Did you know that there is a right way to store your produce to keep them fresher for longer? If you’ve been stockpiling daily necessities during the pandemic like we are, chances are that your refrigerator is crammed full of groceries such as milk, meat and vegetables.
However, the humidity that comes from an overcrowded fridge can severely shorten the lifespan of fresh food. Read on for pointers on how to store produce to prolong its freshness and have better-tasting food.
Click on each of the links below to jump to each type of produce, and pointers on how to keep them fresh for longer:
Store dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt at the coolest part of your refrigerator as it is especially sensitive to temperature change and heat. Place them on the bottom shelf instead of at the door compartments which is usually the warmest part of any fridge.
A common daily necessity and enjoyed by people of all ages, milk’s shelf life is particularly difficult to prolong. Store it in the coolest part of your fridge, away from any strong-smelling foods as milk may absorb it. You should aim to finish the milk within 3-5 days of opening it to prevent bacterial growth.
Plant-based milk (almond, soy, coconut, hazelnut, rice)
Even though most plant-based milk we find is taken off shelves at room temperature, it is essential to store it in the refrigerator once it has been opened. Keep it near other dairy products at the back of the bottom shelf. Plant-based milk spoils less quickly, you may keep it for about 5-8 days at 3-4 degrees celsius after opening it.
Ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk
If unopened, UHT milk can be stored safely at room temperature, out of sunlight due to it having undergone heat treatment that eliminates harmful bacteria. However, you should refrigerate it all the same once opened. It should be used within seven days.
Did you know you shouldn’t store eggs in the egg compartment by the fridge door if you want them to last longer? Like milk, they’re heat-sensitive, so store them in their original packaging or in our slim and reusable Klear Egg Box Holder at the coolest part together with your milk or yoghurts.
Alternatively, you can also store them at room temperature on your counter, but only if it was sold in the same conditions (not chilled). Eggs last 7-10 days unrefrigerated and 6 weeks refrigerated.
Although we don’t necessarily have to store butter in the fridge (popularised by American culture), it is best to, considering Singapore’s warm weather year-round. Consider buying salted butter instead of the unsalted variety as the salt helps with preservation by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
- Butter in a tub usually used as spread lasts 6-9 months in the fridge. Followed the ‘best by’ date.
- Sticks of butter last 1-3 months when stored properly in an airtight container to keep it from turning bad faster. In the freezer, butter can stay safe to eat for up to a year when frozen, unless stated by the use-by date.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can be a hassle to organize and store properly, especially in bulk. To make matters worse, the ethylene gas that some fruits like apples produce can cause others around it to ripen and spoil even faster! Here are some ways to prolong the life of your fruits, herbs and vegetables.
Maximise the use of the humidity drawer
Make use of the humidity drawers to save space throughout your fridge while prolonging the life of your fruits and veggies. The drawers provide a space for produce that needs to be separate from the rest.
Using the controls between high and low humidity modes, use high humidity for vegetables that tend to wilt easily, such as spinach and herbs. A more common use for the low-humidity mode in the crisper drawer is to store produce that emits more ethylene gas, such as bananas and apples.
Refer to our infographic below to find out what to keep in each mode.
Know what to refrigerate
Most fruits and vegetables can withstand the surroundings on your countertop for a few days, but if you don’t plan to cook them just yet, it’s a good idea to store them in your fridge or even freezer to prevent them from rotting in Singapore’s heat and humidity.
Here’s a list of common fruits and vegetables and how long they last on the countertop and in your freezer respectively.
Apples should be kept separate from ethylene-sensitive food like broccoli, pumpkin, and other leafy greens unless you’re trying to ripen them more quickly. Store them in a vented container like our Klear 2-Way Fridge Storage Box at another part of the fridge instead. Apples stay fresh for about a week on the counter and 6-8 weeks in the humidity drawer of your fridge.
Citrus fruits like oranges should be kept cool and dry in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They stay fresh for 7-10 days out of the fridge out of its packaging and 2 weeks in the fridge in a vented container/mesh bags. Avoid storing oranges in an airtight container or a sealed bag. This would only speed up molding
Note: Do not store oranges near apples as they cause each other to ripen faster.
Grapes usually come in a well-ventilated bag or box, which is already ideal for storage. Remove any stray or rotten grapes before storing them in the crisper drawer, and only wash them when you plan to consume them immediately. Grapes can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Don’t plan to eat them anytime soon? Rinse the grapes, dry them thoroughly, then place them in the freezer for a couple of hours for a healthier alternative to candy that both kids and adults will enjoy!
Pears that are ripe last in the fridge for a week. The lower temperature will slow down the ripening process to keep them from becoming too mushy, although you should eat them as soon as they’re ripe.
If they’re ripening too slowly, store the pears on the countertop, and put a ripe apple or banana together with it in its packaging to quicken the process. You can check if a pear is ripe by pressing the neck of the pear near the stem. If it’s ripe, the pear will give way to the pressure.
Berries (strawberries, blueberries) last up to a week in the fridge with this storage trick. Unpack them from their original box, soak them in a vinegar and water solution (1:3 ratio) for 5-10 minutes. Vinegar helps to kills off mold spores on the berries. Afterwhich, rinse them and lay them flat on a towel to dry them.
Once the berries are fully dried, store them in a loosely sealed, paper towel-lined container. Watch the video below to learn how!
Note: For raspberries, they are much more fragile. Eat them fast and wash them when you plan to consumer them. You can place a paper towel in its original box to absorb excese moisture.
