16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (2023)

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Cheyenne Lentz


16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (1)

athiwath tonggi/Shuttershock
  • Insider asked chefs and food-storage experts to explain the proper ways to store your favorite household snacks.
  • They advised tightly sealing your packages for snacks like pretzels and beef jerky.
  • Avoid keeping foods like nuts, chocolate, and granola bars near sources of light and heat.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

There's nothing worse than reaching for a snack in your pantry only to discover it's already gone bad. Specific foods require certain storing methods to stay fresh — and your favorite snacks are no different.

Insider asked several chefs and food-storage experts for their advice on how to properly store common snacks.

Read on for some mistakes that could be shortening the shelf life of 16 popular snacks.

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If your pretzel bags aren't sealed shut, your snack can quickly get stale.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (2)

Phillip Durand/Shuttershock

According to Palak Patel, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, the most common mistake when storing pretzels is not closing the package correctly. This exposes the pretzels to air and causes them to stale.

Patel said to store pretzels properly, remove all of the air from the original package, tightly roll the top half of the bag down to prevent air from getting in, and secure it with a rubber band or clip.

You may want to try storing your chips in the freezer.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (3)


Most people don't know that you shouldn't keep your potato chips in the pantry.

Kelvin Fernandez, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, said the best thing you can do for your chips is to put them in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer.

Rebekah Ziesmer, development chef with Conagra Brands, said storing sealed bags of chips in the freezer will keep the snack food fresh and crispy.

When you're ready to enjoy, just take a bag out of the freezer and place it on the counter for a few minutes until the chips are room temperature.

Nuts also belong in the freezer.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (4)


Nuts are rich with essential oils, and Patel said humidity, heat, and light can rapidly degrade those oils. Storing nuts in warm places, such as near the oven or stove, can cause nuts to go rancid.

Lisa McManus, executive tasting and testing editor at America's Test Kitchen, said you should keep nuts in the freezer to keep them tasting fresh for longer.

It might be time to toss your fruit bowl.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (5)


Storing fruit in a bowl rather than in a basket is a common mistake, according to Seamus Mullen, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education.

"Most people put fruit in a bowl, but I prefer to keep fruit in a basket so it can breathe," Mullen said.

As a bonus hack, Mullen said you can also toss a dry wine cork in the basket to absorb excess moisture and keep away fruit flies.

Don't put your crackers in plastic bags.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (6)

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Carina Finn/Insider

Ziesmer said a common mistake is storing crackers in resealable plastic bags.

"Plastic storage bags are permeable to air and moisture, so they won't keep crackers as crisp," Ziesmer told Insider.

Instead, store your leftover crackers in airtight, sealable containers.

Leaving your vegetables inside plastic produce bags can cause them to go bad.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (7)

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According to Fernandez, keeping your vegetables inside the plastic bag can make veggies spoil faster.

Other common mistakes are storing vegetables together with fruit or cleaning your produce before you're actually ready to use it, Fernandez said.

For leafy greens, it's important to keep them dry. An easy storage hack is to divide even layers of lettuce with paper towels in a sealable container. Celery, on the other hand, needs moisture to stay fresh; so, wrap it in aluminum foil and keep it in the fridge.

Don't keep your ice cream in the freezer door.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (8)

Darcy Schild/Insider

Patel said you should avoid keeping your ice cream in the freezer door because it's exposed to warm air every time the door is opened.

Mullen said to instead place your ice cream in the coldest parts of your freezer like the main compartment or, better yet, the bottom shelf.

Yogurt should be tightly covered, not stored in an open or loosely-sealed container.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (9)


Patel said covering yogurt too loosely or storing it in an opening container exposes the food to refrigerator air and dries it out.

Ziesmer told Insider you should keep the foil or lid that your yogurt came with and reuse it to seal the container.

You may be wrapping your cheese too tightly.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (10)

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"I often see cheese stored unwrapped and/or wrapped too tightly," Patel said. "Cheese develops moisture when it is wrapped too tightly and develops mold and bacteria on the surface."

Instead, Ziesmer and Mullen suggested using beeswax wrap or parchment paper — both are made with materials that allow the cheese to breathe properly and contain the smell.

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Opened chocolate shouldn't be stored in the fridge.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (11)

Yulia Kuznetsova2017/Shuttershock

Jean Apostolou, chef chocolatier at Godiva, told Insider that chocolate shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator.

Chocolate tends to absorb the odors that surround it, so the strong flavors and smells prevalent in your fridge may taint the taste.

Apostolou said open packages of chocolate can be stored in the pantry as long as temperatures don't exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, it's best to place your chocolate in the fridge in a sealed bag or container.

Make sure to properly seal your beef jerky.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (12)


Patel said a common mistake is storing beef jerky in plastic bags or not fully sealing the package it came in.

