When it comes to food waste, it really starts with how you shop and store your food when you return from the grocery store. Perishable foods like dairy, fruits and vegetables need to be stored right to last longer.

Here are some tips for making the most of your refrigerator:

  • Milk and other dairy products should be stored on a lower shlep in the fridge, where it’s coldest.
  • Use the “crisper” drawers. Every refrigerator is different, but you probably have settings on your drawer for High or Low humidity. This setting either opens (low) or closes (high) a hole in the drawer.
  • Most veggies – Leafy greens, broccoli cauliflower, carrots, celery, asparagus, green beans, fresh herbs, strawberries – prefer high humidity
  • The low humidity drawer works well for apples, pears, citrus, grapes, peaches, and most fruit.
  • For best flavor, tomatoes belong on the counter! If you enjoy them cold, it’s okay to store in the refrigerator after they’ve ripened a couple of days on the counter. Once cut, you can put them into the fridge.
  • Citrus can also last a while on the counter, but will last longer in the refrigerator.

Ethylene is not your banana’s friend

Produce that will rot should go into the low humidity drawer. Produce that wilts should go into the high humidity drawer.

Fruits and veggies emit ethylene, a gas that hastens ripening. Ethylene-sensitive fruit, like berries, should be stored away from high ethylene producers like bananas, apples and pears. That’s why a mixed fruit bowl isn’t a great idea. Store apples and bananas away from other fruits.