Bananas, if unripe, should be hung outside to ripen. Once ripe, store them in the fridge for up to 9 days. A common hack is to wrap the stems of the bananas in plastic wrap or foil to limit the over-ripening from ethylene gas.
Avocados, if uncut and ripe, can stay in the fridge for about 2 weeks. To ripen unripe avocados more quickly, leave them on the counter for a few days as the cold slows the process down.
Vegetables and Herbs
Spinach shouldn’t be washed before refrigerating as it spoils faster when exposed to too much moisture. Instead, use paper towels to dry it thoroughly before storing it in a loosely sealed box. You can even add a paper towel between layers of spinach in the container in the fridge to remove excess water. This way, the spinach should keep for about 5-7 days.
Bok choy, similar to spinach, should be dried properly with a paper towel after separating each stalk from the base. Roll them up gently in a new paper towel and store in a bag or box with vents to prevent the trapping of moisture. The bok choy should last about 5-6 days in the fridge.
Kale is a much hardier variety, which allows it to stay fresh in the fridge for slightly more than a week. Like other leafy vegetables, dry the leaves thoroughly, and place them in a loosely sealed bag or container and use them as needed. You can even blanch and freeze this trendy vegetable for up to 8 months if you aren’t planning to use it just yet — check out this recipe to find out how!
Lettuce should be stored in the crisper drawer, if possible. Wash the lettuce only when you’re ready to use it, as they’re sensitive to later. It lasts a day or two in the fridge, or until they start to smell, change colour, or change in texture.
Tip: Wrap the leaves of the lettuce in paper towels with a few toothpicks to absorb excess moisture.
Cabbages last 2 weeks in the fridge and 2 months in the crisper drawer. Like lettuce, only wash each leaf thoroughly right before cooking. A safer way to judge the freshness of leafy vegetables is to observe a change in colour, odour and a moist, slimy texture.
Use our Klear Adjustable Dividers Fridge Storage Container which has multiple grooves to customise the box to your needs to store your vegetables together to make way for more in your fridge!
Root vegetables (garlic, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, pumpkins) should be stored in a cool, dark and dry area outside the fridge for about a month. Keep it in a large, opaque and ventilated bin like our Rattan Storage Basket (With Handles) to prevent too much light from getting to your produce, which could turn potatoes and garlic bad more quickly.
Broccoli and cauliflowers are relatively low-maintenance but spoil fast in 4-5 days. Simply leave them wrapped in a moist paper towel in the fridge, but don’t wash them as it encourages mould growth.
Herbs (cilantro, basil, chives, rosemary, mint) can be stored in a number of ways.
If you plan to use your herbs within 4-5 days, store tender herbs such as cilantro and parsley in a small jar of water in the fridge (as you would for flowers) to keep them from wilting. Watch the video to learn how!
On the other hand, hardy herbs with woody stems like rosemary and thyme should be washed, dried thoroughly, then wrapped tightly in a damp paper towel and again in a zipper bag to seal in some moisture.
If you’re planning to store them for months, pair your fresh herbs with olive oil and freeze them in our Tetris Ice Cube tray for more convenience when cooking dishes. These will last for about 12 months if you transfer them to a tightly sealed container.
It is essential to store meat properly in the fridge to stop bacteria from spreading and causing food poisoning.
Poultry: Package the meat properly by taking it out of its original packaging and placing it in an airtight container so as to minimise exposure to its surroundings.
Separate it into individual portions (depending on how much you usually cook at a time), either using different freezer-safe bags or a freezer-safe container with multiple compartments. This will prevent contamination when you remove each portion of meat to use.
Placing meat in an isolated corner of your fridge will prevent bacteria from spreading to your other groceries. Meat should ideally be stored at 4 degrees Celsius or below, and it can be kept for about 6-12 months. Make sure to never refreeze thawed meat as it changes the texture of the meat and encourages bacterial growth.
Seafood: Remove your seafood from its original packaging, rinse under cold water then pat dry with clean paper towels. Then, store in freezer-safe containers like our Seafood and Dumpling Stackable Freezer Container that has three tiers for easy separation so you can take individual servings out to prevent contamination.
Refer to the infographic below to find out how long meat keeps in both your fridge and the freezer.
Saving leftover food is a common practice everywhere, but can quickly become clutter in our fridges. Ensure the leftover food is cooled down completely before separating them into individual portions in our Silicone Collapsible Food Container (3pc Set) to store them so you have a meal ready to go for the next day!
Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, simply cover the original dish with our Reusable Food Cover (6pc Set) made using easy-to-wash silicone material and you’re ready to go! We recommend storing these containers at eye-level so you remember to consume them more quickly as compared to having it lurking at the back of the top shelves.
If you’re unable to finish the leftovers within a few days, freeze the rest to prevent bacteria growth.
Tip: A good practice would be to use labels to note down the date that it was prepared, so you know which ones to consume first.
Leftover snacks and loaves of bread still in the plastic they came in can be easily sealed with our Food Clip Sealer (2pc Set) so you never lose any of them.
Drinks And Canned Food
While canned products are way more low-maintenance than others on the list, they can easily become lost in the depths of your fridge covered by the rest of your groceries. Instead, gather them in our Klear Can Drink & Beer Fridge Organizer that has plenty of space for (two of) everyone’s favourite beverages!
Watch how we restock drinks in the fridge below!
Storing your produce the right way not only prolongs its shelf life and gives your food a better taste, it also saves you money in the long run, so give these pointers a try! Do you have any unique storage hacks that help preserve the freshness of food? Share it with us below.