more environmentally friendly and tend to work better because they’re sturdier.
For more tips from the experts at Beko, check out the resources on their website