Everyday Foods You Never Knew You Were Storing Wrong

Ashley - May 4, 2023

Groceries are expensive! The average family of four in America spends $235 on groceries every single week, and that cost will really add up over time. So many of us end up throwing up wilted salads, bruised fruits, and stale cereal at the end of the week. You shake your head and wonder what you can do to be less wasteful and save some money, but you don’t know how to change this endless cycle. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Storing food incorrectly is one of the number one causes of unnecessary food waste. Get comfortable and ready to take notes because we have a list of foods you never knew you were storing incorrectly. We’ll walk you through how to store them properly, so you can spend less money on your groceries every week. Let’s get started!

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Regrow Your Scallions

You might think it’s impossible for you to regrow any of the food you get from the grocery store, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Even if you live in a tiny home or apartment with very little space, you can still regrow your scallions. All you need is a glass of water and the tips of the veggies you’d normally throw out. Put the white tips in a glass of water and watch as they regrow before your very eyes! You can repeat this process infinitely, which means permanently crossing scallions off your grocery list. Put them in some soil to regrow if you have the room. The taste will be much more potent!

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Keep Your Apples In The Fridge

Most people store their apples in a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, but this isn’t actually the best practice for this fruit. Apples last longer when stored between 31-36 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you’re storing these delicious treats in the coldest part of your refrigerator! Also, it’s true what they say about “one bad apple ruins the bunch.” Once one apple starts to decay, the rest will go too. So, keep an eye on your apples and immediately pick out any bad ones before they have a chance to ruin the rest.

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Nuts Belong In The Fridge, Too

It’s common practice for most of us to throw our nuts in a sealed container and stick them in the cabinet. Using this method, the nuts will last a few weeks to a few months, depending on how frequently you open the container. You can extend their lifetime from a few months to a year by storing the nuts in your fridge! Keep them in an airtight container and store them right alongside your apples. If you like to buy in bulk, throw your extra nuts in the freezer! They’ll stay good in the freezer for a solid year, giving you plenty of time to dip into your stash whenever the container in the fridge runs lows.

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Freeze Your Herbs With Olive Oil

Cooking with fresh herbs is the best way to enhance the flavor of any dish, and it comes with plenty of health benefits! But fresh herbs are finicky and don’t last very long. Herbs will wilt in a matter of days when left on the counter and only survive for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. The next time you buy fresh herbs, try this trick to extend their lifetime and make cooking a smoother process. Take an ice cube tray and put cut-up bits of herbs like oregano, thyme, sage, or rosemary in the cubes. Then, pour olive oil over the herbs and stick the tray in the freezer. You’ll have ready-to-go cubes with olive oil and fresh herbs to help you cook dinners for the rest of the month!

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Always Use A Bread Bin

Some believe storing bread in the fridge will help it last longer, but this isn’t true! Storing your bread in the fridge will actually make it go stale and moldy faster. The best way to keep your bread fresh for as long as possible is to store it in a cool, dry place. Use a bread bin and wrap your bread tightly to prevent it from going bad too quickly. Make sure to clean out the bread bin once a week to prevent any mold spores from settling in and destroying your bread! Pro tip: store your bread in the freezer if you don’t use it often. You can pull out a couple of slices at a time and pop them in the toaster. Your bread will last for months using this trick.

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Let Your Potatoes Breathe

Potatoes are delicious, but they can quickly become bruised and unusable if they aren’t stored correctly. This is another food that people commonly store incorrectly. Plenty of people make the mistake of throwing them in the fridge or sealing them away in a cabinet with little airflow, but both of these practices will only encourage the decay of these delicious starchy treats. The best way to store potatoes is to place them off the ground in a cool, dry, and dark place. Put them in your pantry or on a shelf in your basement where they get plenty of airflow but aren’t exposed to much light, heat, or humidity. When stored correctly, potatoes can last for several months!

