Tricks for Keeping Food Fresh Longer

Have you ever reached for fresh produce only to discover it’s already gone bad? Keep your groceries fresher for longer with these easy prepping and storing tricks.


Fruits and vegetables are great for you, but not so good for each other. That’s because some produce gives off ethylene gas – which can make other fruits and veggies spoil. Separate storage is the key to keeping it all fresh as long as possible. Here’s a quick guide to what goes where:

In a fruit bowl:

  •  •Avocados
  •  •Nectarines
  •  •Peaches
  •  •Pears
  •  •Plums
  •  •Tomatoes

On the counter, away from other fruit:

  •  •Bananas

In a dark, cool cabinet:

  •  •Onions
  •  •Potatoes

In the crisper drawer:

  •  •Broccoli
  •  •Cabbage
  •  •Carrots
  •  •Cauliflower
  •  •Cucumbers
  •  •Leafy greens (kale, lettuce, spinach)
  •  •Peppers
  •  •Squash
  •  •Apples
  •  •Apricots
  •  •Cantaloupe
  •  •Honeydew

Tip: Precut produce can stay in its own packaging, but if you clean and prep lettuce or berries after purchasing, keep them at their best by wrapping them in a paper towel and storing in a container. Your lettuce won’t brown as quickly and your berries won’t get mushy so fast.


Depending on humidity levels in your home, bread and baked goods can become stale. To make it last longer, store in a sealed plastic bag or ventilated bread box and consume quickly – or freeze.

Tip: Defrost bread and baked goods by thawing at room temperature or by wrapping in a paper towel (to prevent sogginess) and microwaving in 10 second bursts.


Eggs and dairy products should always be placed in the coldest part of your refrigerator (i.e. toward the back of a shelf, and not in the door – even if there are built-in egg cups). Cheese should always be tightly wrapped and refrigerated. Also know that hard cheeses, like cheddar, last longer than soft cheeses, like ricotta.


Get raw meat, poultry, or seafood home in a hurry. Perishable food should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchasing (within 2 hours, or 1 hour in summer or hotter climates).

Tip: Always store raw proteins in the lowest part of your refrigerator, so any leaks won’t contaminate other foods.


The key to keeping pantry items fresh is keeping out air, moisture, and in some cases, sunlight. Move flours and pastas to sealed plastic bags or large glass jars with lids. Oils can stay in the pantry, as long as it’s cool and dark. Dried fruits and nuts can stay in the pantry if tightly wrapped, but they will last longer in your freezer. Salt, sugar, honey, and dried rice can last indefinitely in the pantry, as long as they’re kept in clean, sealed containers.

TIP: Even when stored in an air-tight container, brown sugar will harden over time. Microwave in short bursts with a damp paper towel to soften as needed.

*Article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens

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