Ever open your fridge to find your green onions wilted and your peaches bad after just a few days? Did you know that the areas in your fridge are actually all slightly different temperatures and humidity levels, so different foods do best in different parts of the fridge? Learning proper fridge storage can actually extend the life of your groceries (therefore saving you money), as well as prevent any dangerous cross-contamination. If you're new to this cooking-for-yourself thing, read on for fridge storage 101. 

Fridge Doors

The doors are the warmest place in the fridge. The fridge door is a good place to store things like condiments, juice, soda, and water because they don’t need to be as cold as other items that are more susceptible to bacteria growth. 

It's common for fridges to have compartments in the door to store eggs, however, the temperature of this part of the fridge actually fluctuates too much to safely store them. Eggs will do better in the body of the fridge where they are less affected by the opening and closing of the fridge door

Top and Middle Shelf

These shelves are not as cold as the lower ones, but colder than the fridge door, making them a good place to store things that are ready-to-eat or don't need as intense refrigeration like leftovers, hummus, or deli meat. You can also store herbs on this shelf with their ends in a glass of water. Berries should be stored on the top shelf so as to not ripen too quickly in the humid crisper drawers or become too cold on the lower shelves. 

Bottom Shelf 

This area of the fridge is the coldest and should be reserved for food items that are prone to unsafe bacteria growth, like eggs and milk. Keeping your milk at the back of the bottom shelf is the best idea because it is generally the coldest place in the fridge. It is also a good idea to keep things like raw meat in this section of the fridge, to prevent it mixing or dripping onto other food and causing cross-contamination. 

Crisper Drawers

Crisper drawers are an often overlooked compartment of the fridge that can actually make a big difference in extending the life of your produce. The crisper drawers are extra humid, so they're ideal for fruits and vegetables to retain their moisture.

It's recommended that fruits and vegetables be stored in separate crisper drawers if you have two. Many varieties of fruit produces a chemical called ethylene, which helps fruit ripen. However, the amount of ethylene produced by fruit does not create an ideal environment for vegetables to thrive in. When fruits and vegetables are stored in the same crisper it can cause vegetables to prematurely go bad, or even grow sprouts. 

In general, fridges should not be overcrowded as the air needs room to circulate and keep your food cold. Your freezer, however, can be packed full to prevent the chilly air from escaping when you open the door. Use these tips to make the true transition into adulthood and keep your produce alive a little longer.