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Less food waste

Fresher and tastier for longer: How to store food

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After you have planned your shopping, taking the time to store your food properly is decisive in ensuring it stays fresh. Sorting your purchases once you get home will help to keep your fruit and vegetables, dairy products, bread, pasta and meat fresh for longer. Some foods need to be chilled, while others just need to be kept at room temperature. We’ve put together some tips outlining when and how you can store food so that everything stays fresh for as long as possible.

Why exactly does food go bad?


​​​​​​​Whether warm or cold, moist or dry, not all foods like the same conditions. If stored incorrectly, food will lose its flavour and spoil more quickly. This is due to the physical, biochemical, chemical and microbial influences and changes to which products are exposed. Food can also be damaged by pests and vermin. 

Microbial spoilage is caused by bacteria, mould and yeasts. They cause food to rot, ferment or develop mould and sometimes develop pathogenic substances as a result. These processes and the storage life of food products depend in particular on physical conditions such as warmth, cold and moisture.
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In addition, enzymes within food trigger biochemical changes, such as vitamins, pigments and flavourings breaking down. Fat turning rancid is due to chemical spoilage triggered by chemical reactions within food constituents. External factors such as light and air can accelerate this process.

Hygiene Refrigeration

Hygiene, refrigeration and storage: It all starts with shopping.

Before you get your shopping home and start to put it all away in the right place, making sure that everything is suitably hygienic and chilled starts in the supermarket. Key points to remember:
 

  • Check that all packaging is intact.
     
  • Make sure that chilled foods are kept cool, such as with reusable cool bags, to prevent germs from multiplying when produce gets warm.
     
  • Only put frozen and perishable products in your trolley at the end of your shop, just before heading to the checkout. Speaking of the checkout, soft and delicate produce such as eggs, bananas and grapes should be the last things you place on the conveyor belt. This means they will be at the top of your bag and will not get crushed by heavier items.
     
  • After finishing your shop and before sorting out your purchases at home, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs.
     
  • Keep storage areas such as shelves, pantries and your fridge clean and wipe them down regularly. The best way is to use warm water with a little detergent. Adding a dash of vinegar essence can prevent mould.
     

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Freezing effectively: How to store food in the freezer

If you want to store food for a particularly long time, your freezer or the freezer compartment of your fridge is the best option. The low temperature and reduced water activity mean that microorganism reproduction is significantly reduced or even eliminated. However, make sure to clean, wash and blanch fruit and vegetables before freezing them. Ideally, you should pack food as airtight as possible and in small portions. It’s also worth labelling bags with their contents and the date to help you keep on top of things. However, even frozen food cannot be stored indefinitely. Fruit and vegetables will keep for 11 to 15 months, fish and fatty meats will keep for 6 to 9 months, and beef and poultry can be frozen for 9 to 12 months. ​​​​​​​

Freeze first, enjoy later

Turn frozen fruit into delicious smoothies or smoothie-bowls. Our recipe ideas tell you how to.

Rapsberry and goji berry smoothie2go with lime and coconut oil

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Acai berry smoothie bowl

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Red fruit and coconut smoothie bowl

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Chilling correctly: How to store food in the fridge

Most fresh foods should go straight in the fridge when you get home. A cool ambient temperature of 4 to 8 °C inside fridges helps to keep perishable foods fresh for long periods. This is because the low temperature slows cell metabolism in foods, impedes the growth of microorganisms and curbs chemical and enzymatic spoilage. The “FiFo” principle (first in, first out) can help you keep track of what’s fresh and what isn’t. In other words: Put new food at the back, bring older food to the front. ​​​​​​​

How to store your refrigerator properly

Fridges have various temperature zones. So, to help foods in the fridge stay fresh for as long as possible, make sure to place them on the right shelf. We set out exactly what belongs where in our fridge tips.

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Fridge door

What belongs in the fridge door

The fridge door is one of the warmest areas in a fridge. The temperature here is usually between 8 and 10 °C. It is suitable for storing ready-made sauces, juice, drinks, dressings, milk, butter and eggs

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Crisper drawer

What belongs in the crisper drawer

The clue’s in the name: the crisper drawer keeps fresh produce crisp. Crisper drawers are separated from the rest of the fridge, usually by a glass pane, which keeps the temperature at around 9 °C. This is perfect for storing vegetables, salad and various types of fruit. Remember: Produce that is sensitive to cold, such as exotic fruits and vegetables with a high water content, do not belong in the fridge at all.

