We’ve all been there — you’re about to leave for a trip, and a few items remain despite your best efforts to clear the fridge. Maybe it’s some leftover vegetables you didn’t get around to using, or you did some last-minute grocery shopping, completely spacing on the fact that you had an upcoming trip.

Whatever the case, returning to a fridge with spoiled food isn’t the best way to end a vacation. But fear not; you can take some simple steps to ensure your fridge stays stocked and fresh until your return from that long overdue holiday.

Put a paper towel in with your greens

Here’s a valuable tip: when given a thorough rinse, leafy vegetables last longer. So, wash your vegetables before anything else. After that, follow a popular trick employed by the pros, which involves placing a paper towel in your container to store the produce.

The idea behind this neat trick is simple — a paper towel absorbs any excess moisture that causes spoilage and rotting of fruits and vegetables quicker. Keeping your produce dry can help prevent mould and bacteria growth, thus extending the life of your fruits and vegetables. Remember to replace the paper towel when damp if you plan on using this trick when you are around!

Don’t wash your grapes until you want to eat them

When grapes are washed and then stored, the added moisture might cause them to spoil faster, so it’s best to only wash before consuming. Grapes also need plenty of air circulation, so keeping them in the original packaging is wise, as they usually include holes to allow for airflow.

Another helpful tip is keeping the bag or box away from veggies or strong-smelling items; doing so can cause the odours to contaminate your grapes. Once you’re ready to enjoy them, you can wash the grapes in cold water and vinegar.

Make your bread last longer by putting it in the fridge

The refrigerator can be a useful tool for keeping bread fresh for as long as possible. While some prefer to keep bread at room temperature, storing it in the fridge can help extend its shelf life and prevent it from becoming stale. To avoid eating slightly cold and hard bread, which is never enjoyable, it’s best to take it out of the fridge beforehand.

Store rice for a long term in air-tight and cool places

If you plan to store rice for a long time, choosing long-grain white rice over brown rice is recommended. Keep rice in sealed containers, preferably those manufactured from food-safe materials like BPA-free plastic, glass, or metal. This helps prevent deterioration by keeping out moisture, bugs, and air.

Store your rice container in a dry and cool environment as well. Rice should be kept away from sunlight, heat sources, and moisture at all costs, so it’s best to store your rice container in a kitchen cabinet.

Keep your cheese longer by wrapping it

If you’re anything like our editor, Zai, you’ll often travel with food — specifically, cheese. And when it comes to cheese, it’s always best to keep it sealed in its original packaging. But if, for whatever reason, the original packaging is unsuitable, vacuum-sealed plastic wrap or wax paper are great alternatives to keep your cheese fresh!