Using the fridge crisper to help fresh food last longer

Katie Liddiard,

Knowing how to use your fridge properly can extend the life of your fruits and vegies and get the most out of your weekly shop!

We have all been there, you’ve stocked up on plenty of fruit and veg for the week and when it’s time to use them, they have wilted or even worse - gone rotten! Storing your produce properly in the fridge can play a vital role in helping prevent this. Read our quick guide on why and how to effectively use your fridge crisper drawers to get the most out of your fresh food.

What is Ethylene gas and how does it affect my fresh produce?

As fruits and vegetables age and ripen, they produce a colourless and tasteless gas, called Ethylene. Over time Ethylene builds up in your crisper drawer as your vegetables and fruits release it into their environment. This accelerates the aging process and can cause rapid deterioration.

Storing your fruits and vegetables correctly is crucial to preventing premature ripening and spoilage.

What are the vents on my fridge drawers and how do I use them?

Have a look inside your fridge, you may notice there is a sliding vent on top of the crisper drawers. These vents are designed for you to adjust the humidity of the drawer, and usually feature a sliding scale to show they can be opened and closed. 

The ‘high’ setting will close the vents and cut off airflow to the draw. This allows the fresh food to sit in the humidity and gases they produce as they ripen.

The rule of thumb is that anything that wilts should go into the high humidity draw to maintain its crispiness.


  • Green Beans

  • Lettuce

  • Arugula/ Rocket

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Carrots

  • Eggplant

  • Peas 

  • Capsicum 

  • Cauliflower

  • Cucumbers
  • Unripe Bananas

  • Strawberries

  • Watermelon

The ‘low’ setting opens the vents, allowing airflow and encouraging the gases and humidity to escape. This decreases the moisture in the drawer. Foods that are not sensitive to moisture loss are perfect for the low humidity drawer as they are often high-ethylene gas producers, so they benefit from the additional venting.


  • Apples
  • Ripe Bananas
  • Small melons
  • Figs
  • Kiwis
  • Plums
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Pears
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines

What about cut fruit and vegetables?

It is good practice to store chopped fruit or veg in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. Squeezing some lemon, lime, orange or even pineapple juice on top will help reduce browning of some fruits. This is because of the acidic nature of these juices.

Don’t overfill your draw

Try to avoid overfilling your crisper drawer. For it to work well, it needs to be around two thirds of the way full. When you pack it too tightly, this doesn’t leave enough room for the fresh foods to breathe. Don’t forget to place the heavier food at the bottom to avoid crushing the softer or more delicate produce! 

If you don’t have enough room, you can always buy fridge containers to extend your capacity to store fresh food that lasts longer.

As for your scraps, check out our guides on composting or growing your own for more ideas!