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How To Properly Store Foods In Fridge

Knowing how to properly store foods will help in preserving foods, help them last longer, and have less waste.

From keeping our produce crisp to ensuring our dairy products don’t spoil prematurely, our refrigerator plays an integral role in maintaining the quality and safety of our food.

So, let’s dive deeper into understanding the best practices for using this essential tool in our cooking routine!

How to Properly Store Foods in fridge


Proper food storage involves maintaining the right temperature, separating raw and cooked foods, and using airtight containers for leftovers. Remember to consume perishable items before their expiry dates. These practices ensure food safety, reduce waste and maintain food quality.

A full refrigerator with doors open.

Proper food storage is a science in itself. The refrigerator, when used correctly, slows down the bacterial growth that causes food to spoil.

For the ideal environment, keep your fridge temperature between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Organize your food thoughtfully—place raw foods, especially meats, on the bottom shelves to prevent their juices from contaminating other items.

Also, avoid overstuffing your fridge, as the cool air needs to circulate efficiently. An organized fridge is not just visually pleasing—it’s an essential part of food safety and waste reduction!


Leftovers are like culinary time capsules, providing quick meals for future you. Storing them correctly ensures they remain appetizing and safe to eat.

Use airtight containers instead of simply covering dishes with foil or cling film. This helps preserve the food’s taste and texture while preventing any strong odors from permeating your fridge.

Make sure to consume leftovers within three to four days, as they can become unsafe to eat after that period, regardless of how well they’re stored.

Meat, Fish, and Poultry

Storing meat, fish, and poultry requires special care due to their high risk of bacterial contamination.

These items should always be placed in sealed containers or plastic bags. This not only prevents their juices from dripping onto other food items but also helps maintain their quality.

They should be consumed or frozen within a couple of days of purchase to ensure their freshness and safety. When freezing, tightly wrap these items to prevent freezer burn, which can affect their taste and texture.

Learn how to freeze meatballs or how long does steak last in the fridge to ensure food safety.


Dairy products can spoil quickly if not stored correctly. Always check and adhere to the use-by dates.

Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products should be kept on the fridge shelves where the temperature is more consistent, not in the door.

Cheeses prefer a slightly warmer part of the fridge, like the vegetable drawer, which provides the right conditions to maintain their texture and flavor without accelerating spoilage.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables have varied storage needs. Generally, most vegetables prefer the crisper drawer, which helps maintain their freshness and crunchiness.

Many fruits can be stored in the main compartment of the fridge, but remember, not all fruits and vegetables are meant for the fridge.

Some, like tomatoes, bananas, and potatoes, are better off on the counter, where they can ripen naturally and maintain their flavor profiles.

But remember, some fruits, like apples, can give off a gas that can make other produce ripen faster. So, it’s often a good idea to store them separately.

You can find out how to store just about any fruit or vegetable on my blog. A few of the most commonly asked ones are how to store eggplant, how to store pears, or how to store apples.

When it comes to properly storing food in the fridge, it’s essential to follow the right techniques to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage.

For comprehensive guidelines on storing various types of food, including vegetables, you can refer to our article on how to store vegetables.

It provides valuable insights on temperature, organization, and storage methods to help you optimize your fridge space and keep your food, including vegetables, at its best for longer periods.

Cut Fruit and Veggies

Once cut, fruits and vegetables require extra care to maintain their quality. Store them in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to prevent them from drying out or absorbing other smells in the fridge.

Additionally, once cut, these items should ideally be consumed within a few days to enjoy their best taste and nutritional benefits.

Fresh herbs

Herbs can really lift your dishes to new flavor heights, but they can be a bit delicate. For hardy herbs like rosemary and thyme, wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel and store them in a resealable bag.

For tender herbs like basil and cilantro, trim the stems, place in a jar with water, cover with a plastic bag, and store in the fridge.


Condiments have a longer shelf life than many other foods, but they still need some care. Most can be stored in the fridge door, but remember to check the labels.

Some need to be refrigerated after opening, while others are fine in the pantry. And always keep your condiments sealed tightly to keep them tasting their best.

Food CategoryStorage PracticeStorage LocationDuration
LeftoversStore in airtight containersRefrigerator3-4 days
Meat, Fish, PoultryStore in sealed containers or bagsRefrigerator2 days or freeze
DairyStore on the fridge shelvesRefrigeratorCheck use-by date
Whole Fruits and VeggiesStore in the fridge or on the counter depending on the typeRefrigerator/CounterVaries
Cut Fruits and VeggiesStore in airtight containers or bagsRefrigerator3-4 days
HerbsStore in a jar with water or in a damp paper towelRefrigerator1-2 weeks
CondimentsStore in the fridge door or pantry depending on the typeRefrigerator/PantryCheck use-by date

Why Proper Food Storage Matters

Proper food storage is crucial for several reasons. It not only prevents food spoilage, thus reducing waste but also ensures food safety by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.

It plays a significant role in maintaining the quality and flavor of your food, directly impacting the taste of your meals.

Plus, with an organized fridge, meal planning and preparation become much easier, saving you time in the long run.

Frequently asked questions about storing foods in fridge

The ideal temperature for storing food in the refrigerator is between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This slows bacterial growth and helps keep food safe and fresh.

Leftovers should ideally be consumed within three to four days. After this period, even if stored correctly, they may not be safe to eat.

Dairy products like milk and yogurt should be stored on the fridge shelves, not in the door, where the temperature fluctuates more.

Raw meat should be stored in sealed containers or plastic bags on the bottom shelves of the fridge to prevent cross-contamination.


Understanding how to properly store food in the refrigerator is a key step in becoming a home coo. It not only ensures your food stays fresh and tasty but also helps in reducing waste and saving money.

So, next time you unpack your groceries, give a thought to where things should go. Your future meals (and your wallet) will thank you!

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