A healthy lifestyle includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, but with economic and social conditions as they are right now, it’s harder to purchase and keep healthy food in the house. Food shortages, stay-at-home orders, and difficulties social distancing from others make grocery shopping more difficult. It is important to buy what you can when you are able to find it, and store those foods efficiently so they last longer, plus smart food storage saves money and eliminates food waste. Below are my 36 Genius Tips to Keep Food Fresh Longer so you can eat healthier and make fewer trips to the grocery store.
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36 Genius Tips to Keep Food Fresh Longer
It’s already difficult to eat well on a regular basis, but then we all have to deal with grocery shortages and social distancing too? Come on now! My stress level is at 98% right now, and all I want to eat cookies all day, but I know it is more nutritious to eat wholesome fresh foods. Unfortunately, fresh food spoils faster, wasting food and money. I enjoy eating good food, but I am also budget-conscious, so developed a few tricks over the years to keep the food I buy fresher, longer.
Some foods benefit from certain types of storage containers and some benefit from a few handy kitchen hacks. To make things easier, I divided the foods into three categories: foods that go into the pantry, foods that go into the refrigerator, and foods that go in the freezer. I even have a few tips for foods that can be packaged and stored several different ways!
- Potatoes: Store potatoes in a cool, dark place. Keep an apple with the potatoes to prevent potato sprouts from growing.
- Winter Squashes: Rub the outside skin with a thin layer of vegetable or grapeseed oil and keep in a cool, dark bin.
- Garlic & Onions: Both store better at room temperature
- Bananas: Bananas ripen slower if they are kept together, not separated.
- Pineapple: Store at room temperature upside down so the natural sugar inside gets to all the fruit. Once cut, store in the refrigerator.
- Apples: Keep apples away from other fruits and vegetables except for potatoes. Store at room temperature.
- Avocado: Ripen avocado at room temperature, but when ripe, keep in the fridge. Once you cut it, keep the pit with the half that remains and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Bread: Keep bread in a cool, dark place such as a bread box. You can also freeze it. When you defrost the bread, make certain to open one end of the plastic covering so the ice crystals dry, then seal it to store at room temperature. Do not keep bread in the refrigerator.
- Canned Foods: Check expiration dates and keep cans with an earlier expiration to the front of the cupboard. Make sure cans do not have dents or bulging.
- Oatmeal & Other Cereals: Store oatmeal in its original sealed packaging or in an airtight container. I love these storage containers for storing my cereal, grains, and flours.
- Celery: Wrap in aluminum foil to keep fresh for 2-3 weeks.
- Broccoli: Wrap fresh broccoli in aluminum foil.
- Mushrooms: Place mushrooms in a paper bag and keep in the vegetable drawer.
- Vegetables: Keep 1-2 pieces of paper towel in the bottom of the vegetable drawer to absorb moisture. You can also store them in green bags.
- Berries: Wash berries in vinegar and water using measurements of 3/1 (water/vinegar). Then, keep the berries in a Rubbermaid FreshWorks container.
- Asparagus: Wrap in a wet paper towel and place in the refrigerator.
- Lettuce & Greens: Clean and trim the leaves, then wrap in a paper towel and place it in a plastic baggie or lettuce spinner.
- Radishes: Wash and trim the ends off, then store in a mason jar filled with water.
- Cheese: Wrap cheese in parchment or cheese paper and keep in the vegetable crisper. You can also freeze cheese but make certain you wrap it well in plastic wrap then freeze in plastic baggies.
- Sour Cream: Keep the package stored upside down in the refrigerator to prevent mold.
- Milk: Keep milk on a shelf, not on the door. You can also freeze milk but make sure to pour off a bit from the top before resealing and placing it in the freezer, as the container will expand.
- Eggs: Eggs can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also freeze eggs by breaking the shells and placing the raw eggs in a sealed plastic container for up to a year in the freezer.
- Coffee Beans: Coffee (both ground and whole beans) are best stored in a dark airtight container on the country, but can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months. If freezing, make certain to seal it in an air-tight container to prevent freezer burn.
- Yeast: Unopened yeast can be stored in the freezer for up to two years, but once you open it, store it in the refrigerator.
- Fresh Herbs: Wash, trim, and place in a plastic baggie. Or fill an ice cube tray 1/2 full of olive oil and place the herbs in the oil, then wrap and keep in the freezer.
- Ginger: Peel and grate, then place in a sealed bag or container and freeze.
- Butter: Purchase butter on sale and keep in the freezer until ready to use. You can freeze butter for up to six months.
- Meat: You can store uncooked meat in the freezer. Bacon lasts about one month, ground beef about three months, and steak and pork can last 4-6 months in the freezer. Chicken and other poultry can last up to one year in the freezer.
- Nuts: Keep nuts in a plastic baggie in the freezer and use as needed.
- Deli Meats: You can store deli meats in the airtight plastic bags in the freezer for up to a month.
- Flour: When you purchase flour, put it in the freezer for 48 hours to kill any insect eggs. Then keep in a sealed container in the pantry.
- Rice: Rice can get bugs too, so place the container of rice in the freezer for 2-3 days when you bring it home from the grocery, then store in its original packaging in the pantry. Once opened, store in a sealed container.
- Tomatoes: Store tomatoes at room temperature or blanch in hot water for one minute and place in plastic baggies and keep in the freezer.
- Green Onions & Chives: Keep the roots on the onions and store in a mason jar filled with water on your kitchen counter. You can also store certain herbs such as basil this way.
- Nut Flours: Keep nut flours in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Leftovers: Store in the refrigerator for up to three days, then toss or freeze.
A few tips:
- Make certain your refrigerator drawers are set to the correct temperature and humidity level to keep food fresh longer.
- Do not store open cans of food in the refrigerator. Move the food to a plastic storage container.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season, then freeze for future use.
- If you have leftover pieces of onion, celery, and/or herbs, place together in a plastic baggie and freeze to use for soups, stews, or chili.
- Put leftover cooking stock in small containers and freeze for future use.
- Use a French butter crock to keep butter fresh at room temperature.
What are some of your best genius tips to keep food fresh longer?
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