Have you ever gone to the supermarket or farmer’s market, loaded up your basket, only to discover the produce has spoiled before you had the chance to use them? It’s a waste of food and waste of money, which none of us want. Below are some tips and tricks I’ve discovered to keep various grocery items fresher for longer.
- Purchase local, in-season produce from the farmer’s market, where possible. The produce will be freshly picked the night before, lending to a longer shelf-life and higher nutrient density.
- Add a sheet of paper towel to containers of lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. This will absorb the moisture and keep the lettuces from getting slimy. This is especially true if you are buying organic.
- Store carrots in a sealed container with small amount of water. The moisture will keep them fresh and firm for up to several weeks.
- Store cilantro, basil, and other herbs upright in a jar or glass of water. Seal in the moisture with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- Store mushrooms in a paper bag. On the counter is fine if live in a cool climate, and refrigerated is better in warmer climates.
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. It will last months, rather than mere days.
- Aim for asparagus with minimal white coloration at the base. Snip off the white, woody bits and place the asparagus upright in a jar or glass of water. Seal in the moisture with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- Store all dairy in the back of the refrigerator where it is the coldest. Never store your milk, creamer, or half & half in the door, as it is much warmer there.
- Keep your potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, apples, and onions in a cool, dry area that is NOT inside your refrigerator. The ultra-cool air can cause them to lose their flavor.
- Spray extra cut up apples, avocados, or guacamole with a little lemon juice to prevent it from browning due to oxidation.
- Citrus stays fresh much longer in the refrigerator, so tuck your lemons, limes, and oranges away in the produce drawer.
- Place un-ripened bananas on the counter, and then once they ripen you can move them to the refrigerator. This will darken the peal, but the fruit will stay fresh.
- Wash and soak your berries in a mixture of 3 parts water, one-part vinegar. Allow to soak for no more than 10 minutes, rinse, and then spread them out on a paper towel to dry. Store in a clear, airtight container, and line the bottom with a paper towel to absorb any moisture.
- If you notice a few berries going bad in the midst of many still fresh ones, remove those pieces, and rinse the remaining berries to stop the spread of mold.
- Dice up herbs and green onions, add to an ice tray with your preferred cooking oil, and the store in the freezer. The next time you need a tablespoon of basil or cilantro, it will be ready for the stove top.
- Store as many refrigerated and dry products in clear glass containers or silicone bags as you can. This will allow you to see the contents, seal them for freshness, remind you how much you have available. You are psychologically much more inclined to use them if you can see the actual product.
- When buying bulk meat, portion it all out into the desired servings and keep it all frozen until right before you plan on cooking it. This prevents from having to defrost large amounts, only to have to put half of it back in the freezer.
- If you do like buying in bulk, consider purchasing a deep-freezer for large items. You’ll be able to purchase goods on sale and then store for even longer than a regular freezer.
- If you take a while to go through cereal, store it into an air-tight container or Ziploc bag, instead of its original box. This will help prevent the items from tasting stale.
- Make grocery trips frequently, and only buy what you can use up, or store in your freezer.
- Consider creating a weekly meal plan that incorporates your own pantry staples and accounts for any recipes that won’t use the full onion or full can of tomato paste.
Hopefully one or two of these were new to you and will help keep your food fresh! Are there any handy tips that I missed? If so, please do share!
What a great list! I’ve known of some of those, but others are new and I will have to try (like the banana in a fridge.
I’ve picked up the tips from family, the internet, and (mostly) farmer’s market staff over the year and they have saved me so much money and frustration. I hope some of them work for you!
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