If you’re wondering what grinds my gears, the answer is almost always having to deal with food waste. Being in a cost-of-living crisis has made me more frugal with my spending habits, and it physically pains me when I’m forced to throw something away that’s gone past its best-before date.
If you didn’t know already, learning how to store food properly in the kitchen is the best way to reduce food waste and save yourself some pennies, but it’s also crucial for maintaining hygiene and keeping safe from harmful bacteria.
If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ve most likely been bombarded by the ’Fruit Prep’ trend. With over 172.4 million views, these aesthetic videos show people washing and ‘sanitising’ their fruits, placing them in containers and popping them in the fridge.
Check one out here:
You might be thinking, why not? Well, experts at Magnet have warned against this method of storage, as it speeds up the growth of microorganisms and makes fruit go off a lot faster.
Amanda Douglas, Head of Product Sustainability at Magnet comments, ‘’Even outside of this TikTok trend, it’s relatively unknown that you shouldn’t wash your fruit before refrigerating it. It only increases the chance of premature spoilage and leads to unnecessary food wastage.’’
Here are some of her top tips for keeping your fruit safe, and lowering food waste.
Stop washing your fruit before putting them in the fridge
“Storing freshly washed fruit in the fridge introduces extra moisture which speeds up fruit decay and deterioration,” Amanda states. “It essentially creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive in, which certainly won’t extend the fruit’s shelf life and is likely to result in you having to bin it.”
She explains that the impulse to clean fruit is great, but to try and do it only before eating or cooking them. Doing this will prolong the lifespan of your fruit, all while ensuring it’s safe for consumption.
How to store your fruit to prolong its lifespan
“Although TikTok tells us to buy glass containers to store our produce, this is better suited to making your fridge look organised rather than storing your fruit practically. It’s best to store fruits in their original packaging,” she explains.
“You’ll notice that most fruit packaging for the likes of berries and grapes, are designed with holes in the bottom. These holes allow excess moisture to drain away from the fruit and facilitate ventilation which prevents mould growth.’’
Shop from the back of the shelf
Amanda confirms the age-old question: should you shop from the back of the shelf? Her answer: absolutely.
“When it comes to purchasing fruit, the natural inclination is to grab the first one you spot at the supermarket,” she says. “However, it’s a wise choice to select items from the back of the shelf instead as supermarkets typically arrange produce with a longer sell-by date towards the rear of the display.”
Store them in the fridge properly
“Fresh fruit such as berries are best kept in a lower drawer in your fridge,” she explains. Being the coldest part of the fridge, she says the temperature is ideal for preserving the freshness of fruit – not to mention the lack of cross-contamination.
“It’s crucial to ensure that fruit is kept separate from any raw meat or fish that could potentially leak or drip onto it.’’
After learning this, it’s probably best to ditch the ‘Fruit Prep’ trend and listen to the experts, even if the videos I’ve watched look extremely aesthetically pleasing (it’s probably not worth the food waste, TBH).