13 Weird Tricks To Make Food Last Longer

food storage

We are stuck inside!

With the world on lockdown, most of us are spending all our time indoors, self-isolating and trying to avoid going to crowded places.

One of which, of course, is the grocery store or supermarket.

With shopping trips happening less frequently (once every week or two at most), all of us are having to find ways to make the food we do buy last longer.

That not only means making smarter cooking choices, but trying to prevent rot, spoilage, and food waste!

Try these weird yet surprisingly effective tricks to make your food last a whole lot longer:

Don’t Wash Your Produce

Don’t make the mistake of washing your produce before you put it into the fridge; instead, only wash it when you pull it out to cook with. Water will speed up the deterioration of fruits and vegetables when they are stored in your fridge, which means they’ll start rotting sooner AND rot faster. Put your produce away dry and try to keep it as dry as possible until you’re ready to use it.

Freeze Veggies and Fruits

If your fridge is too full of fruits and veggies, why not freeze some and free up space? Freezing some veggies will affect their flavor or the way they cook, but some, including bell peppers and dark greens, will remain unaffected by the freezing. Freeze berries, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and stone fruits to use for smoothies, but keep apples, oranges, and melons in the fridge to eat first.

Sauce or Soup It

Before food starts to rot, cook it and turn it into something delicious! Tomatoes are a prime candidate for early use, and you can turn even slightly rotten or moldy tomatoes into tomato soup or sauce for a delicious pasta. Carrots, cabbage, onions, peppers, dark greens, and zucchini all make great soup additions, and you’ll find turning them into soup helps to keep them from rotting longer. After all, soup can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or more, or in the freezer for months at a time.

Wash Your Berries in Vinegar

More specifically, a solution of one cup of vinegar mixed with three cups of water. This will kill off the bacteria that live on the surface of your berries—particularly strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries—and prevent the bacteria from speeding up decay. Wash the berries for less than a minute in this vinegar solution, then rinse well, dry thoroughly, and store in clean, air-tight containers.

Store Milk in Glass Bottles

Plastic gallon jugs are a great option for storing milk, but if you’re the kind of person who buys in cardboard cartons, you may find your milk spoils before you can use it. Empty out that carton of milk into a glass bottle to make your milk last longer. As a bonus, the glass will make the milk even colder, giving you that ice-cold deliciousness with every cup.

Keep an Apple With Your Potatoes

This nifty trick will prevent the potatoes from sprouting, making sure they’re in prime cooking shape for longer! The ethylene in the apple does the trick of keeping your potatoes sprout-free.

Cut off Beet and Carrot Tops

The leafy tops may look prettier and more natural, but the truth is that the leaves are going to continue stealing nutrients from the root veggies long after they’ve come out of the ground. To preserve the nutritional quality of your carrots and beets, trim off the tops before storing them in the fridge.

Store Lemons in a Plastic Bag

Turns out that storing lemons in a plastic bag in the fridge will keep them fresh for a lot longer—up to a whole month, according to one experiment. Place your lemons in  an airtight bag and place them in the fridge to extend their lifespan.

Store Greens with a Paper Towel

Bagged greens will usually begin to rot within four or five days of sitting in your fridge, and they can be unusable within a week or so. However, adding a paper towel into the container or bag will absorb the moisture inside the package, preventing it from rotting the greens too quickly. This simple trick can double the lifespan of most leafy greens!

Store Mushrooms in a Paper Bag

The paper will help to evaporate any moisture that might build up on the mushrooms’ surface, preventing that moisture from spoiling the mushrooms too quickly. Avoid plastic, as it will encourage the build-up of moisture inside your fridge.

Store Asparagus with Water

All of the asparagus you want to keep fresh and crisp for longer—up to a full week—store it upright in a container or jar with a bit of water. The water will be absorbed into the asparagus stalks and keep them fresh, as well as slowing down rot. Cover the container lightly with a plastic bag and store in your fridge.

Keep Your Cucumbers Out of the Fridge

It turns out we’ve been storing cucumbers all wrong! Most cucumbers will begin to deteriorate within three days inside your fridge, beginning to show signs of “cold injury”, including decay, pitting on the peel, and wateriness. Storing them on your counter-top will avoid cold injury and keep them crisp and tasty for longer!

Use Ice Water to Revive Lettuce

If you’ve had those heads of lettuce sitting in your fridge for a week or so, they might be looking awfully wilted and limp. Don’t throw them out, though; instead, throw them into a bowl of ice water (or very cold water). Let the leaves soak for about 30 minutes to let them absorb the cold water, and they’ll be marvelously crisp once more—and ready for serving in your salad!

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