5 Easy Ways to Make Your Groceries Last Longer
Amidst the current coronavirus pandemic, we're all more consciously taking note of what we have in our kitchens and looking for simple ways to extend the shelf life of our food. Thankfully, with a little storage savvy, it's easier than you think to make food last longer. Below, five easy tips to get started. Long after the glorious day when social distancing ends, we have a feeling we'll keep using these ideas.
1. Store your bread in the freezer.
Since we're all grocery shopping less frequently these days, we may have more bread than we can use before the expiration dates. If this is the case, throw a few pre-sliced loaves in the freezer, as Good Morning America recommends. By doing this, Amy Keating, a registered dietitian with Consumer Reports, says bread can last for up to three months. Just take the slices you ned out at a time though, not thawing and freezing the full loaf.
2. Take mushrooms out of those plastic-wrapped storage containers.
If you want your mushrooms to last longer, leaving them in this packaging is a big no-no. "Avoid storing mushrooms in plastic, which can trap moisture causing them to spoil faster," writes Natalie LaVolpe for Farmers' Almanac. "Instead, store them in a paper bag or cardboard box in either a cool dry place or in the refrigerator." Why haven't we been doing this for years? Well, now we know.
3. Wash only the berries you're about to eat.
Most of us tend to wash all our berries in one batch before storing them in the fridge. To help preserve these fruits, skip that protocol and instead only wash berries immediately prior to eating. Keating also notes for Good Morning America that you should line the storage container for your berries with a paper towel to ward off mold.
4. Store whole wheat flour in the refrigerator.
Time to move this pantry staple into your fridge, dear readers. "High oil levels in the wheat germ can make this baking staple go rancid if kept in the pantry too long," explain Kelsey Kloss and Krista Carothers, per Reader's Digest, who add that if whole wheat flour is stored in an airtight container in your fridge, it can keep for up to six months. Before using, smell it to make sure it's completely odorless, if it smells "sharp or bitter" it's no longer good. Reader's Digest also shares one more helpful piece of advice on the flour front: White flour can keep for about a year in your pantry as long as it's kept in an airtight container.
5. Lean heavily on these fruits and veggies:
Apples, potatoes, beets, onions, carrots. During the coronavirus crisis, rethink your menu planning to incorporate fruits and vegetables like the aforementioned since they can stay fresh for a long time. For more on how to store them properly, read our guide here.
We'd love to hear your best tips: What are you doing to keep your food fresh for longer and stretch your groceries for as lengthy a period as possible?