"While jerky is dried and salted to preserve it, the amount of fat indicates how long it retains freshness," she said. "The leaner the meat, the shorter the shelf life."

Instead, Patel said it's ideal to store beef jerky in an airtight container. Fernandez added that jerky should go in a cool, dark place, but you shouldn't keep the snack in your fridge.

You shouldn't keep your candy near sunlight.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (13)

Lucien Formichella for Insider

Storing your candy in warm areas or in sunlight can cause the sugar in the candy to melt from the heat and moisture, Patel said.

Instead, she said it's best to store candy in a cool, dark place inside of a tight-fitting container made of plastic or glass.

Don't keep your granola bars in resealable plastic bags.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (14)


Granola often contains temperature-sensitive foods like nuts, seeds, chocolate, and dried fruit; so, Patel said you don't want to store your granola bars in resealable plastic bags.

"The best way to store granola bars is in a large airtight glass jar, in a cool, dry place or in its original wrapping," Patel said.

You should store your cookies with a slice of bread.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (15)


You should always store cookies in an airtight container to keep them from drying out, but McManus recommended packing them with a slice of bread to keep the treat fresh and chewy for longer.

Patel added that you should also wait for freshly-baked cookies to completely cool down before storing, or the condensation from the heat can make them soggy.

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Avoid cutting your brownies unless you're ready to eat them.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (16)

athiwath tonggi/Shuttershock

Cutting your brownies before storing them is a major mistake, according to Ziesmer.

"Only cut what you'll eat," Ziesmer told Insider. "Uncut brownies will stay fresh a couple of days longer than cut brownies at room temperature."

She also added that you should cover your brownies tightly with plastic wrap.

Popcorn shouldn't be stored in a pantry.

16 storage mistakes that could be ruining your favorite snacks (17)

Sarah Schmalbruch/INSIDER

Ziesmer said ready-to-eat popcorn can get stale or chewy soon after it's opened, especially in humid environments. To keep the snack food fresh, she recommended storing leftover popcorn in a sealed bag in the freezer.

When you're ready to snack, you can eat the popcorn straight from the freezer.

She also told Insider that microwave popcorn or popcorn kernels can be stored in the freezer — keeping them fresh means fewer unpopped kernels.

  • Read more:
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  • 14 foods that can last longer than you think
  • The 8 foods you should always make in a microwave
  • 11 foods you're probably eating wrong, plus the right way to eat them

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More: Features Freelancer Food Evergreen story
  • Food Storage
  • Food hacks
  • Popcorn
  • Chocolate
  • Snacks
  • brownies
  • Life Insider Weekly


How do you keep snack bags fresh? ›

Keep them as fresh as possible by placing them in a reusable storage bag. These are perfect for fruits and snack mixes. Plus, this bag is leak-proof and waterproof but still easy for kids to open.

What is the best way to store crackers? ›

Store crackers in an airtight bag to help them keep their crunch. The appeal of crackers is in their crunchiness, so it's crucial to store them correctly if you don't want to end up with chewy snacks. According to Leaf TV, the best way to store crackers is in an airtight container or bag in cool and dry place.

What is improper food storage? ›

Improper food storage can lead to several problems, including bacteria and mold growth, food spoilage through natural decay, and even food waste, which costs billions of dollars annually worldwide. Below are some of the areas that are affected by improper storing of food.

Which is inappropriate for storing food? ›

Which of the following areas are prohibited for storing food? Foods should only be stored in designated areas. Storing foods in passageways, rest rooms, garbage areas, locker rooms and other unauthorized utility rooms is not compliant.

How do you store treats? ›

Proper Storage of Pet Food & Treats
  1. Store pet food and treats in the original container or bag. ...
  2. If you want to store dry pet food in another storage container, put the entire bag into the container rather than pour the kibble directly into it.
Apr 14, 2020

How do you store small bags of chips? ›

You've Been Storing Potato Chips Wrong Your Entire Life - YouTube

How do you organize snacks and chips? ›

Handy Hooks

Give half-eaten bags of chips a home, thanks to this genius idea from Fennell Seeds. Just stick Command hooks on the side of the pantry. You can hang bags from the hooks by the hole in your chip clip. So easy!

What crackers have longest shelf life? ›

Pilot bread crackers – a type of hardtack – are great for long-term food storage. They are advertised as having a shelf life of up to 30 years, but hardtack itself has been known to last much longer than that.

How do you store dry snacks? ›

Pack foods into clean, dry insect-proof containers as tightly as possible without crushing. Store dried foods in clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or in plastic freezer bags. Vacuum packaging is also a good option.