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Store Onions In Pantyhose

Okay, we know this looks a little crazy, but it really works! Onions make an excellent addition to a variety of dishes, so you likely try to keep a good supply of them around your home. But normal storage techniques will only keep onions good for a couple of months. With this awesome trick, your onions will stay fresh for half a year or even longer! Here’s what you want to do: put the onions in your pantyhose one at a time and tie knots between each onion to keep them separated. Then, hang the pantyhose in your pantry or another cool, dry, and dark place. When you need an onion, simply untie a knot and pull one out! You’ll never have to worry about tossing bruised onions after only a week or two again with this trick.

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Keep Citrus Fruits Separated In The Fridge

While it looks trendy and cute to keep your fruits stored in a bowl on your countertop, this is actually the worst place for them. Just like apples, most citrus fruits keep best when stored at cold temperatures between 31-36 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only do you want to keep these fruits in the fridge, but you should also keep them in containers separate from each other. This will help reduce the risk of bruising and it will make it easier for you to spot a single bad fruit and pick it out before it contaminates the entire bunch!

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Never Put Milk In The Door Of Your Fridge

Storing milk in the door of your fridge may seem convenient, but it’s actually causing your milk to spoil faster than it should! When milk is stored in the door, it’s being exposed to warmer temperatures every time you open the door of your fridge. Instead, store your milk in the very back of the fridge where the cold temperatures remain consistent. This may not seem like a big deal, but milk typically has a pretty short shelf life, so anything you can do to extend it helps.

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Store Sour Cream And Cottage Cheese Upside Down

You can do so much with sour cream and cottage cheese. Seriously, most recipes will be improved with a dollop of one or the other, so it’s great to keep a container of each around for when the need arises. Unfortunately, sour cream and cottage cheese tend to go bad pretty quickly, but there’s a simple way to slow that process down. After using your sour cream or cottage cheese, replace the lid and then flip them upside down before putting them in the fridge. Doing this creates a type of vacuum seal that slows down the growth of bacteria and keeps them good for longer. Pro tip: you can do this with guacamole and other dips, too!

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Don’t Use These Cute Egg Trays

A lot of refrigerators come with these adorable little egg trays in the door. They look cute and seem like a good idea because it saves you a little space in the refrigerator, but this is actually a terrible way to store your eggs. Just like with milk, eggs will go bad more quickly if they’re exposed to fluctuating temperatures, so keeping them in the door will actually speed up how quickly they go bad. Instead, keep your eggs in the container they came in to keep them protected and store them in the back of the refrigerator where temperatures remain more consistent.

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Raw Meat Belongs Wrapped On A Plate

Most homes have a dedicated shelf in their refrigerator where they store raw meat, but you should take it a step further than that. Raw meat can leak and cause other food in your fridge to go bad, so you want to limit that possibility as much as possible. Keep your meat wrapped up, either in its original container or by sealing it with plastic wrap. Put the meat on a plate on the bottom-most shelf of your fridge. This will help it stay fresh for longer and prevent any leaks from contaminating the rest of your food!

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Wrap The Tops Of Your Bananas

Bananas are a tricky fruit. If you eat them too soon, they’re full of starches that can hurt your stomach. Leave them for too long, and you have overly-ripe bananas that are way too sweet and pretty much only useful for making banana bread (or banana pancakes!). So, what’s the best way to keep these fruits in their sweet spot for longer? Wrap the tops of your bananas in plastic wrap or aluminum foil! This will slow their ripening process so you can enjoy them at their peak for longer. Also, make sure to keep your bananas away from other fruits! Bananas give off ethylene gas, which will cause foods to rot.

