How annoying is it when, only a few days after you go grocery shopping, you end up throwing out half the things you bought? As you dump out soft cucumbers, wilted salad, and stale cereal, you can't help but think about all the money you are wasting and if there is a way to make your food last longer. If you are looking for solutions to make your groceries stay fresher for longer, then look no further because we found the most common ways people are storing food wrong, and you might be doing the same thing!
1. Regrow Your Scallions And Save Some Money
Have you ever wondered if you could use the inedible parts of food to regrow them? Why take another trip to the grocery store when you could use the produce you already have to grow more? It might seem silly, but there are tons of foods that you can easily grow at home.
Instead of throwing away the white ends of scallions, put them in water and watch them grow before your eyes. If you put them in soil, the flavor is even stronger. It is like having a never-ending supply of scallions!
2. Freeze And Preserve Herbs In Olive Oil To Make Cooking Easier
Have you ever wanted to find better ways to keep your herbs fresher longer? Cooking with herbs can make food even more delicious, but if you don't use them right away, they can go bad, and you may find yourself wasting money.
Instead of letting them lose flavor and throwing the herbs away, put them in ice trays with olive oil and stick them in the freezer. This makes their taste last longer, and you can use one of the cubes as a base for almost any dish. It is best with thyme, sage, rosemary, or oregano.
3. Make Onions Last Up To 8 Months By Storing Them In Pantyhose
Yes, we know this looks bizarre, but trust us. If you are someone who uses onions often, then this is something you should know. When you buy a bunch of onions and don't use them right away, you might find it hard to prevent them from rotting - but put those troubles behind you.
Instead, put your onions in pantyhose and tie knots between each one. Then hang them, and you not only have some interesting wall art, but your onions will stay fresh for up to eight months. Since onions aren't in season year-round, you can buy them when they are best and save them with this trick.
4. Turn Cottage Cheese And Sour Cream Upside Down To Vacuum Seal Them
Cottage cheese and sour cream can be used in various ways, but they do not last long in the fridge. There are so many recipes that use these ingredients, but it's hard to keep them fresh when you only need a small amount for one dish. Fear not, because this trick will help you slow down the process.
After you use your sour cream or cottage cheese, secure the lid, and flip the container upside down. This creates a type of vacuum seal that will slow down bacteria's growth to make them last longer. Not only does this work for cottage cheese and sour cream, but it also works for guacamole.
5. Wrap The Tops Of Bananas In Plastic Wrap So They Don't Over-Ripen
Bananas are a tricky fruit because one minute they are perfect, and then a day or two later, they are over-ripened and much too sweet. Yes, you can use these for banana bread, but sometimes you just want to eat a perfectly ripe banana with some peanut butter (because that is the best combo).
Instead of letting them turn brown, wrap aluminum foil around the tops of the bananas to keep them fresh for three to five days longer. You should also keep your bananas away from other foods because they give off ethylene gas, which causes foods to rot.
6. Milk Does Not Go On The Door Of The Fridge
In most households, milk can be found on the refrigerator door for easy access, but this makes it go sour quickly. If your family goes through milk quickly, you might never notice how the placement changes the milk's quality, but it can make a huge difference.
When you store milk on the refrigerator door, it doesn't stay consistently cold because people are always opening and closing the fridge. The milk temperature goes up and down, which can cause bacteria to grow in it. Instead, put it on a shelf that stays cold so that your milk will stay fresh.
7. Ginger Should Be Stored In The Freezer
While not everyone has ginger in their kitchen, it has many uses, from cold remedies to DIY acne care. It can be used in various recipes ranging from different cultures, but not everyone knows the best ways to store it. The best place to keep your fresh ginger is in the freezer.
Not only will keeping ginger in the freezer make it last longer, but it will also make it easier to peel and grate. Some ginger parts can be harder to peel because it grows in bizarre shapes, but frozen ginger doesn't need to be peeled because it grates and minces so fine.
8. What To Do With Left Over Avocado
If you are anything like us, you must also love avocados, especially on toast with some chili flakes. Even though our mouths are watering just thinking about avocado toast, there is one major problem with this food; there is always a half leftover, and it turns brown within a few hours after you put it in the fridge.
Avocados turn brown so quickly because they are exposed to excess oxygen. Unless you have a small avocado or eat a whole one for a meal, these tips will help. It is best to leave the pit in so that it oxidizes slower. Also, brushing the exposed parts with lemon juice and olive oil and storing it with onion will keep it fresher for more than a day.