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Bottom shelf

What belongs on the bottom shelf

The temperature of the bottom shelf, just above the crisper drawer, is no higher than 2 to 3 °C. You should store easily perishable food on this shelf, such as meat, fish, poultry and deli salads.​

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Middle shelf

What belongs on the middle shelf

The middle shelf is usually about 5 °C, making it ideal for dairy products like yoghurt, milk, quark and cream. It’s also the perfect place for cheese and sausages.

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Top shelf

What belongs on the top shelf

The top shelf of a fridge is comparatively warm. The temperature here is usually between 8 and 10 °C. You can store butter and jams at this mild temperature. Leftover food you intend to eat soon can also be kept here, as this area is perfect for preserving flavour.​​​​​​​

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Storing foods at room temperature in the cupboard or pantry

Pasta, rice, canned goods and the like don’t benefit from being stored in the fridge. Instead, it’s fine to store them in a cupboard at an average of 15 to 20 °C. It’s important that food is not exposed to direct sunlight or warmth, e.g. by being kept near a hob or oven. High temperatures and moist air generated when cooking have a negative impact on the storage life of even long-life products. When tidying your cupboards or pantry, remember: put new products at the back and bring older food to the front so that it gets used first. Once you open a packet, seal it securely or transfer the contents to a sealed container. Just like when freezing food, make sure to label containers with dates – so you don’t forget what’s inside.

Storing products in the right place: What food belongs where

Whether warm or cold, moist or dry, not all foods like the same conditions. If stored incorrectly, food will lose its flavour and spoil more quickly. Let’s look at the best place to store different foods so that they stay fresh for longer.

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Bread & baked goods

Keeping bread fresh for longer

Keeping bread fresh means preventing it from drying out, such as by storing it in a bread bin or a stoneware container with a lid. Many people store bread in plastic bags. The disadvantage of this is that fresh bread from the baker very quickly turns soft when stored in airtight packaging. For this reason, it’s best to keep crisp baked goods you plan to eat soon unsealed – such as in the bag they came in from the baker.
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However, drying out isn’t the only way bread can spoil. If the surroundings are too moist and air cannot circulate, water can accumulate and cause mould to develop, particularly in the case of sliced bread. Any crumbs lying around in a bread bin can also lead to mould growing. Remove crumbs every few days and wipe down the container with some diluted vinegar. In warm, humid weather, you can even keep bread in the fridge if necessary. This protects against mould, especially in the case of white bread. If in doubt, you can always freeze bread and bread rolls before defrosting them at a later date, ideally at room temperature.

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Fruit & vegetables

Apples, carrots, salad etc.: What belongs in the fridge and what doesn’t

Almost all vegetables can be stored in the fridge. Aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes and pumpkins are the only ones you shouldn’t keep cold. Fruit is a little more complicated. Some types of fruit only stay fresh and retain their vitamins when chilled. Others, however, are very sensitive to the cold. As a rule of thumb, you should chill indigenous fruits like apples, cherries and plums. Exotic fruits like mangos, bananas and citrus fruits don’t belong in the fridge. Exceptions to this rule are figs and kiwis, which are quite at home in your crisper drawer.
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Over time, some fruits and vegetables develop a ripening gas called ethylene. This causes other fruit and vegetables nearby to age and spoil more quickly. The highest ethylene producers include apples, apricots, plums and tomatoes. For this reason, it’s best to keep them separate.

