Smart storage is a lot of things.

The main idea is, however, to store stuff correctly and store it in a place where you will find it. So we need to concentrate on methods of storage AND organization!

Tip #1 – Know how to store different kinds of produce

First, check out this Store Smarter Information Sheet from the Rethink Food Waste Challenge tool kit all about smart storage, particularly for fresh produce.

Tip #2 – Use your freezer, but know how to do it!

  • Make sure your food is completely cooled BEFORE you put it in the freezer.
  • When freezing fruits and veggies, you want to keep the air out and the package and the moisture inside. So put the produce in an air-tight (heavy duty freezer bag) container and suck the air out. Small and think sandwich bags are not the same as a heavy duty freezer bag. Don’t want to use plastic? Here is an article all about how to freeze without plastic.
  • Don’t overload your freezer. You don’t want an empty freezer, but if you pack it all the way full, there isn’t room for air to circulate, which is important.

Tip #3 – Learn about ethylene.

Ethylene is something present in produce that helps it ripen. Some fruits and veggies produce it like crazy, and others are very susceptible to its effects. I found it difficult to research; there seem to be conflicting statements about some produce. But I thought this article from United World Transportation was pretty comprehensive and helpful.

Tip #4 – Learn about Humidity Control Drawers

You know, those drawers in your fridge. The ones with the sliders and numbers. Those exist for a reason! One participant uses them like an Eat First basket. “Left = leave it, Right = ready”. That’s a great idea! Also, here is an article about what they were designed for: humidity control!

Tip #5 – Organize your fridge and keep it that way!

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but seriously. Organize your fridge. I know it can be hard to keep it that way, but it’s so much easier not to lose things in there if you know where stuff is! Here is a great article about a suggested fridge organization method. The same goes for your freezer. Organize it.

Tip #6 – Learn all about dates on your food

Part of storing smart is knowing about shelf life of food products. There are all kinds of dates that are listed on food products. Sell by, best by, use by… sometimes it gets confusing. But did you know you can often eat products well after the date says you can’t? Yogurt, for example, keeps for a very. Long. Time. Still Tasty is an excellent website with a seemly exhaustive list of products and how to tell if they are still edible.

Are you confused about mold on cheeses? This article addresses just that!

How about eggs? This is a good article about the observation that in the US we refrigerate our eggs while in most other countries they do not. Ever wonder why?

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