Imagine how much money you can waste tossing out newly-bought produce. I just Kring thinking about something I just bought going in the fridge. Grocery shopping can become the most frequent expense we make a month. We can all agree that the prices change, the number of items changes. And then, after what we spend, the dollar amount can change. Limiting the trips, the items we need to buy can help us save money.
Preserving the food you have is the biggest money saver. You might start by using plastic wrap or storage containers but still a waste. What tips can you try to save that expiration date? I’ve gone over a few tips below for certain ways to do that with common fruits and vegetables.
The biggest advantage we have is our senses. Using your visual and smell senses to make sure the items pass the test before we consume them. When you’re buying any fruits and veggies, the first thing you want to do is wash them. Wash things before you’re ready to eat them or soon after. Washing them will lessen the chance of mold growing on damp produce.
I do want to add that use-by date, and best before dates are two different things. You would normally see use by dates on meats and Best Buy dates on drier foods and other soft products. The use of dates is more of a safety measure, meaning that it’s a high-risk food and, after that, could be potentially dangerous to eat. Best by dates are just more like a guideline or recommendation. Eating food after its best before date is safe.
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I can say about bananas that once they are ripe, you got to eat them quickly. There is one trick you can do to prevent them from ripening too quickly. Cover the crown of the bunch of bananas in plastic wrap to slow the process. Bananas are like children that don’t want to be separated. Rest assure, they start to spoil faster when they do. Luckily there is still alot of recipes that call for bananas even when they are too ripe. Something I love to make is banana bread; repurpose it before you toss them away.
Apples are one of the fruits I keep out on the counter mostly. They can be kept out at room temperature for about a week. Apple’s friendliest neighbor is potatoes; they can actually prevent the potatoes from sprouting.
Always store under-ripe avocados at room temperature until they ripen. A quick way is to look at the color. They start pretty green and ripen to black. A good ripe and ready avocado has a little squeeze to it. If you want to speed up the ripening process, place an avocado in a bag with a banana or an apple because of the ethylene gas they admit. Once they a ripe, store them in the refrigerator to slow the excess ripening. Also, when you cut them open, this will all speed the process. To prevent a cut avocado from turning brown, store it in a small container with a chunk of cut onion. You wouldn’t believe it, but it reduces the browning.
Berries & Cherries
These are a delicate fruit, just like grapes, I will last a couple of days out on the counter, oh, but they’re best stored in the fridge. Store them above other food, so they don’t get smashed. Pick off any bad pieces and toss them away before storing them. Rinse berries on a needed basis. Before you store them, make sure you pass them dry. Any extra moisture will cause them to Decay faster. You can soak them in three parts water and one part vinegar solution. It will kill bacteria and prevent bloating. Again pat dry thoroughly. Once you’re done, store it in the fridge.
Citrus: Grapefruit, Oranges, Lemons, and Limes
Any citruses can survive at room temperature for about a week. If you store them in the fridge, they can last up to two to three weeks. Just like apples, if one is squishy or moldy, and will contaminate the others.
After doing some research, I realize that you don’t put your tomatoes in the fridge. If you’re like me, you’ve been doing this for years and didn’t realize it. Think of tomatoes just like avocados. You don’t want to put them in the fridge when you first buy them until they start to ripen. Tomatoes usually are hard when you first purchase them. However, if they’re ready right then, you can fridge them to pause on the spoiling. You can tell if a tomato is ripe if it’s already right red versus a bit pale. A ripe tomato has already had time for flavors to develop. Even if you place the tomatoes in the fridge before you cook them, lay them out until they’re at room temperature again. Tomatoes staying on the vine okay, keep them on the stem down as it stops hair from getting in and moisture. You can place them on a paper towel in the fridge to absorb any additional moisture.
Remember to wrap your greens in paper towels. Have you ever seen the slimy residue on a bag of lettuce? Ugh yuck. Wrapping them in paper towels before you place them inside the fridge to soak up excess moisture. Green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach are just a couple I can think of that check that box. If you made a salad and have some leftovers, store them in some storage containers. The point is to avoid extra moisture.
Celery usually comes in tall plastic with small holes in them. Keeping them in the bag they came with to make them last. Remember, if it has rubber around it, remove it before storing it. Another tip is to wrap the celery in foil. The foil helps it stay fresh and crunchy for up to four weeks in your crisper drawer. Also, it helps to keep just the right amount of moisture in and ethylene gas out.
Wrap your broccoli in foil, tightly wrapping it makes it fresh and crisp for weeks. A tin foil will keep it clean, but it’s porous enough to allow any ethylene to escape. You can also put them in a large ziplock, place a paper towel in the bag before putting it in the fridge. As we know, moisture is the main culprit to spoiling greens. If making a salad with a broccoli mix, store it in a bowl, place a paper towel on top to help absorb moisture, and cover.
