Americans waste up to 34 million tons of food per year, a truly baffling figure to consider if you live in a third world country or don’t know where your next meal is coming from. This number is also contradictory to the recession our economy is currently struggling through. A simple solution to much of this is adhering to the art and science of food preservation. By better preserving your hard-earned groceries, you can save money, the environment, and your conscious. Here is a list of little known but extremely useful ways you can make your food last longer. Some of them may seem far-fetched, but these are tried and tested and they really do work; read on.
Don’t Cut Fruits/Veggies Until You Need Them. According to food scientists, pulling these items apart breaks cells, causing microorganisms to grow.
Store Bread in the Fridge or Freezer. This prevents molding. Try using half and freezing the other half for later.
Think Before Buying Organic. Because organic items don’t have as many preservatives, these items tend to spoil faster. If you find yourself constantly throwing away a particular item, try going for the regular kind.
Onions stored in pantyhose can last up to 8 months
Put onions in pantyhose and tie knots between each onion. (This will make for some unique décor.)Also, don’t store onions with potatoes. They’ll spoil faster.
Freeze green onions in a plastic bottle
Make sure the green onions are completely dry before storing or they’ll get freezer burn.
Consider an ethylene gas absorber for the fridge
These inexpensive pods absorb the ethylene emitted by fruits/vegetables and keep them fresh up to 3 times longer.
Treat herbs differently. Delicate herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro need to be covered with plastic, secured with a rubber band and refrigerated. Oily herbs like thyme need to be tied loosely together with string and hung in the open air. Fresh herbs like rosemary and oregano need to be frozen in olive oil. If you use a lot of fresh herbs, you may want to buy an Herb Savor. Supposedly, it’ll make your herbs last up to three weeks.
Spray left over guacamole with cooking spray before putting it back in the fridge.
You should also keep the pit in the guacamole when storing.
Store potatoes with apples to keep them from sprouting.
Speaking of apples, one rotten apple can spoil the bunch. It’s not just an old wives’ tale.
Add butter to the cut side of cheese to keep it from drying out
More cheese tips: Don’t use plastic to wrap cheese. Try wax paper. Also store it in the warmest part of the fridge.
Use Food Containers
Container seal helps food stay fresher by keeping the air out.
Avoid Bagged Veggies and Pre-Cut Fruits
Bagged salads and pre-cut fruits will save you time, but they spoil faster.
Wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap
They’ll keep for 3-5 days longer. Bananas also produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit so keep them on the counter and away from other produce.
Wrap celery, broccoli, and lettuce in tin foil before storing in the fridge
It’ll stay crisp for 4 weeks or more. You might also want to invest in a salad spinner, which gets rid of moisture (aka the culprit of wilting leaves).
Invest in mason jars
Not only are they stylish, but they also provide a better alternative to plastic tupperware, which deteriorates and stains easily.
Don’t store tomatoes in plastic bags!
The trapped ethylene will make them ripen faster. Unripe tomatoes should be kept stem side down, in a paper bag or in a cool area until they turn red.
Keep mushrooms in a paper bag
A plastic bag will trap moisture and cause them to mildew. Put them in a paper bag in the fridge or in a cool, dry place.
Cook Foods That Are About to Perish
If foods are approaching their expiration date, cook them before they reach the point of no return.
Consider a Sealer
A nifty sealer can reseal your packaged goods and is more convenient than pouring the item into a food container.
Clean your fridge
Once something goes bad in your fridge, it leaves behind mold just waiting to eat your new food.
Make Fresh Produce More Visible in the Fridge
For foods that are perishable, try to make them more visible in your fridge so you’re more likely to reach for them.
As you can see saving on groceries doesn’t just stop at the supermarket checkout line. Have your dollar go even further by preserving your food. After all, if you’re throwing away food, you’re throwing away cash.
Know any more tips like these? Leave us a note in our comments section!
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