Looing for ways to save time and save money?
According to the United Nations, the average Canadian household wastes 140 kg of food per year. That’s not only a lot of food waste but a lot of money wasted as well.
Below are tips to keep your fridge organized to help minimize waste and lower your grocery bill!
Tips for an organized fridge
1)Clean out and discard
Take everything out of your fridge and wipe it down with mild soap and water. Go through your items and discard expired food and donate items you aren’t going to use in the future if it’s unopened and non-perishable. Keep items that might create juices that will leak on the lowest shelf.
Now that the fridge is clean, the next thing you’ll need to do is…
2) Set shelf height to what works for you
The usual products you buy should fit perfectly (where possible) in your fridge. This may help make room to stack items with products like THESE so you can see everything. When you see what you have in the fridge, you don’t end up with duplicates.
3)Organize food in groups
There are warmer spots in your fridge than others, like the doors and the top shelf. Keep items in these areas like condiments, leftovers and fresh products or raw products like milk and meats on the bottom shelf or middle shelf at cooler temperatures.
4) Use Containers to save space and prevent items from falling or staying at the back of your fridge
Use containers to keep things together like yogurt or fruit cups. Find ones with handles to make things easier like THESE ones. Try to stack items when possible, to save space yet still make it easier to see the food
Tip: try to keep your fridge at 2/3 full- to leave room for airflow.
5) Label your containers
Use reusable labels like THESE for your “leftovers.” You can write what it is but more important- note when it went into the fridge. (Try to use leftovers within 24-48 hrs, so they don’t start to grow bacteria or transfer the leftovers to the freezer)
Meal planning will help you buy what you need and use it. If you don’t end up using all the fresh food, make a double batch of the recipe and freeze if possible. If it’s not freezable, make sure you put it at the front of the fridge so that everyone sees it. People are more likely to eat something that is prepped and ready to reheat quickly.
7)Take an inventory
It’s easy to “lose” food in your fridge, especially if it’s over packed. Taking an inventory can keep you from buying duplicates and it keeps you up to date on what’s already in the fridge when planning meals.
Tip: Use your phone to take a picture of your fridge inventory to save time.
Tips to waste less and save more
(to be honest keeping food from spoiling is not my area of expertise but one of my team members shared these amazing tips with me and I was so excited that I wanted to share them all with you as well)
Fruit and Veggie Drawers
Keep the high humidity bin for the veggies and low humidity drawers for the fruits (except strawberries). This will keep them fresh and crisp for longer. (Giving you time to eat them)
Vegetables are the no. 1 food that is wasted in Canada, making up 30% of the 140kg of waste.
Wrap certain vegetables and herbs in a damp paper towel or cheese cloth
Wrap the stems and leave the items below in a mesh produce bag.
- Herbs like cilantro and parsley- or store them in a glass jar (stems down) fill with water at room temp (you can also put them in the fridge in the water-filled jar but cover them with a plastic bag)
- Greens (or if in a container- remove the lid or leave the cover open and place a dry paper towel over the greens
- Carrots- Store in a veggie bin in a mesh produce bag
- Cucumbers/zucchini/squash – The veggie bin is too cool for these vegetables- keep them on the middle or top shelf where the air is slightly less cool.
- Ethylene products- keep ethylene-producing products away from ethylene-sensitive foods to keep them from spoiling quickly.
Examples of ethylene products are:
Examples of Ethylene sensitive foods
- green beans,
- Brussels sprouts,
- sweet potatoes,
Tip: Avocado can be tricky- it’s hard and impossible to eat one minute and mushy and black the next. If you need to use your avocado quickly, add it to a paper bag at room temperature with apples or any of the above items. It will ripen faster (usually overnight). If your avocado is ripe, but you’re not ready to eat it yet- put it in the fridge, and it will slow down the process.
Tip: Don’t cut up fruit and veggies unless you know you will be consuming them in the next 24 hours. They will spoil faster cut up.
Tip: Try to keep fruits and veggies dry before putting them in the fridge- moisture can cause mould and make them go soft and spoil before they should.
Here’s what you can freeze
Tip for the freezer – When adding items to the freezer- if you tend to forget what’s in there, create an inventory sheet and keep it close to the freezer. Mark off as you use what’s in the freezer and what you add.
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