Which item is not stored properly? ›

Which item has not been stored properly? Answer - A -Flour stored on the floor is not a proper way to store any dried good. In fact, any food that touches the floor has not been stored properly and should be thrown out immediately.

Which are high risk foods? ›

Examples of high-risk foods include : Dairy products (milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, and products containing them such as cream pies and quiches) Eggs. Meat or meat products.
Examples of low risk foods include :
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Bread.
  • Most baked goods.
  • Candies.
  • Pickles.
  • Honey.
  • Jam and preserves.
  • Syrups.
Dec 24, 2015

What are the 5 causes of food poisoning? ›

The top seven causes of food poisoning are Salmonella, Listeria, Staphylococcus, Trichinosis, E. coli, Campylobacter, Clostridium.

What storage mistakes were made at the operation? ›

What storage mistakes were made at the operation? The freezer door was left open,overstuffed the fridge, put raw food above ready to eat food, the temps should have been spot checked, hot food should not be in the freezer, and the foil should not line the fridge.

What are the six 6 conditions in which bacteria can sustain growth? ›

FATTOM is an acronym used to describe the conditions necessary for bacterial growth: Food, acidity, time, temperature, oxygen, and moisture. Foods provide a perfect environment for bacterial growth, due to their provision of nutrients, energy, and other components needed by the bacteria.

How do you organize healthy snacks? ›

Snack Storage Ideas
  1. Opt for wax paper snack bags.
  2. DIY your own reusable storage wraps using beeswax, resin and cotton cloth. (There are plenty of instructions and tutorials online.)
  3. Stock up on small reusable glass or plastic food storage containers.
  4. Use small mason jars to organize kids' snacks.

Why do snacks get stale? ›

Chips go stale because they've gained too much moisture. That's because chips lose most of the moisture inside them during the frying process, creating a crunchy network of starch molecules. Those molecules are hydrophilic, meaning they attract water from the air around them. Now let's take a look inside bread.

How do you store snacks in a small kitchen? ›

34 Super Inventive Ways to Organize a Tiny Kitchen - YouTube

What are five ways to store food? ›

Common Methods of Food Preservation
  • Chilling.
  • Freezing.
  • Sugaring.
  • Salting.
  • Canning.
  • Vacuum Packing.
Dec 19, 2018

How do you organize bulk snacks? ›

How We Organize Our Bulk Food For Our Large Family - YouTube

What can I do with stale snacks? ›

Spread the stale snacks out on a cookie sheet and place in a 350o F oven. Let them bake for about 10 minutes and then remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cooled the snacks should be crispy and refreshed. You can use this method with fresh nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc.

How do I organize my Ziploc pantry bags? ›

3 Tips on How to Organize Food Storage Bags - YouTube

How do you organize bag clips? ›

Organizing Tip Tuesday | Simple Chip Clip Storage (2018) - YouTube

Where should I store my kitchen snacks? ›

Snacks don't always have to be front and center to be functional and aesthetically pleasing, they can also be neatly tucked away in a drawer. Utilize inserts to keep your snack categories grouped and visible. For a deep drawer, take advantage of vertical space with THE Bin Organizers or THE Canisters. Happy Snacking!

How can I organize my snacks without a pantry? ›

Use Clear Containers On High Shelves

Use open plastic bins to store snacks on higher shelves. The clear containers allow a visual without needing a step ladder, and make it easier to reach and take down items.

How can I make food for the last 25 years? ›

Place your food items on trays, making sure to separate them by item or meal. Then set them inside the freeze dryer. Once the process is complete, place your food into the mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Using different bags for different meals is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of your goods.

How do you store dried fruit and nuts? ›

Store dry fruits and nuts in airtight containers. This will help to keep them fresh for longer. Keep the containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If you are not going to eat the dry fruits and nuts within a few days, you can store them in the fridge or freezer.

How do you preserve fried snacks? ›

If you must store fried foods in the fridge, cool them completely, then store in an airtight container with a paper towel to absorb moisture. The food will last three to five days that way. This may be the most crucial step for the crispest results possible.

Why should food be stored 6 inches off the floor? ›

Store all food at least 6 inches off the floor to avoid contamination and allow for cleaning. Store all food at least 18 inches away from the outer walls. This will help with monitoring, cleaning, condensation, and wall temperatures affecting foods.

What is data storage give example? ›

Data storage is the recording (storing) of information (data) in a storage medium. Handwriting, phonographic recording, magnetic tape, and optical discs are all examples of storage media. Some authors even propose that DNA is a natural data storage mechanism.

What is the potential problem with storing? ›

6 and 7
What is the problem with storing raw ground beef above prepped salads?Cross-contamination (correct answer, your response)
How should cartons of coleslaw be checked for the correct receiving temperature?Open a carton and insert a thermometer stem into the food (correct answer, your response)
16 more rows


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