Food waste directly impacts the global economy, uses up valuable resources such as water, and produces green house gas emissions. By organizing and properly storing groceries you can reduce your food waste, save money $$, and have a positive impact on the environment. Triple win.
A clean, organized refrigerator makes it easy to see what you have, simplifies meal planning, and again reduces the chance something will spoil or expire. When it comes to organizing your fridge and pantry be sure to follow the “first in, first out” rule, abbreviated as “FIFO”. Whenever you purchase new foods be sure to move the older items to the front so they will be used first.
⇒ This handy resource: Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Best Flavor from FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org offers great tips for storing produce! Though I would store mushrooms in the cardboard container they come in or a brown paper bag, not plastic for optimal freshness.
To keep fresh produce the freshest, store fruits and vegetables that produce high levels of ethylene gas away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Why? Because ethylene gas is a ripening agent and it can speed up the natural ripening of your produce. This chemical reaction can also be used to your advantage, for example if you have an under-ripe avocado you can place it in a paper bag which will trap the ethylene gas and speeds up the ripening process. Or if you have under-ripe tomatoes, place these with a banana in a brown bag, close-able jar, or cardboard box to speed up ripening.
Gas producing: Apples, apricots, avocado, bananas, cantaloupe, figs, honeydew, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, plums, tomatoes
Gas sensitive: Bananas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage,carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce and other leafy green, peas, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, watermelon
Freezing extra fruits and veggies can also cut down on waste from spoiled produce. I usually buy a few extra ripe bananas, peaches, and berries to immediately wash and freeze for smoothies and overnight oats. If you have extra greens (e.g. spinach / kale) on hand throw them in a blender with a little water. Blend until greens break down completely, mixture pour into ice-cube tray and freeze. Once frozen remove & store in zip lock bag! These frozen green cubes can also be in smoothies or soups and chili.
Here’s to having more and wasting less!