The best way to preserve mushrooms is to keep them in a paper bag. You can wrap them in paper or in a paper bag to reduce moisture levels. Staying clean and dry is the key to mushroom longevity. They are best kept out of the fridge. Please place them in a cool, dry place to last longer. If they look a little on the dry side, run them under the tap water and see them plump back up again.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions need to be stored in a cool dark place. They can last up to a month if placed somewhere out with good ventilation. Don’t place them in the refrigerator or plastic bag. And if you didn’t know, never store them in the same bin with potatoes because potatoes release moisture. Suppose you want to keep a good cut onion dry, wrap a portion of the cut onion tightly in plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge.
Have you ever heard of placing your onions in tights? It sounds weird, but it’s true. Keeping them in tights still gives them as much air around them. Good ventilation is kept to make them last. Grab a pair of old tights and hang them in a dark cupboard. By doing this step, you can make them last for up to eight months!
Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes of all kinds need to be in a dark and cool place. You can take them out of the plastic bag and toss them in a bowl or bin to allow as much air as possible. They need ventilation, so it’s best to keep them out instead of placing them in the fridge.
Everyone says if you want to preserve your herbs treat them like flowers. That means occasionally trimming the ends, removing any decaying pieces as you see them, also, like with flowers replacing the water. If they are out on the counter, keep them at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. When you have fresh herbs, asparagus, and green onions, you can store them upright in a glass of fresh water. Just make sure you trim the stems, cover them in a little bit of plastic wrap, then you can place them in the fridge. The best refrigerator location would be the door of the fridge.
Additional Food Storing Tips
Dairy Products & Cheeses
Wrap your cheese in paper. A good porous paper could be like baking paper rather than using plastic wrap. After you wrap them in any wax paper, you can then put them into a plastic ziplock. If the cheese is running dry, spread butter onto the cut side of the cheese to prevent more drying. Cheese, of course, is always best stored in the fridge to prevent molding. If you find a moldy spot over time, you can slice off at least 1 inch around the spot and then clean the knife thoroughly.
Soft cheeses like cream cheese, sour cream, and yogurt need to be store in the fridge. Any goat cheese logs can be securely wrapped in plastic wrap, then stored on the fridge. We want to keep it fresh and cool. Your best spoil detector is your eyes and nose to determine if they are still fresh. If you see a pink mold or smell something funny, toss these items immediately. This is not safe for each. Most of the time, it’s spreading underneath.
When buying oil, most of the time, you grab those large containers. Well of course because it’s cheaper and you can use it for a while. Once you start using it repeatedly, the air is getting exposed to it and causing it to age faster. I recommend using small jars to store oil instead of leaving it in that large container. If you indeed have rather keep using the container, make sure it’s kept in a cool, dark place away from any heat in the kitchen.
It’s hard not to keep the spices next to the stove, I mean the convenience! Unfortunately keeping them near the heat or any sunlight will cause them to lose flavor. OMG, they can actually lose flavor? I know right! That garlic chicken might need to be covered in garlic to get the pop! So number one tip! Keep it away from the stove, even on a refrigerator is a better alternative.
Different Ways to Store food
Crowding your refrigerator is a no-go. The less air circulation is crating warm spots for the food to start spoiling. When stocking your fridge, always allow additional space. One thing I do is every time I go grocery shopping, I always reclean and organize my fridge. Two chores in one!
Another tip that I’m sure probably becomes a lesson learned is to use food storage bags or containers. Storing the food this way will help keep your fridge organized and avoid spills. I can honestly say there have been many times when I would take a bowl and cover it with saran wrap. One, it always took up more space than needed, and all the open-air opportunities let it spoil faster.
How do you store Fruits and Vegetables?
It was a surprise that I didn’t need to place everything in the fridge to preserve them. For example, some you can keep in a cool pantry. Pantry store produce can be avocados, citrus, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. Watch out for storing onions next to potatoes; these must be stored apart. Some separation anxiety needs to happen with apples too. One moldy apple can lead to a bunch of moldy apples because it’s looking to spread. Being careful of what products to keep near each other is important because of ethylene gas. For this reason, they cause each other to spoil faster. So keep your bananas singled out on their own.
Fridge Food Storing Tips
Ok, looking at the layout of an empty fridge, your wondering where to put what? Lay everything out on the counter, and let’s restock. After learning all of what I’m telling you today, I was able to keep food fresher longer. Take one day off and rearrange the items in the fridge. You will love the preservation when you save more money than wasting it on tossing food.
The fridge’s temperature is the number one factor when keeping food fresh. Check your temperature, and it should be between 38-40 degrees F. It’s cold enough to keep things fresh without freezing them.
- Store dairy products in the back of the fridge.
- Only keep Milk that is on its way out on the door.
- Put meat on the bottom shelf. You don’t want to put the meat on top at risk of spoiling other food.
- Keep your cold cuts separate from your raw meat, probably try a center shelf.
- Your Fruits and Vegetables need their own drawer, don’t mix and match
- Eggs should be store in their original cartons on the middle or top shelves where it’s coldest.
- Condiments, butter, soft cheeses go on the door of the fridge
When to trash refrigerator stored foods after usage
- Fish: 1-2 days
- Meat: 2-3 days
- Vegetables or Fruits: 5-7 days
Fridge Storage Solutions (Amazon Picks)
Left-overs Glassware / Labels/ Fridge Storage Bins
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