When it comes to your refrigerator, the freezer has a pretty important role. Aside from keeping your ice cream cold, the freezer is where you store leftovers and your favorite fruits and vegetables so they’re always in season.

How you store your favorite items also makes a big difference when it comes to freshness and flavor. So we asked our Food Preservation Scientist Carolina Biotti for some simple tips to help you make the most of your freezer space.

Start by creating a plan for organization.

  • Keep the food that has been in the freezer the longest up front to build a first-in first-out mentality. This allows you to use your items faster so they are less likely to go to waste.
  • When storing new items in the freezer, it is best to place them near the back with some open space around them. This enables air to circulate freely around the item, cooling it faster and more evenly.
  • To freeze meat, it is important to make sure it is adequately sealed. Air tight and vacuum sealed packaging will help minimize freezer burn, which can leave your food tasting less flavorful.
  • When it comes to freezing vegetables, it is best to blanch green vegetables before your freeze them. Blanching will help the vegetables to keep their color, flavor and nutrients when frozen.
  • Even fruits and vegetables have a shelf life. Fruits (except citrus) can be stored for 8 to 12 months. Citrus fruits and their juices can be stored for 4 to 6 months. Vegetables can also be stored for 8 to 12 months.
  • Another quick tip is to clearly label each package with the date. This will help you identify which items need to be used and by when.