Real talk: the average person wastes more than 200 pounds of food a year. Maybe it’s because our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, maybe it’s because we live in a society that prioritizes quantity over quality or maybe it’s because the items in our refrigerator and pantry just go bad too soon. While the first two are preventable and dependent on our habits, that last one can be tricky. After all, sometimes food just goes bad, plain and simple. Fortunately, there is something you can do to make your food last longer. Use these five tips to extend the shelf life of your groceries and get more out of every bite.
You know those plastic bags used for packaging most types of fruit and vegetables? Pitch them when you get home. (Or, alternatively, bring small reusable bags to the store with you and use them for your produce.) Plastic bags trap the humidity and can cause your produce to rot much quicker.
Is there food in your refrigerator that is on the verge of expiring? Freeze it! You can do this with everything from fruit to leftovers from the casserole you made the other night. Most things freeze well, and can be thawed or warmed up so you can enjoy them months down the road. Just make sure to label and date everything you put away—and make sure your freezer bags are tightly sealed!
Stock up on glass containers to store your dry goods! This will keep them safe from any humidity. Dry goods include everything from boxes of pasta and cereal to containers of nuts and granola. You can use containers or jars in any shape or size— take your pick and start sorting today!
And get to work. While it might be a little ambitious (not to mention time- consuming) to label everything in your refrigerator and pantry, you can start with recent leftovers or items that go bad quickly, like milk or bread. Labeling items can help you keep track of when you made or opened them, or when they might expire. This tip is a great one for anybody who has thrown something out because they’re not sure if it’s gone bad, and they’d rather be safe than sorry.
To the front of your refrigerator or pantry. When all else fails, move the items that are closer to expiring to the front. If it’s the first thing you see when you open the door, it will be top-of-kind (and hopefully bottom-of-stomach.) Eat up!
Herbert-Winter, Lana. (N.D.) 6 Ways to Prolong the Shelf Life of Food and Save Your Money.
Meal Plan Magic. (2016, February 10.) 13 Trusted Methods for Storing Food Safely and Extending Shelf-Life.