You’re Probably Storing These Foods Wrong

You’re Probably Storing These Foods Wrong

Food, just like certain medications or beauty products, requires proper storage. Most people think they know how to put away groceries, but a little refresher never hurt anyone. Whether you know it or not, you are probably storing a few foods improperly. We aren’t here to judge; rather, we just want to help you prevent food illness, save money, and avoid food waste. If the cost of food continues to rise, you should know how to keep it fresh for as long as possible. 

When you come home from a grocery haul, you should know what to put in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Knowing what goes where can help ensure that your hard-earned money doesn’t go to waste. Not to mention, proper food storage is a great way to keep you and your family safe from food-related illness. 

Eating spoiled food can make you sick, so storing it properly can actually help you be a healthier person. When you store food incorrectly, harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, can multiply and lead to food poisoning. Storing food properly, though, can inhibit the growth of these pathogens. Below, you’ll learn how to store common food items properly and see if you were storing them wrong all along. 


Do you know what an onion cellar is? It is a space that helps extend the lifespan of these essential allium vegetables. Most homes do not have an onion cellar, so what’s the next best way to store them? Keep onions away from direct sunlight and heat sources (like a stovetop). Consider storing onions in a cool, dark cabinet away from the stove because proper storage can extend lifespan to 60 days. Don’t store onions near other foods that are sensitive to ethylene gas, because onions emit that and it will accelerate the ripening process of other foods. 


Health experts encourage people to eat nuts and seeds because they contain heart-healthy fats, minerals, and protein. They may help lower cholesterol and improve brain health, making them a great snack option if you are on the go. Nuts are not shelf-stable for long periods because they contain unsaturated oils, meaning they can go rancid if you don’t eat them within a couple months. Don’t stash nuts in your pantry, like most people do. Instead, store a small amount out for eating and freeze the rest until you are ready to enjoy. That is especially important for walnuts!

Coffee Beans

Similar to other types of beans, coffee beans contain fats or oils, which can go rancid at high temperatures. That is why coffee connoisseurs advise people to store their beans in the freezer for optimal freshness. Most people don’t do that, though. It is very common to store coffee beans in a jar on the kitchen counter or in the pantry. For the coffee beans that you do store in a dark, cool, airtight container, you can keep it in the cabinet. Store the rest in the freezer and fill the jar up when needed. 


People like to buy bananas at varying stages of ripeness. No matter how you buy them, you probably store them on your countertop and just watch as they ripen quicker than you want them to. Bananas are at the top of the food waste list, according to supermarket researchers in Sweden. Researchers note that bananas produce ethylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process. If you want your bananas to last a little longer, your best bet is to refrigerate them, only when you see brown spots forming. If you want to preserve them for a lot longer, peel and freeze bananas because you can use them for smoothies. Whatever you do, don’t store bananas and apples next to each other because both fruits will ripen too quickly. 


If you keep your spuds in the refrigerator, you just made mistakes one, two, and three. Storing potatoes in the refrigerator can increase levels of acrylamide, a chemical that forms during high-temperature cooking and is possibly harmful to humans. For this reason, you should store potatoes in a paper bag in a pantry, cupboard, or similar cool, dry place. Although potatoes have similar storing condition requirements to onions, don’t store potatoes and onions together. The high moisture content of potatoes can increase humidity levels in the pantry, which can cause onions to leak, and nobody wants mushy onions.

Maple Syrup

A common pantry item and natural sweetener, maple syrup needs to be stored in the fridge after you open it. That may come as a surprise because most people store their maple syrup in the cupboard or pantry. Real, pure maple syrup is not the same as pancake syrup, which is essentially processed ingredients. Real maple syrup is a natural product and lacks the preservatives that pancake syrups have. For that reason, exposure to light and heat can cause real maple syrup to go bad.

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