Food-we can’t live without it. But how much of it do we waste? Do you have any idea how much of your monthly food budget ends up in the dumpster?
Here are 10 tips to help you stretch out the shelf life of your groceries so you can save money at the supermarket.
1. Take stock and plan:
Upon arrival home with all your goodies, take a few minutes to note the shelf life of each item. Store your food items so that those with the shortest life are at the front, leaving the longer lasting items for the rear.
2. Mold loves your bread:
If you are not going to consume that yummy loaf of bread you just bought, place it into the freezer. You can easily out the loaf or the portion you want by popping it into your oven. You will keep the mold away and save money.
3. Guard your fruits and vegetables from ethylene gas:
The chief cause of early spoilage of fresh fruits and vegetables is ethylene, a natural emission. For only around $10 you can purchase a product called “Ethylene Gas Guardian” which will absorb the gas.
4. Make it a soup night:
Keep an eye on your veggies and when you see they are starting to look weary, gather them all up and make yourself an awesome soup. You can freeze the soup if you don’t want to eat it, but at least you will not be forced to throw away precious produce.
5. Store leftovers in airtight containers:
If you have chopped up way too much fruit or vegetables for whatever you were planning, be sure to package what is left in airtight storage containers. Glass is the best. Get in the habit of saving all those glass jars that your other food comes in and reuse them for food storage.
6. Skip the convenience of pre-packaged produce:
It may look tempting but fresh produce that has been sitting in a bag is already many steps forward in the process toward spoilage. It is worth it to take the time to wash and sort the produce yourself.
7. Use a cheese moisturizer:
Sounds funny, but this little trick will save you from having to throw out those slices of cheese that have a habit of drying out and becoming totally unappetizing. Take a bit of butter and spread it on the side of the cheese that is exposed and then wrap the whole thing in wax paper. After this, place it into a plastic bag. Cheese is expensive. This trick will save you money.
8. Fresh herbs need special care, they can quickly go bad and they are not cheap:
If you will be using them fairly soon, cut the ends when you come home from the supermarket and keep them in clean water. Otherwise, mix your herbs with olive oil and store them in ice cube trays in the freezer.
9. Turn your vegetable drawer into a sand box:
The perfect way to store all those root vegetables, such as turnips, parsnips, carrots and beets is in sand. It will keep them fresh for a long time.
10. Give your refrigerator frequent check-ups:
You will be surprised how much food you can save simply be ensuring that your refrigerator is functioning at optimum temperature. Some fridges can be tricky, so it may take a little experimenting, but you do not want it to be so cold that your fresh food freezes, nor so warm as to invite bacteria. If you have a newer refrigerator, be sure to take advantage of all the special drawers and shelves that are designated for certain food types. And clean out your refrigerator weekly. Spoiled food loves company. Bacteria from spoilage will spread to your other food, even if it is fresher.