Some things don’t play well with others – here’s how to make sure everyone gets along. Most fridges have two crisper drawers, a high-humidity and a low-humidity drawer – look at the sliding vents. Some fruit and vegetables produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen and others are sensitive to it and rot in its presence.
Ethylene-producing fruit, such as apples, apricots, kiwi fruit, papayas, pears and peaches, should be stored in the low-humidity drawer (the one with the vent fully open), which allows the ethylene to escape. Use the high-humidity drawer (the one with the closed vent or the one that doesn’t have a control) to store things such as asparagus, cucumber, lettuce or cauliflower.
Where to store fresh produce in your fridge:
DO: There is a debate about whether you should store eggs in the fridge or not. If you do, don’t put them in the egg holders in the door, the temperature here fluctuates due to constant opening and closing, so rather keep them on a shelf. And bring them to room temperature before baking.
DON’T: Surprisingly, fresh basil is best kept at room temperature. It produces ethylene gas, which degrades green leaves in a confined space. Rather keep it in a glass or small vase of water on your kitchen windowsill, loosely covered with a plastic sandwich bag if you like.
DON’T: Bananas shouldn’t be stored in the fridge. The enzyme that causes ripening is active at warmer temperatures, and the one that causes browning and cell damage works at lower temperatures, which is why they go brown in the fridge.
DO: Obviously, raw meat should be stored in the fridge. But did you know that it should be stored on the lowest shelf? This will prevent any errant juices from escaping and dripping onto other food and contaminating it.
DON’T: Keeping tomatoes in the fridge disrupts the reaction that produces their flavour. Rather store them in a pretty bowl on your kitchen counter – they’ll keep for up to a week if it’s not too hot. If you must refrigerate them, take them out at least an hour before eating them.
DON’T: Storing avocados in the fridge will prevent them from ripening and make them turn black. Store at room temperature until they ripen, then keep in the fridge to stop the ripening process if you’re not going to eat them immediately. If you need to store a cut avo, wrap it tightly in clingwrap still attached to the stone – this seems to prevent oxidisation.