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    Five Storage Secrets to Make Food Last Longer

    Do you feel like you’re always throwing away food? Letting food go bad before you have a chance to eat it drains your pocketbook and results in more time-consuming trips to the grocery store. Before you head to the supermarket again, check your fridge and your cupboards and make a note of ingredients you have for future meals. Picking up a few more items to complement those ingredients will help you use up everything you already have. It’s always important to make a grocery list and, if you can, plan out a few meals in advance, so you hit the market with a goal in mind rather than wander the aisles picking up whatever happens to catch your eye.

    In addition to being a smarter shopper, learn how to make food last longer. Here are some tips to get you started.

    Make Condiments Last
    It’s frustrating to have to throw out condiments like sour cream, mayo, yogurt, and mustard because you didn’t use the entire container before it spoiled. However, you can easily combat this by changing containers as you use up the item. Using a smaller container exposes the condiment to less air—and fewer bacteria. The trick, of course, is making sure you successfully transfer every bit of mayo possible from the jar to the tiny Tupperware. We usually do our container downsizing right before we’re about to use the condiment on something. That way, we can scrape out what we don’t transfer for our sandwiches.

    Freeze Bread
    If you find that your bread often goes stale before you use it, slice it and store in the freezer. Separate out slices and let them sit for about five minutes at room temperature to defrost, or stick them directly in the toaster. Frozen bread is also great to use for grilled cheese sandwiches—it’s much easier to butter, and it will defrost as it cooks in the pan.

    Store Dairy Properly
    It’s better to store milk on an inside shelf toward the back of the refrigerator, not on the door. Why? All dairy products are very perishable. The optimal refrigeration temperature is actually just over 32°F; however, few refrigerators are ever set at or hold that low a temperature. Most home refrigerators remain around 40°F, and the temperature rises every time the door is opened. Store cheese near the bottom of the refrigerator, where temperature fluctuations are minimal.

    Know Which Produce to Refrigerate
    Refrigerating your produce can help it last longer, but not all produce does well in the cooler temperature. The majority of fruits and vegetables handle cold fairly well, but naturally enough, the exceptions are tropical fruits, whose cells are just not used to the cold. Bananas will suffer cell damage and release a skin-browning chemical, avocados don’t ripen when stored below 45°F, and citrus fruit will develop brown-spotted skin. These fruits, as well as squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, bell peppers, and pineapples, are best stored at 50°F—so keep them out of the fridge. Most other vegetables, including lettuce, carrots, and cabbage, will do better in your refrigerator. Potatoes, however, should be stored outside of the fridge and away from light.

    Save Your Spices
    Spices and dried herbs keep their flavor better if stored in a cupboard away from heat, light, and moisture, all of which impair flavor, change color, and shorten life. Make them last longer by putting half into a sealed, airtight container when you purchase them. Label the container and keep it in your dark cabinet, or better yet, your freezer. When the spice on-hand loses its aroma, replace it with some from your stash, and you’ll never have to be irritated about throwing away an entire container of mustard seed or marjoram again.

    Do you know great way to make food last longer? Share it with us in the comments section below!


    For more great kitchen tips, check out our eBook, Cooking Made Easy, available for Kindle and Nook.

    References (2)

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    • Response
      Refrigerators are great place to store your food. but with the passage of time new features in refrigerators hitting the market with new models. Every brand is looking to provide maximum of its output to provide good appliances to its customers. Haier mini fridges is the one off them for small ...
    • Response
      Five Storage Secrets to Make Food Last Longer - Cooking - Who Knew Tips - from the authors of the As Seen on TV books

    Reader Comments (5)

    Yogurt, sourcream and cottage cheese, when you come home from the store, put these in the fridge UPSIDE DOWN, they will last well beyond any expiration date, after opening , also store UPSIDE DOWN ( place in a bowl) to keep air out of container

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisaj

    To make celery last longer, wrap it in aluminum foil. It says good at least twice as long as if you just put it in the fridge.

    October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeri

    It's always better to store in glass containers, preferably made in Italy or the US and not in China. You can buy special food storage bags that are green and nonreactive and will keep veggies fresh for 2 weeks instead of a few days. I have seen some pretty ingenious wall racks, sconces to store your open air veggies that make them look like artwork. Pick up a bag of excelsior (undyed) at the craft store and use in under fruit and veg in bowls on the counter-lasts much longer this way. Freeze leftover herbs in ice trays and take out one at a time to use in soups, etc. Keep nuts and seed in jars in the fridge to delay them going rancid. Try to take 1/2 day once a week to do some serious cooking for the week, freezing some for later in meal size portions. This is a much more efficient use of your time and will save money and waste in the longrun. Also a great excuse to connect with your family!

    October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

    I cook chick peas, lentils, beans and barley ,just in water without condiments and then freeze them in snack size zip locks, I use them everyday on soups or salads and I save electricity and time,

    November 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterisabel lastres

    Since citrus shouldn't be stored in the fridge~ It's best to cut up Lemon-wedges, placing a wedge or two in each icecube tray "compartment", then fill w/ water (or orange, pineapple or another fruit juice) & freeze! While filling your glass(s) w/ regular ice, pop one of these cubes in your iced-tea or other beverages~ Same goes for Lemon or Lime wedges in Summer Cocktails! Don't forget... A sprig of fresh Spearmint in w/ the frozen lemon-ice cube is not only pretty... But, delicious !

    Years ago... I found Ice-cube trays in yellow & green, shaped like wedges of lemon or lime. If your lucky enough to find & purchase them... fill those w/ fresh Lemon (Yellow tray) or Lime (Green Tray) Juice! They're a cute & un-diluted option for drinks. And, would make a nice garnish in a stemmed-glass of Italian Ice or Sorbet for dessert, on a hot Summer night!

    * Please don't save these cute ideas for "Special Events" or "Company"... Years from now, you'll realize, having had, all your children home for dinner, WAS a "Special Event"!!
    Victoria Beau'Cannon

    April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Beau'Cannon

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