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Tips For Storing Groceries To Make It Last Longer

  • By Swati Gaikwad - Content Writer
  • •  Jul 27, 2022

It’s very easy to forget about your groceries until the smell consumes your kitchen, but the good news is that knowing how to store them properly isn’t rocket science. Look, no one ever sets out to let their groceries go to waste, but it happens to all of us from time to time.

One way to reduce food waste (and save some serious money!) is to pay attention to how we organise and store our groceries. Smart storage can prolong the life of groceries and make it more likely that we’ll use them before they have to be dumped. We’ve pulled together a few smart storing tips you need to know to help your veggies, fruits, condiments and other perishables last just a bit longer.

  • Know where to store fruits and vegetables

Not all fruits and veggies need to live in the fridge. Avocados, citrus, bananas, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes can all be stored at room temperature or in a cool pantry. Apples + Potatoes = BFFs. If you store them together, the apples should keep the potatoes from sprouting. Onions and potatoes, on the other hand, you should not be storing together or they will both spoil faster.

The crisper drawer in your fridge is the ideal place for fresh produce. However, avoid putting fruit and vegetables next to each other. This is because ethylene from fruits can result in vegetables spoiling quickly. So if your fridge doesn’t have two crisper drawers, keep your fruit and veggies separate. Ensure leafy greens are wrapped well or in a sealed plastic bag to maintain their freshness.

  • Store grains in air-tight containers

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping, but you want to store it correctly so the extra food doesn’t go to waste. If you buy grains in bulk, be sure to transfer them to an airtight container to maintain freshness, as well as keep bugs away. Go a step further and label your containers with the purchase dates so you know how long you’ve had your grains.

  • Wrap your greens in paper towels

To prevent slimy residue from accumulating in your bag of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens, stick paper towels inside to soak up excess moisture. You can do the same with leftover salad greens in food storage containers.

  • Get to the Root

Root veggies like carrots, beets and turnips keep pushing energy into their leaves even after they’ve reached your house. Make sure to chop off the tops before storing them to keep the nutrients in the root. It might look sort of creepy, but storing onions in pantyhose seriously extends their life.

  • Use plastic wrap on bananas

Cover the crown of a bunch of bananas in plastic wrap to slow the release of ethylene gas. This will prevent them from ripening too quickly if you’re not going to use the whole bunch right away.

  • Soak berries in vinegar

If you don’t eat all the berries, quickly soak them in three-parts water, one-part vinegar solution will kill bacteria and prevent moulding. Rinse the berries thoroughly then pat dry once you’re done.

  • Freeze milk that’s about to go bad

Most types of milk are freezable. Unless it contains high sugar content, like sweetened condensed milk, you should be good to freeze your milk. Not only that it lasts upto six months in the freezer. Awesome news, right? But before you run to the kitchen and start shoving milk cartons into your freezer, there are three things to keep in mind. 

First, stask your milk in airtight and freezer-safe containers. And never fill your freezer containers to the brim, as milk expands as it freezes. Secondly, different types of milk react differently to freezing and thawing. Plant-based milks such as soy, almond, and oat milk tend to separate and become grainy after being frozen. This is less of a risk with cow or goat milk, though you will notice some fat separation. Running frozen milk through a blender, will help smooth it out back. Last but not the least, don’t forget to thaw your frozen milk, sticking it on the kitchen counter to defrost, even for a short time, it’s good. Don’t thaw it in hot or warm water, either.

  • Pop old bread in the oven

Freezing bread eliminates the onset of mold, which spreads like wildfire and can quickly contaminate an entire loaf. You can also try storing half of the loaf in the fridge and the other half in the freezer. There is no need to dump bread when it goes stale – instead, quickly run it under the tap and pop it into the oven for a few minutes. The water helps rehydrate the bread, and it will come out of the oven tasting fluffy and fresh. 

  • Wrap cheese in baking paper

Cheese might come in plastic wrapping, but it won’t survive for long like that in the fridge. Instead, wrap it in a porous material – such as baking paper – so it can still breathe, but doesn’t harden up like it would fully exposed to the air. Tired of cheese quickly drying out? Apply a thin layer of butter to the exposed side, wrap the block in waxed paper, and place it in a plastic bag.

  • This tip may seem unusual but it does work! Turning the tub of sour cream or cottage cheese upside down will create a vacuum effect inside the container. This will slow down the growth of bacteria which causes these foods to spoil.

  • Bundle up herbs

Herbs can be displayed like a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a vase of water. Doing this keeps the herbs alive a lot longer without taking up refrigerator space. Just be sure to trim the stems first. Most dishes begin with oil, onion, garlic and herbs/spices. Why not save yourself a step and preserve fresh herbs with olive oil? These tasteful cubes are ready for soups, stews, roasts and sauces.

  • Don’t immediately slice and dice

You may be planning for the week ahead, but slicing and dicing too far in advance reduces the life of produce. Of course, if you must get chopping, a little lemon juice will help produce last longer before it starts to brown.

  • For the jars that form crystals, we put the (glass) jar in a pan with a little water and bring it to a simmer. Once the entire jar is a little warmed up, give it a stir and the crystals will melt back into gooey honey. Honey can last forever because of bacteria-fighting enzymes from the honeybees’ stomachs.

  • Double-check your fridge’s temperature

Finally, after you’ve wrapped and placed all your perishables in the refrigerator, be sure that it’s set at the right temperature. Make sure your fridge thermometer is working correctly to prevent spoilage and reduce the risk of food-borne illness. The temperature should be set to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit or a few degrees lower. Out of sight is out of mind. Keep your produce at eye level in your fridge and also make it a habit to look over which veggies need to be used up within the next couple of days. 

  • Educate Yourself About the Life of Your Groceries

Know how long each of your grocery items will last. Don’t wait until the food spoils and you end up throwing it away. Keep in mind the life of each item and eat it based on which one perishes the fastest. Once something goes bad in your fridge or cupboards, it leaves behind a nice gang of mold ready to eat up your new food. Disinfect the fridge — it’ll make everything last a little longer. Meanwhile, products like milk, whipping cream, and fresh fruit spoil the fastest, so try and make use of each item as quickly as possible. If you have left over fruit you can make fillings! Milk you can freeze into cubes and use later on. Whipping cream is an easy caramel recipe.

Got any of your own tips for keeping groceries fresh for longer? Share ‘em in the comment section to help your fellow edoboites out in the kitchen!

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