9. Clean Your Fridge
This one might seem obvious, but you would be surprised to find out how many people don't regularly clean their refrigerators. Many people would laugh when they see this, but there are plenty of reasons to clean your fridge besides hygienic purposes.
After something goes bad or grows mold, spores are left behind, just waiting to attack the other foods in your refrigerator. If you find something moldy, throw it away, and disinfect the fridge to get rid of the leftover particles that could ruin other things in the refrigerator.
10. Never Store Mushrooms In A Plastic Bag
Mushrooms are so delicious in any kind of meal. From Asian to Italian food, they make everything tastier and can be used as a substitute in many vegan or vegetarian meals. Not to mention that there are different varieties to satisfy your fungi craving. Despite their versatility, they can go bad easily.
To keep your mushrooms fresh, store them in a paper bag in the fridge or in any cool, dry place. If you keep them in plastic, it will trap their moisture and cause mildew to grow. No one wants bacteria growing on their fungi.
11. Put Ice Cream Containers In Plastic Bags
When people buy ice cream, it gets devoured and doesn't stay in the freezer for a while. Those who have self-control might get a carton of ice cream and forget it is in the freezer. The next time they open it, the ice cream has freezer burn, and the creamy, delicious dessert is ruined.
Instead of letting the freezer ruin your favorite dessert, store the container in a plastic bag. The plastic bag will prevent freezer burn and keep the ice cream soft enough to scoop. Another tip is to buy smaller containers so that it doesn't sit long enough to get freezer burn.
12. Melt Crystalized Honey To Get The Original Texture Back
Honey is something every pantry should have because it has so many purposes. From sweetening your tea to at-home face mask recipes, it is a staple that everyone should readily have. At some point, every kind of honey will form crystals, but that doesn't mean it has to go in the trash.
When you see your honey crystallizing, put the glass jar in a water bath, and bring the water to a very light simmer. When the pot has warmed a bit, remove it from the heat and stir it until the crystals are dissolved. The best thing about honey is that it never goes bad because of bacteria-fighting enzymes from honey bees.
13. Bread Should Never Go In The Fridge
Some people have bread boxes on their counters, so it might seem obvious not to put bread in the fridge, but others think it will keep the bread from molding. Bread grows mold quickly, so it might seem like the best solution to make it last a while.
Contrary to popular belief, keeping bread in the fridge will make it stale. It is best to leave it in a place where it can stay at room temperature or get a bread box for optimal bread storage. This is best for homemade bread, but store-bought loaves will keep longer in the fridge.
14. Where Do Tomatoes Go?
No one ever knows the correct place for a tomato, and up until now, neither did we. The standard answer would be in the fridge because that is where most fruits and vegetables go; however, that answer is incorrect. To get perfect tomatoes, follow the tips below.
First, tomatoes should never go in plastic bags because the trapped ethylene gas causes them to over-ripen. If you have unripe tomatoes, store them stem side down in a paper bag and keep it in a cool area until they turn red. Also, to ripen them faster, keep them with fruit. Most importantly, always let your tomatoes come to room temperature before eating.
15. Green Onions Should Be Frozen In A Plastic Bottle
If you love eating different Asian cuisines, you will know that green onions are common in many dishes. However, if you buy a bunch at once for a small recipe, you will have too many, and they can go bad quickly. Instead of wasting money, there is a way to save your extra green onions.
After washing and chopping them, make sure to dry excess moisture and put them in a dry water bottle. Close the water bottle, and store the green onions in the freezer. They need to be dry so that they don't get freezer burn if you leave them in there for a while.
16. Make Sure Your Lettuce Stays Crispy And Fresh
Have you ever dealt with wilted lettuce because you couldn't finish the bag after opening it? No one likes the taste of soggy, flimsy greens when they could have fresh, crisp lettuce instead. It is a problem that truly plagues the world.
After you open your lettuce, keep a paper towel in the container to make it last for an entire week. This trick also works with regular towels as well. The towel absorbs the excess moisture and keeps the lettuce from getting flimsy. You will never have to worry about wilted lettuce again.
17. Put Red Spices In The Refrigerator So They Stay Flavorful
Spices can change a dish entirely and add that kick of flavor to even the blandest ingredients. While many people believe that spices never go bad, that is incorrect. If they are not stored correctly, spices can lose a lot of their flavor over time, and then you are back to tasteless meals.
For red spices, they should be kept in cold places to make the flavor last longer. Also, your spice rack should never go next to the oven because the heat ruins the taste as well. It is also best to buy spices in bulk at ethnic stores because it is much cheaper and fresher than the grocery store.
