Stop Wasting Food With This Hack For Your Fridge's Crisper Drawer


Sep. 14 2023, Published 4:23 p.m. ET

Most refrigerators have two “crisper” drawers designed to keep your produce fresh. But do you know how to use them correctly?

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When used correctly, those drawers can actually help prevent food waste. TikTok creator and climate activist Shelbizleee (aka Shelbi Orme) shared a fridge crisper drawer hack that can help you stop wasting food and money.

Refrigerator crisper drawers filled with produce.
Source: Getty Images
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This video explains how to use your fridge crisper drawer.

In an April 2023 TikTok video, Shelbi Orme shows exactly how to use your fridge crisper drawers and the slides on them that enable you to indicate whether the drawer contains vegetables or fruit.

I’m sure I’m not the only one stumped by these little slides. While you may think it’s pretty clear whether something is a vegetable or fruit, things like avocados and tomatoes always tend to muddy the waters.

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“Keeping the slides open allows humidity to escape,” Orme says in the video, as she moves the slide to the “fruit” position. “This is where you keep things that rot easily.” She holds up broccoli (obviously NOT a fruit) and a couple of apples.

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“Closing the slide, on the other hand, keeps humidity in,” she adds as she moved the slide to the “Vegetable” position, “which is good for things that wilt.” Inside the drawer, she has parsley, cilantro, and a bag of baby spinach. (Now I know why my spinach always goes bad so quickly).

"This is the best way to store food properly,” she concludes.

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Here are some other tips to reduce food waste.

According to Feeding America, about 119 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the U.S. A family of four wastes at least $1,500 of food annually, per Eat Pallet. Here are some other things you can do at home to reduce the amount of food you waste.

Store food properly.

Besides using your fridge crisper properly, there are other ways to store your food to help it last longer so you aren’t throwing things away soon after you buy them. Different foods have different requirements for keeping them fresh longer. The website and the USDA’s FoodKeeper App are good resources for learning how to keep food fresh as long as possible.

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A refrigerator with food.
Source: iStock

Only buy what you need.

I am guilty of overbuying food and have tried to limit how much is in my fridge at any given time. When you stock up on items at the grocery store, chances are pretty high that you’ll end up throwing food out. If you plan out your meals and only buy what you need for a week at a time, you’ll waste less.

Embrace leftovers.

If only one or two people are in your household, one dinner can last you a couple of days. Store your leftovers in clear containers in your refrigerator so it’s easier to see what’s inside them. If you know you won’t eat those leftovers within a few days, stick them in the freezer, where they’ll last longer.

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