7 Ways to Store Fresh Food Longer
Experts say the average family throws out nearly 15 percent of all fresh foods they purchase each year. Depending upon where you live and the time of year, that could add up to quite a bit of money. It is important to find ways to store fresh food for longer. Here are seven ways to accomplish this.
1. Homemakers of years past had a root cellar to place root vegetables like potatoes, onions and carrots. They may have also used the root cellar to store home canned goods. Perhaps you do not have a root cellar, but you can use the same basic idea.
The goal is to keep these vegetables in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight. Storing them in the refrigerator will actually make them spoil quicker. An alternative is to store root vegetables in paper bags stored in the cabinet. Be sure to keep onions and potatoes separate or they will spoil.
2. Cheese is another food that spoils if not used quickly. Wrap cheese in wax paper before storing it in the refrigerator. This will allow the cheese to breathe but will not allow excess moisture to reach it. Be sure to keep each type of cheese separate from the others to stop flavors from mixing.
3. Fresh herbs are similar to cut flowers; they need water to stay fresh. Keep herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley on the cabinet in a glass with about an inch of water. On the other hand, non-leafy herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary keep best if stored in a moistened paper towel and then put in a reusable bag. Put the bag in the refrigerator.
4. Canning fruits and vegetables is another way to store them for a longer period. Home canning really is not difficult and you know what you have added to the foods. Store-bought canned goods, however, may contain chemical preservatives to maintain freshness. Jelly, jam, sauces, fruit halves or vegetables can be stored for a year or longer if they are processed correctly.
5. A vacuum sealer is also a good investment for storing food. This option may cost more than others, but vacuum-sealed foods can last for months past the normal storage time. When you vacuum seal the food and then place it in the freezer, your storage time increases even further. A quality vacuum sealer will cost between $100 and $300, but they are definitely worth the price when you consider how much food you can save.
6. If you have stored as much of your food as you can and you still have fresh fruits or vegetables that are starting to look too ripe, find recipes that will use the food rather than letting it go to waste. Your family will enjoy a great meal and you will have saved money by keeping the food out of the trashcan.
7. Finally, if you do find some of the food is too far gone to eat, do not simply throw it away. Start a compost pile for all non-protein leftovers or foods that have gone bad. Composting the food will at least provide nutrition for the soil in a flower or vegetable garden.
By using these seven ideas for storing fresh food longer, you can save money, keep food out of your trashcan and in the stomachs of those you love.