Food prices are on the rise, making it even more important to avoid wasting food. Whether it’s due to items going bad or losing track of what’s in your fridge, food waste can hit your wallet hard.
In a time when many of us are grappling with soaring grocery bills, it’s essential to ensure that the food we purchase remains fresh for as long as possible. The good news is there are practical ways to prolong the shelf life of your groceries and save money doing so. Here are 18 helpful tips to help you do just that.
Choose Frozen Fruits and Veggies
If you’ve ever had to throw away unused produce, switching to frozen fruits and vegetables can be a smart move. Not only do they offer similar nutritional value to their fresh counterparts, but they also have a much longer shelf life.
Keep the Fridge Clean
A cluttered refrigerator can disrupt the flow of cool air and result in warmer spots that are less ideal for food storage. This can lead to food spoilage and even mold growth. To prevent mold from spreading to fresh items, it’s essential to maintain a clean and organized refrigerator. Promptly remove spoiled food, as mold in one section of the fridge can easily spread to other areas and affect open products.
Freeze Meat Right Away
If you don’t have immediate plans to prepare or consume your meat, it’s a smart move to freeze it. Uncooked meats can be safely stored in the freezer for several months, depending on the cut. This not only extends their shelf life but also frees up valuable space in your refrigerator.
Store Animal Products in the Back of the Fridge
Animal products like meat and fish tend to spoil relatively quickly. If you intend to cook them within a few days and don’t plan to freeze them, it’s advisable to store them at the back of the fridge on the lower shelves. This approach can help ensure that your meat products stay fresh until you’re ready to use them, lowering the risk of cross-contamination.
Refrigerate Your Fruits
Fruits like apples and oranges tend to spoil more quickly when left at room temperature, so it’s a good idea to store them in the refrigerator. Storing them in the fridge will not impact their taste.
Don’t Pre-Wash Your Fruits and Veggies
While it might seem convenient, it’s not a good practice to wash fresh fruits and vegetables before storing them. Washing can introduce moisture to the produce, which can accelerate their decay. It’s advisable to wash your fruits and veggies only when you’re ready to consume them to extend their shelf life.
Use Resealable and Airtight Containers
To preserve the freshness of opened food, consider using resealable and airtight containers made of either plastic or glass. This helps prevent the intrusion of moisture and air, which can lead to food contamination and quicker spoilage.
Utilize Clear Containers
Clear containers such as glass or plastic make it easy to see the food contents, which can encourage you to use the food sooner.
Wrap Vegetables in a Paper Towel
To maintain the freshness of your leafy vegetables for a longer duration, try wrapping them in paper towels. This simple method can help keep them crisp and healthy.
Make a Smoothie
When your fruits are ripening too quickly or seem a bit past their prime, consider blending them into a smoothie. Smoothies are versatile, and you can incorporate a variety of ingredients, making them a fantastic way to minimize food waste and make good use of aging fruits and vegetables.
Separate the Bananas
Keep your bananas from ripening too fast by separating them. Use plastic wrap to cover the top stems, which will help delay the browning process.
Utilize your leftovers wisely. Consuming food you’ve already prepared is not only convenient but also an effective way to maximize your groceries and make them last longer.
Pay Attention to Expiration Dates
The “Best Used By” dates on food items are not set in stone. They serve as a general guideline for quality and flavor. You don’t have to automatically toss something when it reaches that date. Use your best judgment. If the product smells off, it’s best to get rid of it.
Store at Proper Temperatures
Make sure your refrigerator is set at a temperature of 40 degrees or lower. You don’t want it to be so cold that your food freezes, but any warmer than that, and you run the risk of harmful bacteria growth and food spoilage.
No Perishables in the Refrigerator Door
If you want to extend the freshness of perishable items like milk and dairy products, it’s important to avoid placing them in the refrigerator door. The temperature there tends to be warmer and less stable. Instead, opt for storing milk in the back and on the lower shelves of your fridge, where temperatures are generally colder and more consistent. This practice will help these items stay fresh for a longer period.
Inspect Fruits Before Storing
Keep your fruits fresh for longer by examining them for any spoilage or damage. Inspect them daily and remove the bad fruits. This will help them last longer and prevent bad fruits from spoiling the rest.
To extend the shelf life of your food and save time, consider cooking larger quantities at once. You can then freeze the extra portions, ensuring that the food remains fresh for longer. This approach also simplifies meal planning, reduces food waste, and eliminates the need to cook every day.
Air Dry Herbs
While herbs add a lovely touch to our dishes, store-bought herbs often have a short shelf life. When you bring home bunches of herbs like basil, cilantro, or chives from the market, allow them to air dry for a bit on a dry paper towel. This simple practice can help keep them fresher for longer.
Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half With These 21 Genius Shopping Hacks
Let’s face it – the rising cost of food is putting a strain on our budgets. As inflation continues to drive up the prices of groceries and everyday goods, many of us are feeling the financial squeeze, especially when we hit the supermarket. Here are 21 effective ways to cut down on your grocery expenses.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen: 20 Items You Must Toss
The kitchen holds a special place in our homes, serving as a hub for cooking, meals, and gatherings. However, even though it’s the center of our daily lives, it’s easy for clutter, disarray, and items that have outstayed their welcome to accumulate in this space. Check out the 12 items in your kitchen that should be thrown away immediately. How to Declutter Your Kitchen: 20 Items You Should Toss
10 Aluminum Foil Hacks Your Mom Might Not Have Taught You
Aluminum foil is a useful kitchen staple known for its versatility and reliability. Surprisingly, this household staple goes beyond just covering your favorite dishes in the oven. There’s so much more that you can do with aluminum foil, as it has so many practical uses. So, if you’ve only used aluminum foil to line your baked dishes, you are in for a treat. Here are ten ways to use aluminum foil to simplify your life and household tasks. 10 Aluminum Foil Hacks Your Mom Might Not Have Taught You
Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.