Should You Really Decant Fridge Ingredients Into Storage Containers?
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Should You Really Decant Fridge Ingredients Into Storage Containers?

Jan 31, 2024

By Wilder Davies

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We’ve spent some time talking about decanting ingredients in the past. And by decanting, we mean taking store-bought foods out of their original packaging and storing them in airtight containers. We’ve established that most of your pantry goods should, in fact, be stored in airtight containers—to prolong freshness, keep them away from pests, and make finding everything a little more streamlined.

But what about foods that belong in the refrigerator? You may have never considered using storage containers in the fridge, and that makes sense. Unlike pantry decanting, fridge decanting isn't necessary for keeping out pests—the vacuum seal on your fridge does a good job of that. But the truth is, some of the ingredients you keep in the pantry, like nuts and nut flours, belong in the fridge. And to make the fridge neat and organized, and all of the ingredients accessible, we recommend the same decanting treatment you’d use in the pantry. Plus, fridge decanting helps create ideal storage conditions that extend the freshness of foods like berries and herbs, helping you get the most out of your groceries and reduce food waste.

Below you’ll find the major food categories that are best-suited for fridge decanting, as well as the products we recommend for handling the storage.

We’ve written about how the natural oils in nut butters go rancid when exposed to moisture and oxygen at room temperature, which is why you should probably be refrigerating your peanut butter. That same logic applies to whole nuts and nut flours, so they should be kept in the cool fridge environment. Nut butters come in airtight jars, but nuts and their flours tend to be packaged in flimsy paper or plastic bags that are difficult to reseal. Decanting keeps them safe from exposure to oxygen—and prevents spills.

And while we’re on the topic of flour, if you’re incredibly passionate about flour quality, you might want to consider decanting your standard wheat flour into a storage container and keeping it the fridge. The refrigerated climate slows down the oxidation process and preserves the more delicate flavor compounds. We recommend modular containers that will slide easily onto a refrigerator shelf, like the ones below.

It's always a good idea to give berries a good rinse when they come home from the store, because natural mold spores that might have settled in their many nooks and crannies can spread quickly. But even that might only buy you a couple of extra days. To truly extend the berry shelf life, a small vacuum sealing system, like the Zwilling Fresh and Save, can make that pricey package of raspberries stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Herbs that are especially prone to oxidation or wilting, like basil, parsley, and cilantro, also get an extended lease on life when you vacuum seal them. The fridge environment can actually sap moisture from foods, and vacuum sealing will help keep delicate greens nice and hydrated for weeks. Again, these vacuum sealing containers stack nicely; with them, your fridge will look like an organization blog, and you’ll never root around among the oat milk and bags of apples trying to find your berries.

Eggs do fine in their original containers for preservation purposes, but cartons don't make them particularly accessible. Former food editor Anna Stockwell is a fan of keeping eggs in baskets; she finds them easier to grab while she's cooking—and the eggs look like they’re resting in a beautiful little nest.