How many times have you rummaged through your fridge only to discover that a handful of the groceries you just bought have already gone bad? It’s not fun, and it’s a waste of both food and money. The problem is that many people don’t know how to effectively keep their food fresh for longer than a few days.
Thankfully, Redditors are discussing all the best tips and tricks for keeping food fresh longer so you actually get a chance to eat everything you’ve bought. We scoured the Reddit threads to find the best of the best hacks for preventing your food from spoiling prematurely.
Store food in order of safety from the top down
This method is all about organizing your refrigerator based on how quickly you should eat something.
All the food that is ready to eat now, such as takeout, leftovers, or anything else you plan to eat within the next few days, should remain on the top shelf of your fridge. That way, when you go to the refrigerator, these items hit your eye level, reminding you to eat them before it’s too late.
Next, place raw foods that tend to spoil within a week or two, like fruits and vegetables, on the next row down. Below that, store meat and other foods that you have to cook before consuming. Putting these on the bottom prevents any raw juices from dripping onto the clean produce.
Keep your greens dry
Redditor beanieb recommends washing and drying all your leafy produce, like kale, spinach, or lettuce, as soon as you get home to prevent it from wilting and spoiling. Place the leaves in a colander, rinse them with cool water, dry them out as thoroughly as possible by shaking the leaves out, then lay them on paper towels. Leaves wilt easily when they come into contact with moisture, so take your time to make sure there aren’t any wet spots.
To save a little bit of time, just put paper towels in between layers of your greens, roll them all up, and place them in a plastic grocery bag. Stick that in your fridge, and voila! The paper towels will continue to soak up moisture, so be sure to replace them if they get too waterlogged.
This method even works on greens that are on the verge of going bad, extending their fridge life for a day or two longer.
Plan your cooking based on expiration dates
While this may sound obvious, this simple reminder will save you from a lot of wasted food: cook your food before it expires. Plan your meals around what’s expiring the soonest. Even if you don’t want to eat it that day, you can always put leftovers in containers and freeze them to make ready-to-go meals. Soups and stews are also a great meal to cook with a hodgepodge of leftover meat and vegetables. All you need is your protein of choice, broth, and some vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions.
Cook and cool meat as quickly as possible
On the thread r/Cooking, user Rob_C shares another great meal prep tip, advising people to cook meat when it’s as fresh as possible, then refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. This way, whether you eat it within the day or the week, your meat will taste fresh and tender.
To ensure it will taste as fresh and tender as possible cook the meat as soon as you get it home, allow it to cool in a Tupperware container, then refrigerate any leftovers. Remember not to put the lid on the container or put it in the refrigerator until it’s cooled down. Keeping the lid on traps heat and keeps the meat in a temperature zone where harmful bacteria can grow quickly.
If you don’t expect to eat all the meat within the week, feel free to freeze it while raw. However, make sure you plan your meals ahead of time as it can take quite a few hours to thaw. When you’re ready to cook, just move the container from the freezer to the fridge to thaw over the course of a day or two, depending on the size of the cut.
Many of these hacks, like checking expiration dates, freezing leftovers, and drying leafy greens, are so easy that we simply forget to do them. Beyond these obvious tactics, other methods like meal prepping and organizing your fridge take a little more effort, but it goes a long way toward minimizing food and money waste.
To discover other food hacks Redditors swear by, check out the r/cooking, r/mealprepsunday, or r/food_storage subreddits.
- Custom cabinet ideas that may revolutionize how you organize your kitchen
- Use these handy kitchen organizers to never misplace a utensil again
- Start off 2023 right: 8 low-cal dinner recipes that are actually tasty
- 4 kitchen gadgets that make cooking Thanksgiving dinner a breeze
- 10 delicious, healthy chicken recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less