Refrigerator organization 101: 4 tips for reducing food waste

(BPT) - Fresh ingredients can turn any meal into a masterpiece. But there’s nothing more disappointing than finding fresh, farmer’s market produce spoiled in your refrigerator before you use it.

Food waste is a growing concern for Americans. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over one-third of all available food is thrown out, wasting about one pound of food per person every day.

Did you know that how you organize your refrigerator can prevent food waste by keeping your items at peak freshness? Simply keeping items in view can be half the battle, but new innovations in refrigeration make the whole process easier.

These four tips for refrigerator organization will help ensure your items are stored correctly, helping your food stay fresher, longer.

1) Reduce overcrowding

Many foods are commonly refrigerated that do not need to be, which leads to overcrowding and the likelihood that items may become lost or buried. Knowing the best place to store your food for maximum freshness enables you to more efficiently organize your refrigerator.

By storing fruits like whole melons on the counter, you'll not only optimize flavor, but also have more space in the fridge. The same goes for tomatoes and avocados.

Bread dries out in the refrigerator and nuts can lose their flavor. Store these items in a cool space along with your potatoes, onions and garlic, again freeing up space in the fridge.

Condiments like hot sauce or soy sauce containing a lot of vinegar or sodium (which prevent bacterial growth), as well as coffee, can be stored in your pantry. Storing these foods elsewhere means more room for the items that really need refrigeration so you can maximize space.

2) Store produce correctly

Avoid washing fresh vegetables or berries before refrigerating, as moisture can spoil produce faster. Store produce that emits ethylene gas — part of the natural ripening process — like apples, ripe bananas and tomatoes, separately from ethylene-sensitive produce like peppers, leafy greens, peaches and avocados. Storing them together can cause the sensitive produce to spoil faster.

Tip: Choose one drawer for fruits and one for vegetables with heavier items on the bottom to prevent delicate items from being crushed.

Look for refrigerators with innovative systems that help preserve produce. New Bosch counter-depth refrigerators, for example, utilize a four-point FarmFresh System that features technologies to help keep your food fresher, longer. VitaFreshPro offers pre-programmed freshness settings that automatically optimize temperature and humidity levels at the touch of a button to remove the guesswork. A FreshProtect Filter slows the ripening process by absorbing naturally occurring ethylene gas emitted from fruits and vegetables. MultiAirFlow circulates cool air for a consistent temperature, while AirFresh Filter absorbs unwanted odors, ensuring optimal freshness.

3) Make things easy to see

Store leftovers and other foods in clear storage containers so everything is visible, marking containers with the date. Avoid shelving shorter items behind taller items, which makes them virtually invisible. Instead, store items on shelves suited or adjusted to their height, arranging similar items together so they’re easier to find.

So, how can the right refrigerator make things easier? The Bosch French Door Bottom Mount counter-depth refrigerator brings your contents into view with LED lighting from corner to corner. Its customizable FlexBar provides a solution for typically unused space in the upper cavity by raising items up and offering the ability to rearrange shelves so small condiment jars, eggs, wine bottles and more have an easy-to-see-and-reach home. The refrigerator also provides a full-width chiller drawer, split adjustable shelving and gallon door bins for larger items.

4) Avoid freezer burn

Reducing air exposure prevents freezer burn. Double-wrapping items in foil or plastic wrap helps, but any food left in the freezer too long may develop freezer burn. Although eating food with freezer burn isn’t harmful, it can ruin the ingredient’s texture and flavor.

Tip: Date frozen food and use oldest items first.

While the design of many bottom mount freezers can result in a dark bottomless pit that is difficult to organize, the new Bosch French Door Bottom Mount refrigerators offer an illuminated three-tier freezer design, allowing you to open the freezer and easily see everything quickly. With three layered drawers that easily slide in and out, no matter what you choose to store in each tier — a large turkey in the bottom, Friday night pizzas in the middle or butter and Popsicles on the top — this thoughtful design ensures nothing will become lost or buried in the freezer.

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