Did you know that the average American household throws out about 25% of all food and beverages that it purchases? While that may not seem like a huge amount, consider the fact that it usually totals between $1300 and $2300 per year! I think you would agree that you would rather have that money in your pocket than in your garbage.
To help you stop wasting, not only your food, but your hard earned money, here are ten great food saving hacks
1. Potatoes and onions – if your potatoes are sprouting eyes, and your onions are turning green, improper storage is probably to blame. Produce such potatoes and onions (and this also goes for squash and garlic) must be stored in a cool, dark and dry place such as a cupboard (not the fridge). Be sure to keep different items separate when you store them.
2. Refrigerator temperature – to keep food fresh, it is important to ensure that your fridge is set at the correct temperature. Too cold (under 32 degrees F.) and food will start to freeze – too warm (over 40 degrees F.), bacteria will multiply more quickly causing spoilage. Ideally keep the temperature around 35 degrees F.
3. Use ethylene gas absorbers – these handy little items will slow down the rate at which your produce will ripen (and rot). Just toss one or two inside your crisper drawer and they will absorb the ethylene gas which is emitted by fruit as it ripens.
4. Bananas – bananas come with their own set of rules. As they ripen, bananas produce a LOT of ethylene gas which occurs as a result of the stem. Be sure to store bananas separately from everything else. If you want to slow down the ripening process, wrap the stems in plastic wrap. If you are planning to freeze bananas, be sure to peel them first, chop in half and store in a plastic freezer bag.
5. Lettuce – this is one of those vegetables that quickly becomes wilted and rather sad looking after only a couple of days in the fridge. To keep lettuce crisper longer, take it out of the plastic bag, wrap the entire head in a paper towel and then put back in the plastic bag before putting in the crisper. The paper towel will help to absorb moisture, so your lettuce won’t wilt as quickly.
6. Tomatoes – there is considerable debate as to whether tomatoes are best kept in the fridge or on the counter. Kept in the fridge, tomatoes can lose some of their flavour and take on a less desirable texture. Left on the counter, however they will go bad more quickly. Ideally, you should keep them on the counter and eat them within a few days, but if you don’t think you can finish them off before they turn, then it is better to keep them in the fridge.
7. Green onions – they wilt very quickly, so what do you do if you can’t eat them all in one meal? The answer is to stand them upright in a glass that has just enough water to cover the roots. This will keep the green part fresh and crisp. As a bonus, you can use just the green part and put the roots in water and they will even grow back for you!
8. Cheese – many people make the mistake of storing cheese in plastic, but this keeps air from getting out and can cause it to go mouldy faster. Instead, try wrapping cheese in parchment paper before putting it in the fridge to help it last longer.
9. Honey – a food that – miraculously – won’t go spoil! They have even found honey that was over 3000 years old that was perfectly safe to eat! Honey can be stored in the cupboard – if you find it starting to crystallize, just heat it up before using.
10. Nuts and seeds – it is best to keep nuts and seeds in the refrigerator. This is because they contain oils that can go rancid. Refrigeration will help them last.
Hopefully some of these tips will help prevent some of the food in your home from going to the trash – and that will save you money as well!