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Store Your Garlic Wisely

Garlic is a very fickle vegetable (and yes, technically, it is a vegetable, even though most people use it as an herb). People often debate about the best way to store garlic, and many swear by storing it in the fridge, but that’s not the best way to ensure your garlic lasts. Garlic must be stored in a cool, dry place with plenty of air circulation. Use mesh bags to hang your garlic in your pantry or basement. This will ensure it gets plenty of air and isn’t exposed to much heat or light. It’s really important to use mesh bags because airtight containers will cause it to rot faster and plastic bags will trap moisture, which also causes it to rot faster.

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Wait To Refrigerate Avocados

Most people assume that avocados, like many other fruits, should go straight into the refrigerator when you get home. Unlike most fruits, avocados should actually be left on the counter for a while. Putting them in the fridge can prevent them from fully ripening and leave them too hard. Put your avocados in a basket on the counter until they’re nice and tender, and then transition them to the fridge. This will ensure you have creamy, fully ripe avocados waiting for you in your fridge!

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Keep Ginger In The Freezer

The freezer is your friend for storing ginger! Not a lot of people keep fresh ginger in their homes, but this herb has a ton of awesome uses. It’s a great addition to many recipes and can also be used for DIY cold remedies and even acne creams! Regardless of what you’re using the ginger for, you should always store it in the freezer. This will drastically increase its lifetime and make it way easier to peel and grate. You can also pre-peel and grate the ginger and store it in the fridge in single-serving containers. All you need to do is reach in and pluck out exactly what you need!

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Refrigerate Your Grapes (Or Freeze Them!)

Grapes are another fruit that people love to display in bowls on their counters, but they’ll last way longer in the fridge. Also, you don’t need to throw grapes away as soon as they become wrinkly. Use these in your smoothies for a nice kick of freshness or throw them in your freezer and use them as ice cubes afterward. Taking a handful of grapes out of the bunch and putting them in the freezer right away gives you access to a delicious frozen treat and a cool ice cube alternative for those warm summer days.

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Use A Mesh Bag For Lettuce

Have you ever wondered why your lettuce goes bad so quickly? Sometimes, a fresh bag of lettuce will go bad in as little as a few days after being placed in the fridge, which can be pretty frustrating. The answer to this issue is surprisingly simple. Lettuce should never be stored in sealed, airtight containers like plastic bags. Storing them this way causes condensation to get trapped, which causes your lettuce to become soggy and slimy. Instead, store your lettuce in a mesh bag that allows for some airflow. This will allow the condensation to escape rather than build up, which will help your lettuce last much longer!

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Regularly Clean Your Fridge

You might laugh when you see this tip and want to scroll on past, but hold on for a second! There are plenty of reasons to keep your fridge clean, but many people don’t realize just how much a dirty fridge affects their ability to store food. Not only is a dirty fridge unhygienic, but it can lead to mold and bacteria growth that attaches itself to your food quickly. This will cause your food to rot more quickly, regardless of how you’re storing it. Clean your fridge once a week to prevent a build-up of bacteria and mold. You’ll be surprised at just how big of a difference this simple trick makes!

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Store Apples And Potatoes Together

We already discussed the best way to store apples and potatoes separately, but did you know there’s a huge benefit to storing these two foods together? Potatoes often sprout and go rotten after a while when they’re stored by themselves, but keeping some apples nearby will help slow this process down. The reason? Apples produce ethylene gas, which typically causes other foods to rot. However, the gas will prevent the potatoes from continuing to grow and, therefore, sprout. This will help extend the life of your potatoes! Make sure you’re storing them in a cool, dry place together for this trick to work best.

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Real Maple Syrup Should Be Refrigerated

Pancakes and waffles are breakfast staples, and there’s nothing better than eating one of these treats drenched in real maple syrup! Many people prefer to store their syrup in the cabinet so it’s room temperature when you’re ready to use it, but this isn’t actually the best practice. Pure maple syrup needs to be refrigerated because it often lacks preservatives and other additives that prevent mold and bacteria growth. Keeping your syrup in the fridge will help it last longer and retain its delicious flavor! You can always pour a small amount into a cup or bowl and heat it up in the microwave before you use it for your pancakes.

