Tips & Techniques

37 Resources for Selecting & Storing Your Groceries

May 23, 2017

Storing fresh ingredients properly and in the right place extends their lifespan—and helps reduce waste. More often than not, our partner-in-crime is the fridge, and we partnered with KitchenAid to share all our resources for food storage.

It's a little cringe-worthy to think about, but try to recall the produce, fruit, or meat you've tossed in the past few weeks (or months, if you're better at using up the bits and bobs). It's probably more than you, or any of us, would like to admit. A lot more.

Flush with fresh herbs? Remember to store your bunches straight up (like we're doing here in our FreshSeal™ Herb Storage Container in our new KitchenAid fridge). Photo by James Ransom

The USDA states that "in the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40% of the food supply." There are many factors that contribute to this percentage, including retailers' waste and the waste that happens along the production line, but food discarded (for one reason or another) at home is a huge contributor.

If you can, keep meats extra-cool in a drawer with temperature control (like we're doing here in Full-Extension Custom Temperature-Controlled Pantry Drawer in our KitchenAid fridge). Photo by James Ransom

In light of this overwhelming number, I'm constantly trying to find better, more consistent ways to keep what's in my fridge and pantry fresh, so I eat more of it (instead of sadly tossing the questionably-dated eggs or weird, old flour). Here, all in one place, are little, easy-to-do everyday steps I consult regularly on how to select and store food effectively, from all the nooks and crannies of the Food52 archives.

A Good Place to Start

Also, take a gander here for lots of good nuggets on storing produce so it lasts longer.

Fish & Meat

When it comes to fish and meat, the fridge (and freezer) is your friend. Unless you're using fresh fish the day you buy it, stick it in the freezer—it'll keep longer, and with more flavor intact. Fresh meat is a little more forgiving—you'll get a few days out of it stored in the fridge—but if you want to freeze it, you can keep it for a couple months.

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One good rule to always follow is as simple as can be: If it smells bad, don't buy—or eat—it. More tips on how to pack it, where to put it in the fridge, and defrosting below:

All the Produce

With all the different types of produce and fruit out there, it can be mind-boggling trying to figure out how to store each to maximize their freshness: Should citrus be stored in the fridge? How long should onions be kept? Will berries thrive on the counter? What's the best way to store fresh herbs?

Here's a short, visual guide to use when storing your produce and deciding what to eat first.

But if you want more details, it's all here—plus, some ways to use up what's going bad:

Dairy Diaries

While the code to storing dairy isn't so hard to crack (fridge it!), it can sometimes be difficult to identify the freshest stuff, like eggs or milk, so you get as much time out of them as possible. Don't think you can store butter after you've browned it? Think again.

Cheese Gets its own Section

So how do you store cheese without it getting hard around the edges, or flat in taste? What to do with all the nubs and bits hanging around in the back of the drawer instead of tossing them in the trash? Most of the time, for me, it's a "just stuff it in your face" kind of thing, without thinking about texture, or grate it onto whatever pasta dish is happening that night. But there is always a better way, like below:

Notes from the Bar

It's pretty predictable that in every movie or TV show you've watched, all the alcohol is stored in a fancy cupboard or out to show what's available. Half-filled bottles of vermouth, amaro, and more litter the bar—but is that really the right way to store leftover or half-finished bottles of booze? (In short: More of it actually needs to go in the fridge than you think).

Bits and Bobs, Mostly in the Pantry

If you haven't rooted around in your pantry for a while, it can be a mildly scary place to think about diving into. (How many boxes of old baking soda will there be? Will the beans still be good? How will I know?) However, if you know how to properly store your flour, nuts, olive oil, sugar, and so on, I can bet you know what'll happen: They'll last longer, and taste better at that. Each type of pantry item takes a bit of reading up on to understand what it responds best to, so do your research here:

If you're a food storage whiz or a produce whisperer, please share your storage tips in the comments below!

KitchenAid®'s Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator has a roomy interior, adjustable, slide-away shelves, and under-shelf storage, which makes storing all sorts of fresh ingredients a cinch. KitchenAid is our new Test Kitchen partner, so you'll be seeing them around these parts more often.

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I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


I U. May 24, 2017
I portion my meat, fish, seafood and freeze. Then I vacuum seal and put back in freezer. Keeps for more than a year and tastes super fresh.
luvcookbooks May 24, 2017
Emily c also recently wrote about how to store vegetables.
ktr May 23, 2017
I'm surprised you say that meat can only be stored for a few months. Everyone I know, including my family, buys part of a cow and stores it in the freezer for a year until you buy more the next year. Or, you process a deer, moose, etc at keep it until the next year when you hopefully get another one. Especially if you vacuum seal your meat, it should last a year without an issue.