With Americans wasting an average of $2,275 a year by throwing out 40 percent of the food they buy, I think it's safe to say that it would do everyone some good to learn ways to make groceries last longer. Simple knowledge of what temperatures to store foods at, or what foods you should store together, can make all the difference. Start saving money on your groceries now by following these 8 ways to make groceries last longer.
It will usually save you money to buy onions in big bags rather then one at a time. That is, if you follow these ways to make groceries last longer! Believe it or not, onions stored in pantyhose will last as long as 8 months! All you need to do is put your onions in pantyhose and tie knots between each onion. Plus you can hang them in your pantry closet for some freaky wall art! If you don't want to use pantyhose, use paper bags instead. They need to be stored in a dry, breathable container, so never store them in plastic bags as they lead to mold and sprouting. Remember that this is for storing uncut onions. Cut onions should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated.
Berries will last longer if you wash them in a vinegar solution before storing them. Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Swirl your berries around in the mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. Don't worry, the vinegar solution is diluted enough that you won't taste the vinegar. Raspberries will last a week or more using this storing method, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft!
Fresh-cut avocados are one of the hardest foods to keep fresh and looking green. A way to get around this annoyance is to spray your leftover avocados or guacamole with cooking spray before putting it back in the fridge. There are a number of methods to keep avocados green, and using oil is one of the best ways. If storing an avocado after it's been cut, make sure to try and keep the pit in the avocado.
4. Salad Lettuce
Prep your salad lettuce as though you're going to eat it. Chop the lettuce, give it a good rinse, and then run it through a salad spinner. This part is important, because moisture is the enemy of crisp lettuce. Put your lettuce into a big bowl and drape a paper towel or two over the top so moisture doesn't settle on the leaves while your salad sits in the fridge. Cover the whole thing with a really tight seal of plastic wrap, and store. This trick using a paper towel will keep your salad lettuce fresh all week long!
5. Fresh Herbs
Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil using ice cube trays! The herbs will infuse the oil while freezing, and the oil and herb "ice cubes" are very handy for cooking. Simply pop one out and use it as the base of a dish. This storing method works best with rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. Remember that dill, basil, and mint should always be used fresh.
Bananas are another tough food to keep fresh. To slow down the spoiling process, wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap. Your bananas will keep for 3-5 days longer than usual, which is especially helpful if you eat organic bananas! Bananas also produce more ethylene gas than any other fruit, so keep them isolated on the counter so they don't cause other produce to spoil quicker.
7. Freeze Your Bread
If you notice that your family doesn't eat all of the bread in your home before it gets stale or moldy, start storing half of a loaf in the freezer. Some people often store their bread in the refrigerator but that's not the best place for it. Bread stored in the refrigerator will dry out and become stale much faster than bread stored at room temperature. Thus, leave what bread you think you will use in the next few days out on the counter, and put the rest in the freezer to thaw out as you need it. Most pre-sliced breads freeze well and will maintain their quality for at least three months once frozen.
Don't store tomatoes in plastic bags as the trapped ethylene gas they produce will make them ripen faster. Unripe tomatoes should be kept stem side down, in a paper bag or single layer in a cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red in color. Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up. Overly ripe tomatoes should be put in the fridge, but let them come to room temperature first before eating them.
Knowing how to keep your groceries fresher longer is a great way to keep from wasting food. It's also a great way to save money by allowing you to buy your groceries in bulk and storing them to last longer. Keep in mind that organic foods tend to spoil faster and don't ever eat something that you consider to be questionable. How do you store your foods to make them last longer?