Hello tidy fridge, good-bye food waste!

Hello tidy fridge, good-bye food waste!

Follow these simple tips and eliminate food waste by organizing your fridge.

It is estimated that 35.5 million tonnes of food are lost or thrown out each year in Canada. This includes 11.2 million tonnes of food that could be eaten or donated if we reduced the root causes of food waste.

Are you up to the challenge and better manage the food in your fridge? Here’s how.

More ergonomic fridge

Adjust the height of the shelves and drawers of your refrigerator so that it is organized efficiently to store your groceries and not according to the configuration suggested by the manufacturer.

It’s all about optimal space management.

Stackable containers

Airtight containers make stacking food easier and organize storage better.

Transparent containers are even better: you can see what’s inside and thus avoid food loss.

Cut up fruit and vegetables (melons, pineapples, papayas, etc.) that take up a lot of space and put them into containers. Not only will you have the week’s snacks almost ready to go, but you’ll also reduce the potential for waste.

Avoid having duplicates by combining same foods together in one container.

The art (and science) of tidying up your fridge

Did you know that the temperature in your refrigerator is not the same everywhere?

There are areas that are colder than others. Organize your fridge contents according to the temperature zones.

Fridge door

This is where the temperature is highest: between 6 °C and 8 °C.

Put eggs, butter, drinks, sauces and condiments here, rather than perishables.

Drawers for fruit and veggies

Today’s fridges often have two drawers which allow you to adjust the humidity setting.

Organize your fruit and vegetables according to the humidity level that suits them best.

Low humidity

High humidity

Apples

Salads

Bananas

Strawberries

Avocadoes

Water melons

Honeydew melons

Spinach

Cantaloupe melons

Broccoli and cauliflower

Kiwis

Cucumbers

Tropical fruits such as mangos, papayas, pineapples, etc.

Fresh herbs

Pears

Sweet peppers

Centre shelf

This is the best place for:

  • Cheeses
  • Unopened dairy products
  • Ready-to-serve dishes prepared with fruit or vegetables

Top shelf

This is the coldest part of the fridge, with a temperature of between 0 °C and 4 °C.

The top shelf is best for items that go off more quickly:

  • Uncooked meats and fish
  • Dairy-based products
  • Deli meats
  • Ready-to-serve dishes, leftovers or dishes that are thawing

What is the best way to preserve food?

  • The ideal temperature for a fridge is between 0 °C and 4 °C.
  • Make sure you seal all containers properly.
  • Do not jam pack the fridge to the point where you can’t see what’s in it.
  • Move the least fresh items to the front. That way you won’t overlook them and you’ll remember to use them up in the next meal.
  • Label leftovers with the date on which they were made or with the date you opened any canned foods.
  • Don’t take the “best before” date as gospel. Before discarding anything, check out the Best Before and Health Canada guides to find out the shelf life of food items.
  • Keep your fridge spotless to prevent the growth of bacteria. Wash it with soapy water or with a little bicarbonate of soda.

Make a meal planner

  • Plan your meals for the week according to what you have in the fridge, using the foods that perish quickly first. The Food Network website has some good meal ideas that can be made from just a few leftover ingredients.
  • Take stock of what’s in your fridge, freezer and cupboards before making your grocery list.
  • Buy only what you need.
  • At the grocery store, stick with your list and don’t succumb to temptation.

Prepare and freeze

  • Wilted vegetables are just as tasty in soups.
  • Over-ripe fruit is perfect for stewing, in smoothies or pies.
  • Boil up some home-made broth with the chicken carcass before discarding it.
  • Use leftovers for lunch boxes or freeze them in individual portions