Common Mistakes in Food Storage - Healing Practice

Reasonably purchase, store and cool food when hot

In summer, many foods spoil particularly quickly, such as fruits and vegetables. Stored in the refrigerator, the shelf life of many foods is extended. But there are also differences depending on whether the products are in the right place in the fridge. For some foods, refrigeration can even make them less edible.

Experts from the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) give advice on how to keep edible foods warm and what to consider when shopping in the summer.

Examine the races during your races

Fruits and vegetables in particular should be carefully checked for freshness directly at the supermarket. In some cases, perishables are already starting to mold on the shelves due to the heat. The Federal Nutrition Center advises buying only small amounts.

Apples and bananas make fruits and vegetables spoil faster

Among other things, storing them with apples and bananas means they spoil quickly. This is because these fruits emit ethylene gas, which causes other types of fruits and vegetables to age faster.

Broccoli, cucumbers and tomatoes are particularly sensitive to this "ripening gas". They should therefore always be stored separately from apples and bananas.

keep bread fresh

Bread stays fresh and lasts longer when stored in a ceramic or clay container. When stored in the refrigerator, bread does not spoil as quickly, but it can become rather dry and tough. Sandwich bread can also be frozen in portions.

Watch out for the cold chain

Especially on particularly hot days, it makes sense to maintain the cold chain. Perishable foods such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs should, if possible, be brought from the supermarket in a cooler and placed directly in the fridge, the BZfE experts recommend.

Cold areas in the refrigerator

Inside the refrigerator there are different cold zones which, if used correctly, can fight against food waste. Fish and meat, for example, belong to the lower zone because it is colder there.

Fresh dairy products can be stored in the middle of the refrigerator. Cheese and leftovers can be placed on the upper level. Fruits, vegetables and salads are best placed in the lower crisper drawer. Butter, drinks, sauces and eggs have their place in the fridge door.

Many types of fruit, such as kiwis, peaches and plums, stay fresh much longer in the refrigerator and are also protected from pesky fruit flies, which can spread through the kitchen at lightning speed.

What does not belong in the fridge

However, some types of fruits and vegetables also do not tolerate cold in the refrigerator. Bananas, for example, brown faster when refrigerated, tomatoes, peppers and melons quickly lose their flavor in the refrigerator.

Common mistakes when using the refrigerator

Although refrigerators are among the biggest energy consumers in German households, many people do not use them efficiently, warns the BZfE team.

This was also confirmed by a study by the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, for which more than 700 German households were asked about their usage behavior at the start of 2020.

About half of respondents open the refrigerator more than ten times a day. Each opening increases the energy consumption of the devices because hot air enters, which must first be cooled again.

Nearly half of respondents (46%) regularly put hot food in the refrigerator. Here too, the device must work against the heat. Letting leftovers cool ahead of time saves energy and money.

In addition, when buying a refrigerator, in addition to energy efficiency, you should also pay attention to the appropriate size of the device. Many people have an oversized refrigerator in which part of the cooling surface is regularly not used. (vb)

Author and source information

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


Federal Food Centre: What goes where in the fridge? (published: 07/13/2022), bzfe.deDeutsche Gesellschaft für Hauswirtschaft: Socio-demographic differences in consumer behavior regarding the use of refrigerators and freezers in Germany (published: 05/16/2022),

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.