How many times have you purchased extra food to avoid another trip to the grocery store, only to turn around and throw it out because you let it go bad?
If you fall anywhere into this category of people, you are far from alone. In fact, did you know that up to 40% of food in America ends up in the trash? That’s the equivalent of 80 billion pounds, to put it in perspective.
Thankfully, as with most things in life, there are small steps you can take to avoid contributing to that problem. And trust us, doing so will only benefit you even more in the end by saving you some serious pennies.
Here are 12 awesome food hacks to keep your foods fresh for longer and to keep them out of the waste bin.
1. Mushrooms and parsley are a match made in Heaven
Yep! Believe it or not, storing your mushrooms in a paper bag nestled in with a sprig of parsley can do wonders for your fungi. How? The parsley serves as an anti-oxidant, which prevents your mushrooms from developing brown spots and going to mush.
2. Keep the mold out of your sour cream and cottage cheese
After you’ve opened your sour cream or cottage cheese, the race is on for mold and bacteria to start growing inside of it. Until now that is. Just flip the container upside down on its lid. This will create a vacuum of sorts and keep the invasive nasties from growing.
3. Keep your goods aways from gas
In case you weren’t aware, natural gas has a quick-ripening effect on produce. Unfortunately, it can easily make your fresh fruits and veggies a little overripe. So, if you have a gas stove, best to keep your produce stored away on a counter nowhere near it.
4. Circulation is key
Besides basic housekeeping, there’s actually solid reasoning behind cleaning out your fridge on a regular basis. That reason is to make sure your fridge has plenty of air circulation moving around your refrigerated goods. This will reduce moisture build-up and get rid of any mold spores or bacteria lurking around your food.
5. Keep ground beef fresh
Did you know that ground beef should be consumed within 24 hours of purchasing it? If you don’t plan on eating it that fast (especially if you’re one of those 10 lb chub shoppers), the best thing to do is stick it in a bag and freeze it. Bonus tip: keep your freezer organized by flattening the meat inside the bag to save space and make it stackable.
6. Freeze your berries the RIGHT way
Stop throwing fresh berries in a bag and freezing them if you don’t want them to come out as solid, messy clumps. Instead, line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and freeze them until just solid. Then scoop them into a bag and put them back in the freezer for long-term storage.
7. Freeze your cheese
Tired of dealing with hard cheese ends from where you cut it? Do away with the problem entirely by snuggly wrapping it with wax paper. Don’t have wax paper? Just rub the cut side with a thin layer of butter and your cheese will stay soft and tasty.
8. Have your honey how you want it
Did you know that honey never expires? It’s true! Archaeologists even uncovered a 5,500-year-old jar of honey that was still, well…honey. Even though it doesn’t expire, some people don’t like dealing with it once it has crystallized and hardened. The good news is that they don’t have to.
Simply stick your jar of hardened honey in a pot with a small amount of simmering water and melt it back to the consistency you prefer. Alternatively, you can zap it in the microwave (so long as there’s no metal in the packaging) for 30-second intervals until you have it just where you want it.
9. Keep your dry goods fresh
Just because some bulk foods are already dried doesn’t mean they can’t go stale. Keep all your dry bulk goods fresh by storing them in clear, air-tight storage jars. That way they stay fresh, and you can always see what you have to hand or when something is getting low.
10. Keep flour bugs at bay
This tip works for flour, cornmeal, and rice. Keep the weevils out by storing a Bay leaf inside the bag or container. Weevils and other bugs absolutely hate the smell of Bay leaves and as a result, they’ll leave your staples alone.
11. Wrap your banana stems
Here’s the deal- as bananas ripen they release a byproduct known as ethylene gas through the stems, and this gas is what causes bananas to soften and turn brown. So, by tightly wrapping the stems in plastic wrap, you’ll slow down that process so you have a longer window to enjoy your fresh bananas.
12. Keep carrots, celery, and radishes fresh and contained
“To keep celery, carrots, and radishes fresh, chop them and store them in the fridge in a container of water. They’ll stay fresh for a surprisingly long time this way!” says One Good Thing by Jillee.
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