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Never Waste Lemon Halves Again

Unless you’re cutting up lemons to make lemonade or shots for a party, then odds are you’re going to be left with half a lemon that will quickly go bad when left in the refrigerator. If you’ve been throwing away rotten lemons halves and searching for a better way to use these up, then look no further! You can squeeze the juice out of the remaining lemon slices you have and freeze them in an ice cube tray for fresh, flavorful ice cubes. Or, you could even freeze the lemon flesh itself. It’ll still work as an ice cube and it’ll be packed with flavor.

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Throw Your Chips In The Freezer

We all know that stomach-dropping moment of disappointment when you reach into the pantry to grab a tasty snack and find a stale bag of chips waiting for you. There’s nothing worse than having to toss a full body of stale chips and then go rummaging again for a different snack. You can extend the shelflife of your potato chips by a few months by storing them in the freezer. Potato chips are made with very little water, so keeping them in the freezer will cause them to get cold, but it won’t freeze them entirely. In fact, if you don’t mind chilled chips, you can start snacking as soon as you take the bag out of the freezer.

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Finally Use That Bottom Drawer On Your Oven

So many people get confused about what the bottom drawer on their oven is for. If you grew up like most of us, then you probably thought that drawer was for storage purposes and usually held extra pots or pans. However, it turns out there’s an actual purpose for that drawer! This spot can be used for keeping food warm while making the rest of the meal. Finally, there’s a way to keep those sides warm while you finish the main dish during holiday season. You’ll never serve food of varying temperatures at mealtimes again once you know about this!

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Keep Your Olive Oil In The Pantry

Good olive oil is expensive, and no one wants to replace a bottle before they finish it. But many of us store olive oil near the stove since it gets used so frequently. Keeping olive oil next to your stove is the quickest way to ensure it goes bad before you finish the bottle. You should always store your olive oil in the pantry or another cool, dry place where you can limit its exposure to light, heat, and moisture. The best temperature for olive oil is 57 degrees Fahrenheit, so you could also store it in your fridge!

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Keep Your Carrots Fresh And Crisp For Months

Most people don’t plan on holding onto their carrots for more than a couple of weeks, but if you buy in bulk and want to keep your carrots fresh and crisp for a couple of months, then we have the perfect trick for you. Take the green stems off the top of your carrots and place them into a bowl of water before putting them in the fridge. Check the water for cloudiness and change it every 4 or 5 days to keep them fresh. This trick works well for baby carrots, too!

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Keep Coffee At Room Temperature To Preserve Its Flavor

Everyone loves a potent, steaming cup of coffee to help them wake up in the mornings. But a cup o’ joe absent of its usual flavor can really ruin a person’s morning, so you need to know how to properly store your coffee beans and grounds to keep them in peak condition. The first thing to know is that storing your coffee in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for longer is a total myth. Putting it in the fridge exposes the coffee to light and moisture, which robs your precious coffee of its flavor. Instead, store your coffee at room temperature in a spot that limits their exposure to light and humidity. It may look super trendy on Instagram and Pinterest, but you never want to store your coffee in clear containers! This will expose it to too much light and make it go bad much more quickly.

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Invest In Ethylene Gas Absorbers

We’ve mentioned ethylene gas a few times, but it’s super important to talk about because not many people have heard of it before. Ethylene gas kind of works in fruits and vegetables the same way hormones work in humans. It controls their rate of growth and keeps them from ripening or rotting too quickly. When fruits and veggies release this gas, it’s completely colorless and odorless, so you can’t tell when there’s a build-up of it in your fridge. While ethylene gas is necessary for the healthy growth of fruits and veggies, it can cause foods to rot more quickly. Invest in some ethylene gas absorbers for your fridge to prevent this gas from getting out of hand. It’ll help the food in your fridge last much longer!

