How to Make Your Groceries Last Longer
You probably go to the grocery store once a week, or once every two weeks. Then, when you go to use produce, how angry are you when you pull it out of the fridge and it’s spoiled? Here are a few ways to keep your produce fresh.
Now that warmer weather is (hopefully) on the way and you’re not going to be using those pantyhose anymore for your legs, use them to store onions. Red, white and yellow onions stored in pantyhose can be kept fresh for eight months. Slip and onion in one leg, tie a knot and then slip another onion in, tie a knot, and so on until all the onions in your bag are in your pantyhose. I like using green onions, but they spoil so quickly. With a food scissors, cut up your green onions and dry them completely. Place them in a plastic bottle and seal the cap tightly. Pop them in the freezer and shake a few out when you need them. Also, don’t store onions and potatoes near each other. The onions will spoil. Store apples with potatoes and it will keep the potatoes from sprouting.
Growing your own herbs can save you a ton of money, but if you don’t use them right away, what’s the point? Well, when your herbs are ready to be picked, store them like flowers. Cut them at the base and put them in a mason jar or a vase and loosely cover them with plastic. Secure them with a rubber band and put the whole contraption in the fridge. This works with parsley, cilantro, basil and chives. If you grow oilier herbs like thyme, cut them at the base, secure with a rubber band and hang upside down in the open air. There’s also an herb savor that can keep your herbs fresh for three weeks. You can also use an ice cube tray to keep your herbs fresh. Pick your herbs and place them in an ice cube tray and then fill it with olive oil and pop them in the freezer. When you’re cooking and the recipe calls for olive oil and basil, you can just take a cube or two and put it in the pan.
When you get lettuce, broccoli or celery home from the store, wrap it in tin foil. You can keep it fresh for four weeks! Speaking of lettuce, if you buy the salad kits, or have leftover salad, leave it in the bowl. Take a square of paper toweling and fold it up. Stick it in the bowl and cover it up tightly with plastic wrap. Just remember that if you notice the paper towel getting wet, replace it immediately. Salad spinners are wonderful, too. They get rid of a lot of moisture, which is the cause of wilting leaves.
I love tomatoes, but keeping them fresh is such a pain. Turns out, I was keeping them in their plastic bags and that was not the thing to do. Ethylene gets trapped in the bag and that makes them go bad. If your tomatoes aren’t quite ripe, put them stem side down in a cardboard box in a cool area until they ripen. You should store ripe tomatoes stem side up on the counter at room temp, but make sure they aren’t touching each other.
You can purchase these cool little egg looking things that keep your food fresh in your fridge. They’re ethylene pods and they’re $16 for a set of three, but they pay back dividends when you’re talking about how much fruit and vegetables cost.