In an attempt to not waste food, we often refrigerate leftovers. Of course, we may end up throwing the leftovers away once we realize they’ve been forgotten for too long in the depths of the fridge. A Penn State University study found that the average American household wastes around 31% of food bought. That’s $240 billion worth of food wasted each year.
Nobody wants to waste perfectly good food. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce waste. Read on to learn how to properly store food in your fridge and other ways to help keep your food waste to a minimum.
Place Your Leftovers Where You Can See Them
When arranging the items in our fridge, we are usually inclined to bring the things we use most to the front of the refrigerator for convenience. With those items obscuring everything else, we may not notice until it’s far too late that our Thanksgiving leftovers are still there.
To avoid that, keep your leftovers towards the front with all your other frequently used items. When they’re kept in sight, you’ll be reminded to eat them while they’re still edible.
Plan Your Meals
Another way to avoid a forgotten leftovers surprise is by planning your meals. Decide what you want to cook for the week or the days ahead, and keep the ingredients required (that you don’t already have) in mind before heading to the store. According to the Stop Wasting Food Movement, this type of planning makes an enormous difference as people typically overestimate how much food their families will eat.
Ensure Your Refrigerator’s Temperature Is Set Correctly
Checking that your refrigerator is set to the right temperature helps preserve food and keep your energy bills down. When it’s set too high, your food will spoil; too low, and some items may freeze or develop ice crystals. TheKitchn advises that the ideal temperature for your fridge is between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the warmest part of the fridge is the door, as it gets exposed to warm air every time you open and close the refrigerator. Items that must be kept cold to stay fresh should be stored further back in your fridge.
Don’t Keep Your Leftovers at the Back of Your Fridge
Arrange your food items strategically. Keep what needs to be consumed first closer to the front. Remember, food that’s out of sight might simply be forgotten.
Store perishable items that need to stay cold, like milk, in the coldest part of the fridge towards the back.