Learning to properly store the fresh foods that you buy extends the life and usefulness of the food and keeps you from throwing money in your garbage can.
Here are 14 food storage tips everyone should know:
- Don’t store onions and potatoes together. Onions will last 2-3 months if stored in a cool, dry area. If you store them in clean stockings, put a knot between each onion so they don’t touch and find a place to hang. Cut off below the bottom onion when you want to use.
- Do store potatoes and apples together. This will keep the potatoes from sprouting.
- Wrap the end of your bananas (where they come together) with plastic wrap. This will add several days to the life of the banana.
- Place a paper towel in with your leafy vegetables. This will keep them from wilting. The moisture will go to the towel and not the leaves. You can also layer the leaves on a paper towel and roll it up to keep salad greens fresh.
- Store ripe tomatoes on the counter, out of the sun, not touching each other.
- Unripe tomatoes will ripen stem side down in a paper bag. To ripen faster, add a piece of fruit to the bag.
- Store mushrooms in a cool dry place in a paper bag, not in a plastic bag.
- Don’t let ground meat go bad. When there is a good sale, ask the butcher to package it for you in one pound batches. Tell him to pack it flat instead of in a ball. Freeze the individual packages until you need them. They will defrost much faster when they are flat.
- Don’t let your citrus go bad. Juice the lemons, limes and oranges before they get yucky. Pour the juice into ice cube trays. Now you can have as much or little juice as you would like.
- Save soup greens until you need them. Have a bag in your freezer and add bits and pieces of left over veggies for your next batch of soup. When you are ready to make the soup, just pull out the bag and dump them into your soup pot. Make sure they are cleaned and ready to use before you put them in the freezer bag.
- Keep your bread in the freezer. Bread without preservatives doesn’t last long on your kitchen counter, but it lasts for a long time in your freezer. Make sure you slice muffins and bagels before your freeze them or it takes a long time for them to thaw enough to cut.
- To freeze berries, make sure you freeze them without touching each other on a cookie sheet or other single layer. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them into a bag. If you don’t do this, you will just have a lump of berries and won’t be able to easily eat them or add them to a smoothie.
- Freeze grapes and then add them to drinks (wine, seltzer, soda).. They don’t melt like ice, so they won’t dilute your drink. Buy a lot of grapes during their season and freeze them. They will last in the freezer through the off season.
- Don’t store eggs and milk on your fridge door. The opening and closing of the door exposes them to warmer temperatures and therefore shorten their usefulness.
- Know how long food will last in the freezer and the pantry and use it before it spoils.