Storage ideas to make your groceries last longer

Written by Anthony Hill on 16 April 2014

As a nation the cost of our weekly shop is going up, and yet we’re throwing away more food than ever before. Do you ever find that when you come to use your fresh ingredients they’ve already gone off, even though you only went to the supermarket a day or two ago?

Sometimes the way you store your fruit and vegetables can make all the difference when it comes to making them last longer. The ethylene released by some of the fruit and veg is to blame for a lot of wastage, but humidity and other factors can also contribute to food going off quicker. There are a few easy tricks you can follow to avoid wasting food and money, so we’ve made a handy list for you.

  • Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature as the fridge can make them rot quicker. Keep them away from any source of heat such as the sun or the stove. 

  • Onions stored in tights can last as long as 8 months. Put the onions in tights and tie knots between them. Hang them up and cut them out as you need them. This is also a great way of reusing laddered tights.

  • Chop up spring onions and freeze them in a plastic bottle. Don’t forget to make sure they’re completely dry, otherwise they might get stuck together and get freezer burn.

  • Oily herbs like thyme should be loosely tied together and hung in the open air.

  • Berries will last longer if they’re washed in a solution of one part white or apple cider vinegar and ten parts water. Don’t worry about your berries tasting like vinegar as the mixture will be very diluted. Wash your berries in the solution, drain, rinse and store in the fridge. Raspberries will last for a week or more, strawberries almost two weeks. 

  • Don’t store onions with potatoes as they’ll spoil faster. Keep them in a cool and dry place. 

  • If you rub some butter on a slice of cheese, it will prevent it from drying out. Store it in the warmest part of the fridge (vegetable or cheese drawer), wrapped up in wax paper and then placed in a plastic bag. 

  • Aromatic herbs can be frozen in olive oil to make ice cubes that will be useful for cooking. Just pop one or two cubes in the pan and you’re ready to cook that meal! This will work best with rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage. Basil, mint and dill should always be used fresh. 

  • Bananas will last longer if they’re hung from a hook, as it will reduce the points of contact on its surface that make bananas go bad. Alternatively, wrap the crown with some cling film, as it will help them last 3-4 days longer. 

  • Citrus fruits are best kept in the salad drawer or in a mesh bag in your fridge.

  • Running your lettuce through a salad spinner will keep it dry and fresh for longer, as it’s moisture that causes withering. Store it in the fridge wrapped in a towel or paper towel. 

  • Celery, broccoli and lettuce will last longer if you wrap it in aluminium foil before you store it in the fridge. 

  • Clean and disinfect your fridge often. There will be an army of fungi and bacteria left behind even after removing something that’s gone off. The best way to clean the interior is with a natural cleaning solution, that won’t contaminate your food with unwanted chemicals. Try a solution of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water. To keep it odour free, place an opened box of baking soda or a dish of freshly ground coffee. 

  • Keep your ginger in the freezer – it’ll last longer and it’ll be easier to chop and grate.

  • Mushrooms should be kept unwashed in a paper bag if you want them to last longer. This way moisture won’t be trapped and mildew won’t grow so quickly.

  • Avocados should be stored in a paper bag on the counter. No need to refrigerate. 

Do you have any suggestions of your own?  Please comment below.

Filed under Money Saving Ideas

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

14 thoughts on “Storage ideas to make your groceries last longer”

  • Ann-Marie Cox

    April 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Thank you very much for your tips for storing vegetables and fruit. My vegetables and fruit always seem to start rotting by the time I come to use them causing wastage.

    Reply Report comment

    • Sara Doucette

      April 29, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Hi Ann-Marie, thank you very much for your comment. I am glad our tips are useful, stay tuned for more!
      Kind regards,

      Reply Report comment

  • Rachel Crout

    April 29, 2014 at 10:00 am

    My apologies for criticising this important information, but berries and avocados aren’t in a “typical” fridge – are they? – and if on a budget, not many people use butter. Apple cider vinegar isn’t a store cupboard ingredient for many young households too. I have a compost bin, and most of my wasted food is put in there – this IS an investment without a doubt!

    Reply Report comment

  • Terry Cuttell

    April 29, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Good tips.

    Reply Report comment

  • Ebtissam Jebari

    April 29, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Very good tips indeed. I will most definitely try it.

    Reply Report comment

  • Rene Samways

    April 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Stayfresh Longer Bags from Lakeland are a must if you want to keep your fruit & Veg longer. I have used these bags for some years now and I can keep food longer sometimes up to 6 weeks for fresh Veg and fruit.

    Reply Report comment

    • Sara Doucette

      April 30, 2014 at 8:25 am

      Hi Rene
      Thank you for the suggestion, we’ll definitely will be trying that one out.

      Reply Report comment


    April 30, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I consider payplan to be of excellence with provision of services to clients such as myself

    Reply Report comment

  • trish barnett

    May 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I have finally found the best way to prevent waste. After 40 yrs oh housekeeping!
    I do a menu for the whole week and THEN I do my shopping list for on-line delivery.
    I ONLY buy what I need for that week`s meals.
    Amazing how much less you spend.
    Also, by shopping on-line for groceries you are not tempted into “special offers” and “whoopsies” which you don`t really need.
    Try it – it really works.

    Reply Report comment

    • Samuel Jepson

      May 2, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Hi Trish,

      Great advice! I think we’re all sometimes guilty of buying that extra item or two that we don’t really need!
      Thanks for commenting.

      Kind regards,

      Reply Report comment

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