One of the secrets to keeping food at its best for as long as possible is knowing where to store it. There are lots of common misconceptions about where certain things should be stored, so today we’re busting some myths in the name of saving food! Some of them might surprise you…
The chances are that you have a fruit bowl full of apples and that’s the way you’ve always done it. But, perhaps surprisingly, the best place to store apples is actually the fridge! This keeps them fresher for longer, so you’ll have longer to use them than you would if they’re left out in a fruit bowl, and you can take them out of the fridge and bring them up to room temperature if you’d prefer not to eat them chilled. If you’re worried that storing your apples in the fridge means it won’t be as easy for your little ones to grab a healthy snack, you can always keep a couple in the fruit bowl and the rest in the fridge.
It’s true what they say about ‘one bad apple spoiling the barrel’, so keep an eye on the apples and separate out any fruit that’s ripening faster than the rest. Apples also freeze well - take a look at our guide to foods you never knew you could freeze to find out more!
Some people believe that bread should be stored in the fridge to help it last longer, but the reality is that this will actually make it go stale quicker! Keep your bread in a cool, dry place – like a bread bin or cupboard – and once you’ve opened it, re-tie it or fold the wrapper under the loaf to keep it fresh. Don’t forget to clean your bread bin or cupboard regularly to make sure there aren’t mould spores floating around.
Of course, you can also store sliced bread in the freezer and take an individual slice or two out at a time when you fancy a piece of toast. You can toast it from frozen!
3. Citrus fruits
It’s a similar story here to apples: while many of us have fruit bowls full of them, the fridge is actually the best place to store citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. Store them in the fridge, and bring them up to room temperature when you’re ready to use .
Tempting though it is to store eggs in a pretty wire egg run or crate on the worktop, it’s best to store them in the fridge. Leave them in their box to protect them. Eggs are also another one of our foods you never knew you could freeze!
Garlic is a bit of a funny one. Good Housekeeping reckons that garlic keeps longest at 15°C in moderate humidity, so while storing it in a cool, dry place is best, your garlic may not keep as long if the air is too dry. The fridge keeps control over the humidity levels – and don’t forget, you can still eat it even if it starts sprouting.
Another fruit bowl favourite, grapes will keep fresher for longer when stored in the fridge. You can still use them in smoothies even once they’ve gone wrinkly, and they can also be frozen for use as ice cubes or to whizz up in your smoothie maker.
Please note: frozen grapes are not for children, as they are a choking hazard.
With the exception of spring onions (which should be kept in the fridge), all types of onion keep best in a cool, dry and dark place – and if you can pop them into a cloth bag, even better.
As a nation, we waste 1.2 million tomatoes every day – mainly because we don’t use them in time. But the good news is that storing them in the fridge will keep them fresher for longer! Bring them up to room temperature before eating if you prefer not to eat them chilled – some say this also improves the flavour.
Finally, bananas are one of the few fruits that should be kept in the fruit bowl rather than the fridge (the other being, perhaps surprisingly, whole pineapple). They’ll go black if you put them in the fridge, so keep them somewhere nice and cool, such as in a cupboard or on the side.
For lots more advice on what food should be stored where, check out our food storage A-Z guide!