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fresh fruit and vegetables on a bench

Food storage tips

to make your groceries last longer and go further

Did you know that food waste makes up 35% of the average Australian household bin? That’s a lot of food ending up in landfill and a lot of your budget wasted. Here are some simple things you can do to make your food last longer and reduce your contribution to landfill!

The difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates

‘Use by’

Foods that have a ‘use-by‘ date should be eaten or frozen before the end of the date shown. You shouldn't eat them after this date.

‘Best before’

A ‘best before’ date is simply an indication of when a food is at its best and foods can still be consumed after this date - although the quality may not be as good as it once was. Most food banks will take also take expired food up to 6 months past its best before date. [ read more about food donations here ]

The best way to store your food

  • Bread – wrap in paper or plastic and store in a bread tin.
  • Eggs – store them in their original carton: it keeps them safe, slows moisture loss and it means you won't lose track of date on the carton.
  • Flour – transfer it into an airtight container. This will help prevent nasty weevils making your flour their home.
  • Butter & cheese - keep it in the main part of your fridge in an airtight container.
  • Meat & seafood - this will keep for longer in a fridge chiller compartment if you have one as it's designed specifically for colder temperatures. If you don’t have a chiller compartment store at the back of your fridge or freeze items until needed.
  • Bananas – separate the bananas at the stem and keep apart from other fruits as they can speed up the ripening process.
  • Apples - apples will last longer if you store them in the fridge in a plastic bag as this helps retain moistness and stops them shrivelling.
  • Celery & broccoli - wrap in aluminium foil and store in the fridge – it will stay fresh for weeks!
  • Potatoes - store in a cool, dry and dark location. This will prevent them turning green and sprouting.
  • Mushrooms – store in a paper bag and out of the fridge.
  • Herbs – treat them like flowers and store in a cup or jar with the stems in water
  • Tomatoes – store in the pantry as the fridge can cause them to lose flavour and nutrients.

Don’t wash fruit and vegetables until just before you are eating them. By adding moisture to the produce, you are speeding up the ageing process.

And remember buying in bulk isn’t cheaper if half of it ends up in the bin. Buy only what you can realistically use before it expires.