One of the most frustrating feelings is pulling one of your favorite foods from the fridge, only to realize it’s gone bad. It’s a waste of money and of good food.
Each year, about 40% of the food in America goes uneaten. It’s simply left to rot and thrown in the garbage, costing an estimated $165.0 billion per year. As far as the average American household goes, families toss out up to a quarter of the food they buy.
Part of the reason why all this food goes to waste is because of overbuying and improper storage techniques. You don’t want to throw away the food in your fridge, but you don’t want to eat something that’s gone bad, either.
How you store your food has a significant impact on how long it will stay fresh and edible. Here are some tips to help you save money and avoid wasting food by keeping food fresh longer.
Eggs: The deeper these items are in the fridge, the better. Eggs should be kept in their original packaging in order to get the most life, and placed on a shelf as opposed to in the door. Even if your fridge came with an egg tray or has an egg compartment in the door, don’t use them. Keeping them in their original packaging and placing them deep in the fridge can keep freshness for three to four weeks past that sell-by date. Not only will this help you avoid wasting food, you’ll also save money.
Milk: Milk should also be buried deep in the fridge to ensure it’s always getting the coldest temperatures. When it’s close to the door, it’s subject to too many temperature fluctuations that can limit freshness. You surely don’t want a glass of curdled milk!
Cherries, Plums, Nectarines and Peaches: The most important thing to remember to keep these fruits fresh as long as possible is to avoid putting them in the fridge until they are completely ripe. If they are still firm when you put them in the fridge, they will never fully ripen and eventually just go bad. Keep them on the counter, then move these fruits to the fridge if and when it’s necessary. Cherries are the exception and can be stored in the fridge right away. This is because they are ripe when picked.
Onions and Garlic: Keep these items in a warm, dry place on the counter. Putting them in the fridge will not only result in rotting, but can potentially damage other fruits and vegetables in their vicinity, causing even more wasting of food.
Leafy Greens: These vegetables also have a tendency to turn quickly, so to avoid wasting food, keep them ripe. First, pat them down with paper towel to remove any moisture. Once they are dry, put them in a plastic bag and into the crisper. Keeping them dry is the best way to preserve life.
Another thing to remember are to keep most items in their original packaging: berries, eggs, and most other items stay freshest in the packaging you buy them in. Also, if you’re not going to eat it, don’t buy it! That’s the best way to save on groceries and keep yourself from wasting food. And finally, fresh food won’t stay that way forever, so don’t buy greens today and hope to eat them two weeks from now; if you do, you’ll be disappointed!
“Frequently Asked Questions,” The Australian Egg Industry web site; http://www.eggs.org.au/faqs, accessed May 28, 2013.
“Stone Fruit Storage Guide,” Fresh Direct web site, http://www.freshdirect.com/shared/popup.jsp?catId=sf&attrib=CAT_STORAGE_GUIDE_MEDIA&tmpl=large, last accessed May 28, 2013.
“How to Store Vegetables to Keep the Fresh,” Eat Right Ontario web site; http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/How-to-store-vegetables-to-keep-them-fresh.aspx, last accessed May 28,2013.