4 Food-Storage Tips to Avoid Waste

4 Food-Storage Tips

A 2015 research published by US Today determined that an average American household loses $640 on food waste. This is a lot of money, considering the current financial constraints. 

Food waste has become one of the main challenges facing many Americans when it comes to food and sustainable living. 

Finding a solution to food waste boils down to storage. 

Keep in mind that how you store your food affects its shelf life.

A ripe mango can have a shelf life of more than two weeks in a refrigerator but will likely spoil in a week when left on the counter. Other factors like moisture conditions in the house play an important role in food longevity, but simple storage tips can help avoid wastage.  

Here are some easy fixes to improving your food storage to help cut down on waste. 

1. Keep Your Food Airtight

Air is not friendly when it comes to food storage. 

Considering oxygen is necessary for food to go bad, you must ensure your stored food has no access to air. This means investing in airtight containers. 

If you tend to have leftovers only to wake up in the morning to find the meal smelling funny, the culprit could be anything from air to contamination. Airtight containers don’t just protect against the air but also any form of contaminant.

You want to get good packaging bags as well as airtight containers of varying sizes. Use these items before placing your food in the refrigerator.

We advise you to go for transparent jars that are easy to clean, look nice, and are eco-friendly. Plus, you can easily identify different meals without taking the lid off the jars. 

When shopping for containers, though, avoid tins and any metallic items as they have chemical components that may react with your food. 

2. Stop Overcrowding the Fridge

A novice to proper storage would see an overcrowded fridge and think nothing of it.

The problem with overstuffing your fridge, however, is it creates the perfect environment for spoilage. 

An overcrowded fridge means limited airflow hindering the proper distribution of cold air throughout the space. Basically, your refrigerator uses a lot of energy without much impact. 

There are also chances of having “warm holes” where the cold air doesn’t reach some of your food.

It’s easy to assume the food inside your fridge won’t go bad because you have it running all day, every day.

Unfortunately, the chance of your food being hidden from sight in an overstaffed fridge is high. 

3. Duration is Important

A lot of the time, food wastage happens when you keep things stored for far too long. Everything expires at some point, whether you have it refrigerated or not because time is also a factor.

Segregate or label new and older products so that you don’t consume what’s new, leaving behind what’s been around for a while.

Keeping tabs on what needs to be consumed at what date helps avoid leaving food in the fridge for longer than necessary. 

Keep visible labels and take note of manufacture and expiry dates to help you plan your meals.

4. Reduce Light Exposure

Light exposure is one of the reasons food spoils faster than it should have. The process known as photodegradation takes place when direct lighting causes a chemical reaction in food.

Considering photodegradation targets specific components in food, such as vitamins, proteins, and other minerals, it’s common that the food may look fresh when it’s not.

Such food products have telltale signs like lost flavor, limited nutritional value, color change, and an off smell.

Here’s the kicker: 

Photodegradation can affect food even if you store it in the refrigerator.

The best solution is to limit light exposure, especially when storing foods that must remain in good condition long-term, such as dried fruit, spices, seeds, and herbs.

For those storing cannabis flowers long-term, you need opaque containers to keep away the light, which has a huge effect on potency. This Veriheal post delves into cannabis storage. The tips will also come in handy for other herbs.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your food fresh for longer will significantly reduce the chances of food wastage. Consider these tips in changing your storage habits, and slowly, you will realize the satisfaction that comes with effectively storing away your leftovers.