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Dairy products

Yoghurt, butter and milk: How to keep dairy products fresh

Yoghurt, milk and butter should make their way from the supermarket to your fridge at home as soon as possible. Ideally, you should keep them well sealed and in their original packaging: Put butter on the top shelf of the fridge door, and keep yoghurt and milk in the middle of the fridge.
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UHT milk only needs to go in the fridge once opened; it can keep at room temperature for several weeks beforehand. You should consume raw milk straight from the farm within 2 to 3 days at most. Pasteurised fresh milk often stays fresh for up to a week when kept sealed and for 2 to 3 days when opened. Due to its high fat content, you can freeze butter before defrosting it in the fridge door when you need it.​​​​​​​

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Cheese

Cheese is best stored well-ventilated and moist, but cream cheese likes it cool

With the exception of cream cheese, all types of cheese need to be able to breathe and so shouldn’t be kept in an airtight container. It’s best to keep pre-packaged cheese in its original packaging, in special cheese paper or sandwich paper, or in cheese preservers. This stops them from passing on their aroma and prevents edible mould from forming on hard cheese. Another option is cling film, but you should never use airtight plastic containers. Cheese is happiest on the middle shelf of the fridge. Cream cheese, however, should be stored in a much cooler area – on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Wedges of cheese can last up to three weeks in the fridge. Packaged sliced cheese and cream cheese soon dry out once opened and lose their flavour, so it’s best to eat them within a week of opening.​​​​​​​

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Pasta

The best way to store pasta, spaetzle and gnocchi

You can store dried pasta for up to a year. It’s important to store it at room temperature and keep it dry and well sealed. Why? Well, like other dried goods – such as flour, muesli and tea – dried pasta is particularly susceptible to pests, such as food moths.

Fresh dough-based products like pasta, spaetzle and gnocchi are extremely susceptible to germs. When well chilled, they will keep in the fridge for three or four days. Proper food preparation is a key factor in ensuring that food stays fresh for as long as possible. Simply make sure to cook pasta only until it is al dente – firm to the bite. Spätzle and gnocchi are ready as soon as they start to float to the surface. You can keep leftover pasta on the top shelf of the fridge, where it will stay fresh for one or two days. It’s best to keep cooked pasta in sealed containers so that it doesn’t become hard.

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Meat

Things to remember when storing meat

Meat, poultry and sausages are foods that spoil very quickly. If at all possible, you should avoid breaking the cold chain or only do so for a very short time. The best way is to take a cool bag with you to the supermarket. At home, place meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge straight away, as this is the coolest part of the fridge.
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If you buy meat in plastic packaging, you should replace this before putting it in the fridge. Remove the meat from the packaging, dab it dry with kitchen paper, wrap it in baking paper and place it in an airtight container to protect against germs. Beef can be stored for 3 to 4 days; veal and pork will keep for 2 to 3 days, but poultry only stays fresh for 1 or 2 days. Take care when it comes to minced meats – if possible, you should eat these on the day you buy them. Always defrost frozen meat in the fridge and remember that this can produce defrost water.​​​​​​​

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Fish

The best way to store fish

Fish is even more perishable than meat. As a result, it’s best to eat fish straight after you buy it. If you buy fresh fish from the fish counter, don’t leave it in its packaging: store it in a glass or porcelain container, cover it with cling film and ice, and store it in the fridge for 1 day at most.
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Store pre-packaged fish from the deep-frozen section in your freezer and keep an eye on the best-before date! The smoking process helps smoked fish stay fresh for longer. You can keep this in your fridge, covered in cling film, for up to around 3 days. Always defrost frozen fish in the fridge and remember that this can produce defrost water.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Little hint: You don’t need to throw away food past its best-before date

 

  • Most food has a best-before date (BBD) on its packaging. However, food doesn’t automatically go bad just because this date has passed. This is the date until which the manufacturer guarantees typical product characteristics, such as taste, aroma, consistency and colour.
     
  • It’s important to distinguish between the best-before date and the use-by date for perishable foods such as raw fish, mince and fresh poultry. You should not eat products after their use-by date and should throw them away instead.
     
  • Take a look, have a taste, smell food for yourself: trust your senses! It’s often easy to tell whether food is still good enough to eat once its BBD has passed.
     

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Did you know?

None of us would ever plan to throw away one-third of the food we buy. However, the statistics show that this is precisely the amount that ends up in the bin, unused. According to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), this corresponds to 1.3 billion tonnes of discarded food globally each year. This is an inconceivable waste of food when you consider that there are 690 million people around the world who are starving.

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Braun stands for durable products and sustainable design. We believe that, in the struggle to protect the environment and maintain our quality of life, both today and in the future, every action counts – no matter how small.

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