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Put Your Whole Wheat Flour In The Fridge

Whole wheat flour is a super healthy baking choice. Studies show that eating more whole wheats can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Using whole wheat flour is an excellent way to make healthy choices in the kitchen, but if you store it wrong, then you end up with bitter tasting flour. The best way to store this flour is by keeping it in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge or freezer. This will keep out any moisture or oxygen and increase the lifespan of your flour. Storing it in the fridge will help keep it good for a few months, but it can last up to a year in the freezer! Your bread might take a little longer to rise when using this method, but you’re guaranteed a fresh taste and the flour is ready to use as soon as you take it out of the freezer.

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Cucumbers Shouldn’t Go In The Fridge

We know this one will probably surprise you because most people store cucumbers in their refrigerator, but these veggies actually stay good for longer when they’re left out at room temperature. Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they’ll go rotten more quickly in your fridge. Leaving them on the counter at room temperature will help them for up to a week without showing any signs of rotting. Just make sure to keep these veggies out of the path of direct sunlight.

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Keep Your Ice Cream Upside Down

Remember the trick we mentioned about sour cream and cream cheese earlier in this list? Well, those aren’t the only containers you should be storing upside down! Ice cream is an awesome treat during the summer or at the end of a long day, but there’s something really disappointing about opening a container of ice cream and finding the top layer coated in freezer burn. This can really kill the ice cream buzz, but there’s a simple solution for this. Storing your ice cream upside down prevents the liquid from refreezing in an icy layer on the top of your favorite treat. Instead, it will freeze against the lid and leave your ice cream perfect!

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Berries are the perfect addition to yogurt, oatmeal, and any smoothie, but these delicious fruits don’t last very long. If you’re tired of picking moldy berries out of the container after only a few days, then you need this trick in your life! Here’s what you need to do: mix one part distilled white vinegar with ten parts of water in a bowl. Place your berries in the bowl and let them sit for several minutes. Then, drain the berries out of the mixture, give them a good rinse, and place them in the fridge. This trick will help your berries stay fresh for up to two weeks!

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Don’t Put Tomatoes In The Fridge

Just like cucumbers, tomatoes are one of the few foods in the fruit and veggies categories that don’t belong in your refrigerator. These delicious fruits (yes, they’re technically a fruit!) should be left on your counter, especially if they aren’t fully ripe yet. Putting under-ripe tomatoes in your fridge will cause them to get squishy and develop an unpleasant texture. Leave them on your counter until they’re fully ripe, and then eat them within a few days. You can place fully ripe tomatoes in the fridge, but you’ll still want to use them up within a few days to get the best flavor and texture out of them.

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Chop Up Your Green Onions And Freeze Them

Green onions add a nice kick of flavor to many dishes, and they’re a very versatile veggie to cook with. You can add them to a ton of different recipes, but unless you want to buy more onions everytime you go to the grocery store, you need to know the proper way of storing them. So, here’s a good trick for storing green onions long-term. Buy them in bulk and chop them up as you usually would. Then, use a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Pour the chopped onions into an airtight container. Some people use empty water bottles, ziplock bags, or even plastic wrap! Then, you can throw them in the freezer and take them out whenever you need them. The green onions will last for months this way, but make sure you remove any excess moisture first so they don’t get freezer burned.

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Decrystalize Your Honey Without Ruining The Texture

Honey is an ingredient everyone should have in their pantry. It can soothe sore throats, add a blast of flavor to tea, or help your dishes obtain a little sweetness. The downside to honey is that, eventually, it begins to crystalize. Even if you store it in a cool, dry, dark place, tiny crystals will form in your honey and disrupt its syrupy texture. An easy way to melt the crystals and restore your honey to its previous glory involves placing your glass container of honey into a bowl of simmering water. Let the water continue to simmer for several minutes until all the crystals have melted. Then, give the honey a stir to make sure the crystals are reincorporated well. This will help extend the life of your honey and preserve its texture!