Are your refrigerator crisper drawers a hodgepodge mix of fruits and vegetables packed together so tightly you have a hard time knowing what's in there? Or have you always struggled to figure out where to store things if you have multiple drawers that have humidity settings?
Over the years, I've developed a series of just three simple questions that I ask myself when putting my produce away. These questions help me figure out where things go so that I can easily find them later. My drawers are no longer mysterious bins of food, so hopefully my method can help you out too!
1. What requires humidity for storage, and what doesn't?
Tempting as it may be, you can't just jam all your produce together into your drawers in any combination. Things that wilt, like greens and lettuces, require humidity in order to stay fresh, whereas things that rot, like fruit, should be stored in low humidity. Another thing to keep in mind is that some produce (like apples) emits ethylene gas, so you don't want to store them with produce that is sensitive to the gas.
If you happen to have more than one crisper drawer, designate one for low humidity and one for high, then adjust the humidity settings accordingly. If you only have one drawer, use it for high humidity, since the other open refrigerator shelves are naturally low in humidity.
Figuring out what goes where might take a bit of time and research in the beginning, but once you know, it'll be second nature when you're putting away your groceries. It also makes locating produce a lot faster since it's always in a designated drawer.
2. How fragile is this?
Once you know which drawer or space the produce is going into, it's time to hone in on that drawer itself. I pack the drawer the way I would a grocery bag: heaviest things on the bottom, lighter things on top.
Sturdy, heavy things like carrots, beets, cauliflower, and celery go on the bottom, then I usually layer things like zucchini and artichokes in the middle. The top is reserved for leafy greens, lettuces, and herbs, so they don't get crushed.
3. When will I use this?
If you're like me, sometimes I have more produce than drawer space, and I don't want to keep packing and potentially crushing things in there. I also don't like it so jammed that I have to remove or push aside 10 things before I find what I'm looking for.
So if I'm running out of space, these three categories of things get moved out of the drawer onto the regular open shelves:
- Things that will be used in the near future. If I'm going to be eating it in a day or two anyway, it'll be okay outside of the humid environment and be easier to grab when I need it since I don't even need to open a drawer.
- Things that need to be eaten up soon. I also move things that are almost past their prime out of the drawer so that I don't forget to use them up.
- Snacking produce. Fruits and vegetables that are designated for snacking are taken out of the drawer to free up more space, which I actually like since it's a visual reminder to eat more fruits and veggies!
These three simple questions have really helped me keep my crisper drawers under control so that I use them effectively. A lot of it is just common sense, and taking just a few minutes' time to think through things when I unpack my groceries has kept many a head of lettuce from being crushed or forgotten.
How do you pack your crisper drawer?