What’s the point of the salad crisper drawer in your fridge?

point of a salad crisper drawer in your fridge
Make the most of the salad crisper drawer Natalia Gdovskaia - Getty Images

After doing your big weekly supermarket shop, it can be tempting to get home and shove everything in the fridge wherever it will fit. But knowing how to properly organise your fridge can help you reduce food waste and save money, and a salad crisper drawer can help you with this.

This handy drawer near the bottom of your fridge can help you keep your veggies fresh for longer, so if you're not currently using it, now is a good time to start.

What's the point of a salad crisper drawer in your fridge?

The salad drawer, or crisper as it's also known, is designed to control the humidity in the air around your fresh fruit and veg. Thin-skinned and leafy produce, like strawberries, spinach and lettuce, are best stored in a high humidity environment. By maintaining a more regulated airflow in the crisper, your fruit, veg and salad will stay crisp longer.

The drawer also stops your food from coming into close contact with the back of the fridge, where frost can build up and spoil your produce.

Why use a salad crisper drawer?

A crisper drawer is the perfect way to organise your fridge and allow access to your ingredients, while keeping them fresh.

It can also be handy for keeping certain types of fresh produce separate. Some fruits and vegetables release a gas called ethylene as they ripen. Keep ethylene-producing fruits like stone fruits (peaches, apricots and nectarines), melons, apples, pears and avocados separate from produce that wilts easily, like leafy greens or fresh herbs, and from ethylene-sensitive fruits like strawberries.

Reducing food waste

In the UK, we throw away more than 4.5 million tonnes of edible food a year, which is enough to fill up the Royal Albert Hall 90 times over, according to Love Food Hate Waste. Food waste is a huge contributor to climate change, not least because if it finds its way into landfill, food waste can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as it rots. In fact, food waste is responsible for a staggering 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Being more aware of how and where to store particular foods is the first step in reducing food waste in Britain's fridges.

point of a salad crisper drawer in your fridge
Anchiy - Getty Images

The humidity control in a salad crisper drawer also helps you to keep your lettuce, spinach and kale fresh for longer, meaning that it goes into your belly and not the bin.

Using your salad crisper drawer will help keep your fridge organised, which can also help reduce food waste. When you know exactly what's in your fridge, and where, you're more likely to use what you have before it goes out of date.

Ensuring food safety

Keeping your fridge is well-organised is also vital for stopping the spread of bacteria and preventing food poisoning.

"Preventing cross contamination is key as items may drip onto one another," says Clare Edwards, Home Economist and National Training and Sales Support Manager at Smeg UK. "Meat should be kept away from the salad drawer and every food type should have its own little area. Think like Marie Kondo and declutter your fridge shelves into an organised and hygienic space."

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