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The Impact of Food Waste: Part Three - Food Storage Basics

The Impact of Food Waste: Part Three - Food Storage Basics

By: Samantha McCarthy MS, RD/LDN


My last two articles talked about reducing our food waste. An important part of reducing food waste is properly storing your food. We are all guilty of coming right home with our groceries and throwing them wherever we have space in the refrigerator, but this isnít always the proper way to store all of our produce. Some produce donít mix well together, while others donít need to be refrigerated at all.


Fruits and vegetables that should stay cold are as follows:

  • Apples

  • Cantaloupe

  • Figs

  • Plums

  • Kiwi

  • Apricots

  • Honeydew Melon

  • Cucumber

  • Cabbage

  • Lettuce

  • Cauliflower

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel Sprouts


Here is what you donít need to refrigerate:

  • Onions

  • Potatoes

  • Garlic

  • Winter Squash

  • Nectarines

  • Peaches

  • Watermelon

  • Tomatoes

  • Bananas

  • Avocado


You also want to make sure that you are not mixing high gas releasers with gas-sensitive produce. High gas releasers will emit a large amount of ethylene gas which can make your produce go bad much quicker. These fruits and vegetables should be stored away from the gas-sensitive produce. Here are your high gas releasers:

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Cantaloupe

  • Figs

  • Honeydew

  • Kiwi

  • Plums

  • Avocados

  • Bananas

  • Nectarines

  • Peaches

  • Tomatoes


Keep those fruits and vegetables away from these gas-sensitive ones:

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Cucumbers

  • Eggplant

  • Lettuce/leafy greens

  • Peas

  • Peppers

  • Squash

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Watermelon


Fresh herbs can keep fresh for about 5 days in their original bag. You can extend the life a few days by storing them in a cup of water (stems down) with a bag draped loosely over the leaves. If you think that any of your fresh produce or herbs are going bad and you wonít have a chance to use it, freeze it! Most produce can easily be frozen for use later. Fresh herbs can be dried or frozen.


In the last part of my food waste series, we will discuss proper storage and storage length for meats, dairy, and eggs.


*Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. ďHow We Can Keep Produce Fresh LongerĒ Infograph.  https://www.eatright.org/-/media/homefoodsafety/multimedia/infographics/howcanwekeepproducefreshlonger.pdf?la=en&hash=D387914E8666C724EEC19D25EB3066DE1DB35D42

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