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6 tips for a cleaner fridge and less food waste

The refrigerator is a magical box; a modern convenience that allows us to keep food fresh much longer than we would be able to otherwise. But it is also a master of deceit that can easily swallow up the abundance of foods we feed it, turning them into alien life forms and things that look like they belong on the forest floor.

This is especially true in the era of the ginormous fridge (and one of the reasons we advocate for smaller refrigerators around here). Big box shopping doesn’t help, either.

What can you do? 

1. Putting the wrong produce in the fridge

Not all produce wants to be in the refrigerator. Keep tomatoes, melons, potatoes, garlic, citrus, and onions out – the fridge can affect their taste and texture. Only put bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, and avocados in the fridge if they are threatening to become over ripe. (The peel on bananas will turn black in the fridge, but the flesh will be ok.) In the meantime, apples look good in a bowl on the counter, but they prefer the fridge.

2. Washing produce incorrectly before you store it

Many people swear by doing weekly meal prep and washing all the produce as soon as they get home from the market. This can make using up your vegetables easier – but if they are not thoroughly dried, the residual moisture can lead to bacterial growth, mold, and the dreaded slime. It can also help, if you wash some produces only before using them up.

3. Letting your greens become slimy

Much like herbs, greens can become slimy. One trick is to throw a paper towel in the bag with them to help absorb moisture. Once it is damp, remove it and let it air dry so you can use it in the next batch. (We don’t use paper towels at my house, but I have had luck using small absorbent dishtowels.)

4. Putting new food in front

The oldest food should always take center stage. When you get home from the market, take the old food out, put the new food in back, and then replace the old food in the front.

You can even create a box like this:

You can follow the shops "First in First out" rule, and in addition to that, make soon to go items more visible. Image source: Inhabitat.com

5. Hiding the leftovers

You know what doesn’t get eaten? Little bits of leftovers that are hiding in covered dishes or packets of aluminum foil in the back of the fridge. Invest in a good set of see-through glass storage containers that allow your leftovers to plea for your attention.

6. Not having a "scraps" container

A little leftover onion here, a half a carrot there – it is easy to toss disparate prepped leftover bits nonchalantly into the fridge … or trash. If you keep a storage container or bag in your produce drawer, you always have a place for them to gather. It can work as a wonderful secret stash when throwing a meal together; the bits can go into soups, sauces, beans, omelets, pasta dishes, even the glorious leftovers tart. Check the container regularly to make sure nothing is going south; and if things start to go sad or limp, make a beautiful vegetable stock with it all.

For more tips see the original article on TreeHugger.com!

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