Here are more of my favourite food items to stock in your kitchen pantry, fridge and freezer and the best ways to store them to keep them fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible. Proper storage also means less food waste!

Avocados: To maximize flavour store avocados on the counter until ripe, and then they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days without further ripening. Avocados continue to ripen once they have been picked because they produce a gas called ethylene. To ripen quicker place them in a brown bag at room temperature. Plastic bags will not work to ripen avocados, and instead trap moisture which can lead to quicker spoilage.

Winter Squash: Keep in a cool dark place or in the fridge for up to 3 months!
Store in a dark, dry, cool place – not in the refrigerator. The colder temperature converts the starch in potatoes into sugar giving them an undesirable sweet taste. If they are stored too warm they will start to sprout.

Onions: Store in a dark, dry and cool place or refrigerate. To keep the strong onion flavour from transferring to other vegetables and fruits (especially carrots, apples, grapes,) wrap onions in foil since they can transfer their flavour easily especially once cut.


Garlic: Store at room temperature in a cool, dry and dark place. Garlic is a bulb (similar to a tulip bulb) and cold fridge temperatures cause sprouting.

Almonds: Thanks to their trusty abundance of antioxidants, almonds have some serious staying power if stored properly. When kept in cool, dry conditions, whole natural almonds can be stored for about two years with no significant loss in their nutritional quality. That’s like an eternity in food years! Storage containers and re-sealable plastic bags are all good storage options.

Flour (whole wheat flour and white flour): Store your flour in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. White flour will keep up to nine months in the pantry. Once the flour bag has been opened, flour should be kept in an air tight sealed container to prevent entry of pests (Psodids).  Also, never mix old flour with new flour.

Whole wheat flour should only be kept in the pantry for up to 3 months, so it is important to only buy the quantity use can use. It does not keep as well as white flour because the oils from the germ can become rancid overtime giving it or the items made with it an off taste. If you want to keep whole wheat flour longer it can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Meat/fish and poultry: Buy cold or frozen foods at the end of your shopping trip to keep them as cold or frozen as possible. Always check the best before date to be sure you are bringing home fresh safe items. Keep raw meat, fish, and poultry away from the rest of your groceries.  I like to think of the front of my cart as being as colorful as possible with all the different produce items and then keep a section of the cart available for raw meats.

It is best to freeze if you cannot use the quantity of fresh you have purchased and refrigerated within two-three days. If buying smaller quantities freeze in the store packaging, and for extra protection to prevent freezer burn place an additional freezer bag on top of store packaging. Freezer burn is the loss of moisture from a food and will make foods tough, flavourless and dry. It is safe to eat foods that have been freezer burned but you may want to cut and discard those portions. To prevent freezer burn, label freezer bags with a sharpie for quick reference so you will know how long items have been in the freezer. If storing in the fridge, place meat, poultry and seafood items on a tray on the lowest shelf to minimize leakage onto other foods.

For cost savings buy in larger quantities and divide into portion sizes that suit your family before freezing. When using a sealable bag, squeeze out as much air as possible. Divide raw meat, fish, and poultry on plastic cutting board that can be sanitized in the dish washer or cleaned with a weak solution of bleach (three cups of water and 1 tsp of bleach). Wooden boards are not ideal for raw meat because they are porous and can soak in meat juices potentially leading to food borne illness.

Poultry pieces, like chicken breast can be frozen for up to six months in a deep freeze.

In a chest freezer whole chicken, beef and pork can be stored for up to 10 months.

Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon should be eaten within two months of freezing.

Never defrost food at room temperature. Leaving food out on the counter encourages the growth of harmful bacteria. Foods can be safely thawed in three ways: in a refrigerator, in a sealed package under cold running water, or in a microwave oven.