Lining your crisper with a few sheets of paper towel absorbs the condensation that the veggies generate as they chill. Excess moisture can make your fresh foods wilt much faster, so the paper keeps them fresher for longer AND it keeps your fridge cleaner without any extra effort—because no one deserves to spend their hard-earned Sunday wiping up cucumber gunk.
2. Don’t separate bananas before eating.
You may think you’re being super productive by packaging your bananas into day-to-day portions, but actually the trick to stop them going brown is to keep them together as long as possible. Wrap the stems of the bananas in cling wrap when you first buy them and only snap one off when you’re ready to eat it. This should give you 3-5 extra days of perfectly ripe banana joy.
3. Put an apple in your bag of potatoes.
Apple in a bag of potatoes
Sprouted potatoes are at the top of nobody’s to-eat list. It turns out the best way to prevent them turning into rejects from the cast list of Alien is to keep an apple in the same bag–apples produce ethylene gas, which keeps potatoes fresher and firmer, and ready for mashed potato duties for a few more weeks.
4. But keep apples away from other fruits and veggies.
Ethylene gas may be good for potatoes, but it’s bad for almost everything else. Keep apples out of the fruit bowl (and in a plastic bag in the fridge) and you’ll suddenly find that your other purchases keep fresher for longer.
5. Wash berries in vinegar.
Because fate is cruel, berries are both a) pretty much the most expensive fruit and b) the quickest to go moldy by a mile. You can extend their life by giving them a bath of 1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water before you put them in the fridge–this kills the mold spores and bacteria that turn them fuzzy. Just be sure to dry them thoroughly before storing them.
6. DON’T refrigerate your tomatoes.
Seriously. You’ll kill their flavor, and their juicy texture doesn’t survive so well in the cold either. To make the most of your tomatoes, keep them on a counter to allow them to ripen them to their full potential. FYI, other veggies that shouldn’t live in the fridge include potatoes and onions, although they should be stored in a cool, dark place rather than within the sun’s reach.
7. Wrap celery in foil.
In the plastic wrapper you get from the supermarket, celery will last a week or two at most–annoying if you only use a couple of stalks at a time. Swap the original packaging for a sheet of aluminum foil–it lets the gas that spoils your celery escape rather than trapping it, so the celery stays crisp long enough for plenty of hummus-dipping adventures.
8. Treat herbs like a bouquet.
Buying fresh herbs in a bag and keeping them in there is a surefire route to grassy mush town. Instead, use what you need on the day and then store the rest of the bunch in a glass of water on the windowsill. If you’re enough of a successful adult to have dinner guests, you could even put a couple of different varieties of them on the table in place of flowers and let everyone garnish their meals themselves.
9. And when they’re on the turn, freeze them in olive oil.
When the method above has run its course, you can finely chop the herbs, add them to an empty ice cube tray, and then pour olive oil over the top. Freeze until set, and they’ll last for months–to use, just add to a hot pan until the oil cooks down.
10. Keep mushrooms in a paper bag.
Proper greengrocers use these bad boys for a reason–paper bags keep mushrooms fresher much more than the usual plastic tubs do. Moisture is a slime sentence for mushrooms, so storing them this way keeps them clean and dry (and if you leave them too long and find they get too dry, you can give them a quick rinse in the sink and they’ll plump right back up).
11. Let avocado ripen at room temperature.
Nothing is more disheartening than eagerly preparing avocado toast only to find an unripe, unyielding avocado. Safeguard your emotions during brunch time by allowing avocados to ripen at room temperature (you’ll know they’re ready when they yield slightly to gentle pressure), and then transfer them to the refrigerator to halt the ripening process and maintain their readiness. After cutting into an avocado, preserve the remaining half by leaving the stone intact and adding a splash of lemon juice to extend its freshness even more. This way, you can protect your brunch aspirations from the disappointment of lackluster avocados.
12. Put your onions in tights.
While they may not be your most exquisite pair of pantyhose, if you happen to have an old, worn-out pair tucked away, you’ve stumbled upon a clever storage solution for your onions. Simply place the onions individually, tying a knot between each bulb, and store them in a cool, dry spot away from light until they are required. Initially, your roommates might raise an eyebrow at your unconventional choice, but their skepticism will fade away once they find themselves short on dinner ingredients and the trusty old onion-tights come to the rescue.
13. Keep raisins airtight.
Raisin take years to go off properly, but going dry and rubbery takes them just a few weeks if you don’t store them right. Putting your raisins into an airtight jar or tub will keep them fat, moist and perfect for sprinkling over oatmeal. If they do shrivel up, soaking them in hot water for an hour or two will help, but as always, prevention is better than cure.
14. Ice your greens.
You’re too good for limp lettuce and you know it. Re-hydrate and refresh your leaves by separating them and tossing them into a sinkful of iced water for anywhere from 5-30 mins, depending on how sad they’re looking. Voila–your dinner salad no longer earns itself a spot on Dimly Lit Meals for One.