Have you ever purchased a load of fresh produce only to have it spoil a few days later? In most cases, there’s no reason that well-selected fresh food should begin to rot except for improper storage. This is where food storage hacks comes in to save the day, preserve food, and save you money. Here are a few food storage hacks your mom may not even know!
1. Keep Your Onions in Socks
Onions tend to rot or sprout in the refrigerator. Instead, store them in a pair of nylon stockings, tying a knot between each onion and hanging them in a dry, cool and dark pantry. They should last up to 8 months.
2. Isolate Potatoes
Potatoes and onions both release gases that cause each other to spoil faster, so keep them apart in your pantry, and apples shouldn’t be stored together (1). Bananas and apples also produce this gas.
Instead, keep potatoes in a paper bag in a dark, cool, place to avoid them from producing a substance called solanine, which is toxic even in small doses (2).
3. Wash Your Berries
Berries are prone to rot if they aren’t washed properly before being stored away. Rather than rinsing them under the tap, prepare a bowl with filtered water and vinegar in a 10-1 ratio and soak the berries in this solution for 5 minutes. Once they’ve soaked long enough, drain them in a mesh strainer and let them dry. This process will kill any microorganism or bugs speeding their rotting process.
4. Don’t Refrigerate Honey
Honey actually crystallizes in the refrigerator, so it’s best to keep it in a sealed jar in a dark, cool place (3). Archaeologists have even found thousand year old honey that is still edible today (4).
5. Freeze Eggs
If you’re looking for way to keep your eggs fresh while you’re on holiday, crack them into an ice-cube container and sprinkle a little sugar or salt on each egg to prevent freezer damage.
6. Wrap Banana Stems
You may have noticed that some grocery stores wrap the stems of their bananas with cling wrap. Even if your bananas are already wrapped, separate them and rewrap each individual stem with cling wrap.
This reduces the amount of ethylene emitted, the same gas that makes other fruit ripen faster when placed beside bananas (5).
7. Blanche Your Veggies
You may have heard your grandmother speak about blanching vegetables to get them to freeze better. This helps preserve nutrients through long periods of freezing.
All you have to do is cut up your fruits or veggies and boil them on high heat for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Next, strain them and prepare a bowl of ice-cold filtered water. Toss your veggies in the colander to encourage water to drain. Then, soak the veggies in the bowl for 3 minutes. Drain again and pat dry with a clean cloth. Store in a sealed bag in your freezer for up to 3 months.
8. Bag Tomato Sauce
A jar of tomato sauce only lasts about 5-7 days in the refrigerator once it’s opened. If you want to increase its shelf life, freeze it.
Just place your favorite fresh sauce into a freezer bag and freeze for an hour. Next, remove the bag from the freezer and use the back of a butter knife to separate the sauce into even squares of individual portions before returning to the freezer. Make sure not to damage the bag during this process.
When you need sauce, just snap off a square to thaw and refreeze the bag for future use.
9. Make Flavored Butter
Herbs can be difficult to keep fresh in your refrigerator. While they do last pretty well when placed in a glass of water as you would a bouquet of fresh flowers, they typically start to brown after a week or so.
Luckily, herbs do great when mixed with butter or olive oil and frozen. Just wash, dry and chop your favorite herb and mix with the fat of your choice. Spoon this mix into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. In the morning, empty and wash the tray, storing the cubes in a freezer bag.
10. Coat Cut Fruit
Apples and bananas are quick to turn brown and look unappealing after being cut. This can be particularly troublesome if you’re preparing a fruit plater for friends or children. To keep your fruit looking freshly cut, coat them with a mix of one part honey, one part fresh lemon juice and two parts water.
11. Wrap Lettuce
Lettuce can get soggy and limp after a few days in the fridge. To keep it crisp, Wrap your lettuce in paper towel, which absorbs excess moisture.
12. Refrigerate Apples
While apples can last a week or two in a fruit bowl, the have an even longer life when refrigerated. For best results, sanitize your vegetable drawer with vinegar and wash and dry your apples. They should be able to last up to 6 months if kept away from other produce as well as any rotting apples.
13. Bury Carrots
Carrots typically grow in sandy dirt, so you can store them in sand too! all you have to do is fill a wooden container with slightly damn sand and bury your carrots inside. The carrots don’t have to be cleaned, but they should be cleared of any leaves. Throw a breathable lid on top and keep it in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space for best results (6).
14. Freeze Minced Meat
This trip is the same as #8, but you can divide the meat into squares before even refrigerating. You can also cut chicken breast into slices and freeze for easy portion control. Just make sure not to thaw out meat and freeze it again or freeze previously frozen cooked meat.
15. Turn Your Cream Upside-Down
Storing your sour cream and cottage cheese lid-down helps create a vacuum at the opening of the container and prevent bacterial growth. Just close the lid tightly and cover with a resealable plastic bag to prevent spills (7).
16. Invest in Mason Jars
Mason jar and other seal-able glass food containers are more durable and safer than plastic food storage. Plus, mason jars make cute lunch containers and juice bottles! You can even use them as flower pots or votives for candles.
17. Rewrap Store-Bought Cheese
Cling wrap leaves fine cheeses with a plastic aftertaste. If your cheese comes prewrapped, unwrap and repackage it with waxed paper to preserve the taste of your cheese and prevent it from sweating.
18. Turn Your Pineapple Upside-down
You can actually make pineapple last longer by cutting off its leaves and storing it upside down in your fridge. Simply cut off the leaves and turn it over. This helps redistribute the juice that’s pooled to its base during shipping (8).
19.Sprout Green Onions
To keep your herbs fresh, place green onions in a tall glass or jar on your kitchen counter. Ideally, the bulb should be in an inch of water near a sunny window. For best results, change this water every day.
This will keep your scallions crisp. You can even use this trick to grow new onions from an old bulb.
20. Cover Your Cake
It’s hard to keep cake fresh once you’ve cut out a slice or two. Oddly enough, you can actually save your cake by placing a slice of bread inside of the cake to keep it from getting dry. You’ll have to replace the bread everyday for best results.
It’s also a good idea to keep cake in a sealed container or by placing it under a glass cake cover.
These food storage hacks will save you a lot of time and money, so give them a try and let us know what specific food storage hacks worked for you!