18. Treat Your Delicate Herbs Like Flowers
Fresh herbs not only add flavor and color to foods, but they are often used to garnish plates. Usually, when you buy a bundle of fresh herbs, they go bad within a day or two. Instead, treat your herbs just like you would fresh flowers.
For parsley, cilantro, and basil, put them in freshwater, cover them with a plastic bag, and secure with a rubber band. Change the water every day for the best results. It is also extremely inexpensive and easy to grow these herbs right on your windowsill.
19. Use Vinegar To Keep Berries Ripe
Berries of all kinds are the perfect snack all year round, but they often turn mushy and moldy if they aren't eaten right away. Nothing is worse than opening the container to find that all your berries had gone bad before you got a chance to have them.
To keep your berries fresh for the week, mix one-part vinegar (white or apple cider) with ten parts water. Swirl the berries around in the mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. The water dilutes the vinegar enough so you won't taste it. This makes strawberries last for almost two weeks.
20. Cucumbers Should Be Kept At Room Temperature
No, cucumbers aren't the most exciting vegetable, but they can go with so many dips, so the plain flavor is masked. If you frequently buy cucumbers, do you ever notice how quickly they get mushy and rotten, especially smaller ones?
If you are tired of throwing away cucumbers all the time, the secret is to keep them on the counter, so they can stay at room temperature. Usually, which ever way you buy fruits and vegetables is how you should store them. Cucumbers aren't in the refrigerator, so they shouldn't be put there when you get home.
21. These Ethylene Gas Absorbers Are A Must For Your Fridge
We mentioned ethylene gas a few times above, but not many people have heard about it. Ethylene gas naturally occurs during the ripening process of fruits and vegetables, but it has no scent or color, and therefore, it is invisible to the eye. It is kind of like growth hormones in humans, which helps the fruits and veggies grow at a normal rate.
While ethylene gas is necessary for the growth of fruits and vegetables, it can also cause over-ripening when there is too much gas. Apples and pears give off the most ethylene, so they cause other things to ripen faster. These absorbers catch the excess gas and make fruits and veggies last longer. They are a must-have for your fridge.
22. Carrots Can Stay In Fresh For Months If You Store Them The Right Way
If people are storing carrots in their fridge for months without using them, they probably didn't want them in the first place. However, if there is a reason to keep carrots for that long, we have ways to keep them fresh so that your carrots don't get soft.
Once you buy your carrots, remove the green stems if they have them, and put them in water like the photo. Removing the green stems stops the carrots from drying out. Change the water every four or five days when it starts to look cloudy. This trick also works for baby carrots.
23. Freeze Maple Syrup Forever
If you love pure maple syrup as much as Canadians, you will want to know this trick to make it last longer. Pure maple syrup is not cheap, so you don't want to waste any of it. If you find it on sale, buy it in bulk and make it last for years.
What most people don't know is that maple syrup is supposed to go in the refrigerator. If you keep it here, it will stay fresh for a year. If you have a lot of syrup, split it into smaller containers and freeze what you don't need. Maple syrup can stay in the freezer for years without going bad.
24. The Bottom Of Your Oven Can Be Used For Keeping Food Warm
Like most people, we always thought the bottom draw attached to our oven was for storage purposes. Since it is not safe to store things inside the oven, we assumed the companies made this drawer to add storage space to each kitchen, but alas, we were wrong.
The bottom drawer is actually made to keep food warm while preparing the rest of the meal. When you have many things to cook, you don't want other dishes to sit out and get cold, so simply stick them in the warming drawer and turn it on while you finish cooking. You learn something new every day.
25. Never Worry About Your Lemons Going Bad
Unless you are cutting lemons for shots or making lemonade, you probably won't use an entire lemon at once. If you find yourself throwing away parts of lemons that went even sourer than they started, then you should know there are many ways to keep them fresh.
When you slice a lemon, don't throw away the ends; use a toothpick to secure it back onto the half you didn't use. You can also dip lemons in paraffin wax to keep them oxygen sealed. Lemon wedges can also be frozen to use as ice in drinks whenever you need it.
26. Keep Grapes Crispy And Fresh With A Special Bag
Grapes are yet another delicious fruit that gets mushy quickly. Because of the ethylene gas we mentioned earlier, they ripen quickly, and you end up throwing half of them away. One trick is to freeze them because frozen grapes are excellent on a hot summer day.
If you don't want to freeze grapes, you can also store them in polyethylene bags, a type of plastic bag that helps keep produce fresher. Depending on the type of container you use, grapes can stay crunchy for a longer time.
