After a trip to the grocery store, it’s easy to feel like your newly stocked fridge of food will last for weeks, but did you know that the average person throws out nearly 20% of their food? That’s money down the drain! It’s so easy to extend the life of your food and save money in your grocery budget. Read on to find out the best ways to make your groceries last a long time.
1. Use an Ethylene Gas Guarder. Baking soda isn’t the only thing that should be kept in the back of your fridge. The Ethylene Gas Guardian ($25) is a cute little gadget that absorbs ethylene gas that is emitted by most fruits and vegetables and causes them to decay. Place the Guardian in your fridge and your fruits and vegetables will stay crisper, taste better, and retain nutrients longer.
2. Wait to cut your veggies. Sure, planning ahead by cutting your vegetables for the week is time saving, but microorganisms start to grow as soon as you cut into your produce. To make them last longer, wait until you’re actually going to eat them if you can.
3. Use airtight containers. Vegetables can last up to a week if stored properly.
4. Freeze your bread. Like fruits and vegetables, bread spoils fast. If you’re not going to finish the bread in a few days, don’t leave it out on the counter or it will start to grow mold. Place half the loaf (or more!) in the freezer and defrost as needed.
5. Cook them. If you notice your fruits and veggies are starting to spoil, cook them! Use your vegetables to make a soup and use your fruit to make muffins or breads.
6. Soak your cheese. Store cheese wrapped in a paper towel soaked with white vinegar to prevent mold and extended it’s cheesy goodness.
7. Clean! Clean out your refrigerator regularly before grocery shopping. Maybe you forgot that you had two chicken breasts in the freezer and you were planning on buying them. You just saved yourself some serious dough!
8. Invest in a sealer. Extend the life of things like chips, cookies and other pantry staples by investing in a sealer to reseal your packaged goods. It’ll keep the air from escaping and save you tons of money.
9. Throw out the spoils. Sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team. Periodically check your produce and throw out anything that is spoiling because they can cause the others to spoil faster. Mold and gases spread quickly so make sure you’ve thrown out any offending produce.
10. Bag it up. Potato, onions, ginger, garlic and sweet potato should be stored in the dark as sunlight makes them sprout and inedible. An easy way to do this is to store them in a sealed paper bag.
11. Freeze your weeds. To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags, in the freezer. When you need them, they’ll be easier to chop, and they’ll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan.
12. Soften your sweets. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will stop it from hardening. But if you already have hardened sugar on your shelf, soften it by sealing it in a bag with a slice of bread – or by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.
13. Bathe your eggs. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.
14. Protect your dry goods. Dry kitchen products like flour, cornmeal and other grains can attract bugs that make them unusable. Keep the insects away by slipping a bay leaf into your pasta, flour and rice containers.
See, with just a few simple tricks, you can extend the life of all your favorite foods and save tons of money!