Storing Food – How to Keep Food Fresher Longer
Storing food is just as important as buying it. If you’re a picky shopper like me and you have to watch what you spend, you’ll want to preserve your goodies for as long as possible.
No one likes going to get supplies to make dinner, only to find out they’ve spoiled. Regardless of what you’ve been told, what you spend your money on is an investment – and that includes your food!
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
Forty percent of food in the US goes uneaten, which is the equivalent of 20 pounds of food per person per month.
"This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for a large portion of U.S. methane emissions."
Reducing losses of just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year… at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food.
And that’s just in the US!
If that’s totally unacceptable to you too, then you’ll need to do your part to ensure that your food doesn’t go to waste. Most of us older gals today, remember that our mom’s never threw food away! Maybe those practices were more important than we really knew?
According to a recent study by the consulting firm McKinsey ranks, reducing food waste is a key opportunity to improving resource productivity. It is clear that storing food is an important aspect that should be considered in every day living.
Storing food DOES take a little time and effort on your part. This is easiest to do when you get home from shopping. Most techniques only take a few minutes so it’s not terribly time consuming. It will pay off time and time again if you put a little energy in conserving what you are so lucky to have.
Tips for Storing Food
Immediately rinse fresh berries in a solution of one part vinegar (any kind) to ten parts water, making sure they’re all well coated. Drain the berries, rinse again with water only, then store in the frig. Strawberries can last up to two weeks and raspberries and blueberries will last a week or more.
Putting a paper towel (or two) in a bag with already rinsed lettuce will keep it from wilting. The paper towel absorbs the excess moisture, which leaves the lettuce crisp.
Store potatoes with fresh apples to keep them from sprouting.
Speaking of apples… One bad apple really does spoil the whole bunch. Sort through bags of apples when you get home and toss any bad apples immediately.
After you open and cut block cheese, rub the outside down with a small bit of room temperature butter or oil. This will keep the cheese from drying out. Also, wrapping cheese in aluminum foil deters molding.
Speaking of cheese. Never handle cheese with your hands, which can transfer bacteria from your hands to the cheese and make it grow mold quicker. Instead, hold the cheese with a paper towel or piece of plastic wrap while you’re cutting it.
Never leave fresh mushrooms in their cardboard container covered by plastic. Instead, store them in a paper bag, which absorbs the excess moisture. No more mildewed mushrooms!
Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays. The herbs infuse with the oil and they’re ready to use when you need them!
Did you know that leaving bananas in a bunch will make them ripen all at the same time? To keep some bananas for later in the week, separate them immediately and place on the counter. Additionally, you can cover the ends with aluminum foil and/or plastic wrap too.
The price of butter has skyrocketed recently, if you hadn't noticed. You can extend what you have by whipping it with equal parts of water. (One stick butter = 1/2 C.) Store in a margarine tub and use it for breads and cooked veggies. However, don't use it for baked goods.
Roast raw nuts as soon as possible, then store them in the freezer. Mason jars make the perfect storage container! Roasted nuts have more flavor and keep fresher longer. They are always available for recipes. Alternately, raw nuts also last longer in the freezer.
Wrapping items like celery, broccoli, and lettuce in aluminum foil before storing it in the veggie bin, will keep it crisp for up to four weeks.
Get snuggly with quart-sized mason jars to use for storing food. They provide a longer lasting, healthy alternative to plastic containers, which are porous and always allow air to get in. Mason jars are the perfect solution for storing foods like fresh salads, which you can use later in the week.
Alternately, you can use mason jars for most all your dried goods, like beans and rice. Here's how to use them:
Also noteworthy, if the beans get old, just add 1/4-1/2 tsp baking soda to the water when cooking and they will soften up.
Store shallots, garlic, and onions in paper bags with punched out holes. They'll keep fresh up to 3 months or longer.
Storing food like leftover spaghetti sauce and salsa in the frig, can lead to molding. To keep it as fresh as possible, place bottles upside down in the fridge, which prevents mold from growing.
Cut fresh ginger up and store the pieces separately in the freezer. It'll grate easier and you won't even need to peel it.
Don't store your potatoes with onions. Onions need to be in a dry and cool place with good circulation. The best method is to place onions in panty hose, separated by a knot.
Keep your asparagus fresher longer by treating them like cut flowers. Cut the stems off, place in a little water, cover with a plastic bag, and store them in the refrigerator. They'll stay crisp up to 7 days or longer. Optionally, you can use this same method for fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, and cilantro.
Never store tomatoes in plastic bags, which traps in ethylene and makes them ripen faster. Store unripened tomatoes stem side down in a cool place til they ripen. Keep ripened tomatoes on the counter stem side up, separated, and out of direct sunlight.
Switch over to raw or organic milk. It has much more health benefits and stays fresh much longer too.
Once cereal is opened, it degrades fairly quickly. Keeping opened boxes in the freezer will keep them crunchier and prevent them from going stale.
An even better tip is to ditch the cereal and opt for oatmeal. Most ALL cereals today are made from genetically modified foods, which are highly questionable.
Storing food properly helps make every penny count... and keeps rotten food out of trash cans and landfills. With so many people starving world wide today, there's no excuse for wasting food.
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How to Store Tomatoes
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