27. Store Potatoes And Apples Together To Stop Sprouting
If you have left potatoes in the wrong place for too long, you will know what it's like to find them sprouting and rotten. Although potatoes are one of the most versatile foods, they require specific conditions for them to last a while in your kitchen
Storing potatoes with apples will keep them from sprouting because of the ethylene gas they emit. Apples give off the highest ethylene gas compared to other fruits and vegetables, so they are best for preventing sprouting.
28. Never Have An Exploding Juice Box Again
Children are prone to messes; everyone knows that. When you try to calm a screaming child with a juice box, they might get angry and squeeze it a little too hard to the point where it explodes. Now, they are covered in sticky juice, and you have another mess to clean up.
If you want to avoid the exploding juice box mess, open the flaps on the bottom of the box without ripping them. The is so they can hold onto the juice box without squeezing it too hard. That is one fewer mess parents have to clean up.
29. Revive Raisins In Hot Water
Whether you are a child or well past retirement, raisins are eaten by people of all ages. They go in everything from trail mix to cookies and, even when no one wants them, raisins show up when you least expect them. Over time, they get dry and hard, but don't throw them out just yet!
Instead of getting rid of dry raisins, soak them in hot water for an hour or two to rehydrate them. Pat them dry and store them in an airtight container so they don't dry out again. You can also rehydrate them in small batches whenever you need them.
30. Butter Will Stop Cheese From Drying Out
Everyone loves a nice slice of cheese right off the wedge. Even lactose-intolerant people will put up with the pain because cheese is just as addicting as drugs. However, once you slice cheese, the end can dry up, and no one wants to eat that part.
To keep the cheese's cut side from drying out, rub a dab of butter on it. It sounds bizarre, but it will provide moisture until you cut the cheese next time. If this is too strange for you, wrap it in a wax cloth or cheesecloth to keep it fresh.
31. Nut Butters Should Be Upside Down
If you are a fan of peanut butter like we are, you will know how disappointing it is to get to the bottom of the jar and find it is all dried up. It started with oil on top, but that oil must not have reached the bottom. It's disappointing to try to spread the dried, crumbling peanut butter, but it doesn't have to be that way.
After opening and mixing it, continue to store the jar upside down, so the oils reach the bottom of the butter. Also, keep it refrigerated to last longer. This works for all kinds of nut butter, even homemade versions.
32. Rules For The Perfect Refrigerator
While everyone has their own way to organize the refrigerator to find things easily, we found the best places for each type of food to go so that it lasts longer without going rancid. First, the fridge should be set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celcius) or below to prevent bacteria growth, and make sure the temperatures are set on the vegetable drawers as well.
Another rule of thumb is to separate fruits, vegetables, and meat so that they don't contaminate each other. Also, store meat and seafood on the bottom shelf, so it doesn't drip on other things. Filling the fridge too much prevents air from circulating and causes some spots to be warmer than others, which can spoil food. Finally, clean your fridge before every grocery shopping trip so you don't miss something that could be rotting.
33. The Dent In The Milk Carton Is Actually Very Important
Have you ever noticed the dent in the plastic milk container and wondered what it was for? Most people wouldn't think twice about this, but it actually serves a useful purpose. This dent can help you determine if the milk is good or not without doing the dreaded smell test.
If the dent expands outwards, that means there is too much gas inside the container, and the milk has gone sour. Another use for the dent is to absorb the shock if the jug fails so that the container doesn't explode. This way, you will never cry over spilled milk.
34. Potatoes Should Stay In Dark Places
Unless you are trying to sprout a potato for a science experiment, you probably try to avoid this stage in the potatoes' life. Spouting potatoes means they are rotten, and you can't eat them. When you throw them away, it is like tossing money in the trash.
Potatoes are so easy to work with, so they should be simple enough to keep fresh. The key is to find a dark and dry place so the potatoes aren't exposed to moisture. You will know if there is too much light if the potatoes turn green. Ventilated baskets are also helpful for potatoe storage.
35. Certain Alcohols Never Expire
If you have had a bottle of alcohol sitting on your shelf unopened for a few years, you don't need to worry about rushing to drink it. While most things in the kitchen have an expiration date, alcohol can last for years without going bad.
One thing to remember is that they shouldn't be exposed to heat or sunlight, so keep them in cold and dark places. Even something like 10-year-old beer is safe to drink although the flavor might not be what you were expecting!
36. Roast Nuts And Then Freeze Them When You Get Home From The Store
Nuts are great to keep in your house for an easy and nutritious snack. They can also be added to many recipes, so it is good to have them on hand at all times. However, nothing is worse than soft nuts that have been sitting in the drawer for too long.
