Cooking all your groceries before they go bad can feel like a race against time. Delicate vegetables like spinach and mushrooms may last only a few days before spoiling, even if they're stored in the fridge. But you don't have to choose between moving your produce to the freezer and eating it all right away. If you have a paper towel roll in your kitchen, you can use this trick to extend the lifespan of your fruits and veggies.

According to Taste of Home, lining your refrigerator's crisper drawer with paper towels makes it a more hospitable environment for produce. As fruits and vegetables sit in your fridge, they release moisture. This excess water can promote wilting, browning, and rotting over time. If you've ever opened a bag of kale to find a mushy mess inside, moisture was the culprit.

Paper towels are a convenient tool for controlling the humidity levels in your fridge. If you line your crisper drawer with them before unloading your next grocery haul, the material will absorb any excess moisture released by the produce. That way your fruits and vegetables will stay fresh and crisp for longer. Just remember to check the lining every day or so and change it when it gets damp.

In addition to collecting any water produced by your veggies, paper towels can also catch juices and loose plant debris. That means they'll keep your crisper drawer clean and make your job easier when it's time to wipe down the fridge.

Though the paper towel trick buys you time, you still have to be vigilant about the perishables in your fridge. Understanding expiration dates, following the "first in, first out" rule, and planning meals in advance are important strategies for reducing food waste at home. Here are more tips for making sure more of your groceries end up on your plate instead of in the trash.

[h/t Taste of Home]