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How long fresh foods really last in the refrigerator (INFOGRAPHIC)

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Get the most out of your groceries with this handy food expiration date guide

If you find yourself going through the fridge before your weekly shopping trip and throwing out plenty of food that was fresh and tasty mere days ago, don't worry — there's still hope.

With a little planning ahead and some insight into the shelf life of fresh foods, you can make sure you use your food when it's still fresh so you can eliminate waste and save some money.

Take a look at our top five tips for storing fresh foods below, then take a peek at our handy food shelf life chart so you know exactly how long you can expect to keep your groceries around.

1. Always cut the tops of root vegetables.

Always cut off the tops of root vegetables like carrots, beets and radishes before storing in the refrigerator. Leaving the tops on will draw moisture from the veggies. You can store the leafy tops wrapped in paper towel in a plastic bag if you plan on eating them.

2. Never thaw meat on the counter.

You should always try to plan ahead and thaw meat in the refrigerator overnight. If you find yourself in a bind and need to use frozen meat for dinner tonight, try using this method and thawing in water.

3. Don't keep bread in the fridge.

It dries out the bread and makes it go stale faster. Bread will usually last around four days at room temperature, so separate loaves into how much you think you'll eat within that time frame, and freeze the rest.

4. Store produce separately.

Certain fruits and vegetables should be stored separately. Most fruits produce ethylene as they ripen, a gas that can cause vegetables to spoil prematurely. Apples, cantaloupe, nectarines and plums, to name a few, can cause veggies like broccoli, peas, cabbage and beans to go bad fast. Get the full list.

5. Refrigerate produce after cutting.

Even when dealing with produce you normally store on the counter, if you're saving leftovers, they should be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator so they don't spoil.

Get the most out of your groceries with this handy food expiration date guide
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

More food storage tips

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Is your food storage killing you?
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