Instead of putting them right in the pantry, roast them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and store them in the freezer. This will keep their flavor vibrant and texture crunchy for a long time. You can also freeze them before roasting for an extra crunch.
37. Oily Herbs Are Come Tied Together For A Reason
Contrary to popular belief, all foods should not be treated equally, including herbs. There are different types of herbs, and they have different storage rules to get the most flavor and use out of them. They can't all be thrown in the fridge because each type of herb has different properties.
Oily herbs like thyme should be loosely tied together and hung in the open air. This will give the best flavor when you cook with them, and the aroma will freshen the smell of your kitchen. It is also a beautiful green decoration.
38. Aluminum Foil Is A Life Saver For Keeping Veggies Fresh
Everyone knows aluminum foil is a lifesaver for so many things. From quick fixes around the house to wrapping vegetables, the foil is a definite staple for the kitchen. It is like the duct tape of kitchen essentials because you can fix any problem with aluminum foil, including your veggie storage.
Wrap stalks of celery, broccoli, and lettuce in aluminum foil and store in the fridge. This will keep them fresh and crisp for up to four weeks. It will also keep them safe from alien invasions because no one likes a probed stalk of broccoli.
39. Reuse Plastic Bottle Caps To Close Plastic Bags
Plastic isn't good for the environment, but sometimes you have to use it. You can also recycle old plastic with many DIY hacks, including this one. Those flimsy plastic bags you get at the store do not stay closed unless you tie a knot. However, what if you need to open it quickly?
Instead of knotting the bag, carefully cut off the top of a plastic bottle, pull the bag through the top, and secure it with the cap. Then you can easily open and close the bags quickly. If you can avoid using these plastic bags, reusable containers would be a better option.
40. Freeze Mashed Potatoes Like This
With Thanksgiving coming up and the holiday season following that, you are about to be inundated with leftovers on top of leftovers. However, it might be hard to go through all of that leftover food before it is time to toss it in the trash.
Mashed potatoes are a staple at most holiday meals, but what do you do when you have too much? Put them in the freezer, and they will stay good for up to a year. When you are ready to defrost them, put them in the fridge because the microwave will change their texture.
41. Freeze Fresh Herbs For This Reason
For some unknown reason, fresh herbs never come in small amounts. No matter where you try to buy them from, you always have much more than you need. Instead of wasting your herbs, save them for the next time you need them without making another trip to the store.
Take your herbs and freeze them in ice cube trays, so they are ready to cook when you need them. You just need to defrost some cubes, and they are fresh for any recipe. You can do this with water, olive oil, or butter, depending on how you want to use the herbs in the future.
42. Remove Beet Leaves To Keep Them Fresh
If you can get past the taste of dirt and cook them correctly, beets can actually be delicious in many meals. Although they stain your clothes, hands, and mouth, they are versatile and full of vitamins that make you strong and healthy.
If you buy your beets with the skin still on, make sure to remove the leaves because this will make them last longer. The leaves remove water from the beets and cause them to wither and dry out. You can also use the leaves in a salad if you don't want to throw them away.
43. Spray Left Over Guacamole With Cooking Spray Before Putting It Back In The Fridge
Guacamole is probably the best dip in the world. If made the right way, it is like heaven when combined with a fresh tortilla chip. However, when you have leftover guac, it turns brown in the container and makes the once mouthwatering dip look disgusting.
Instead of letting your guacamole turn an unsightly color, spray it with a bit of cooking spray before putting it back in the fridge. It is like the avocado trick we mentioned earlier, but for your mashed up version of the food.
44. Freeze Green Beans Without Blanching Them
If you have a green thumb then you must be proud of all the things you can grow in your garden, like green beans. Before you try out this trick, just admire your green beans because it is not easy to grow them, and they can fit into so many recipes.
To keep the green beans fresh, whether they're store-bought or freshly grown, remove the ends and cut them in half. Make sure all the dirt is removed, and dry them for 20 minutes. Finally, place them in a ziplock freezer bag, and put them in the freezer for as long as you want.
45. Store Asparagus Like Flowers
Like herbs, all vegetables have different storage rules. We previously mentioned the rules for tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots, and they all needed to be kept differently. For those who love asparagus and don't mind the after-effects, this trick will help keep them fresh until you are ready to cook them.
Asparagus should be treated like flowers. First, cut the stems, put them in freshwater, and cover with a secured plastic bag. Remember to change the water every day until you use them. This will keep them fresh for up to a week, and it works for cilantro and parsley as well.