Food & Recipes

10 Easy Tricks to Make Your Fresh Food Last Longer

Because we're all getting tired of canned food.

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We always want to make sure our food stays fresh for as long as possible, but it’s even more important now that we’re stocking our kitchens to last us for weeks at a time while following coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing and quarantine measures.

Luckily, there are plenty of super easy ways to keep your food fresher longer. Take a look for some of the best grocery storing tips below!

Keep onions and potatoes apart.

While we love cooking potatoes and onions together in plenty of recipes, they shouldn’t be stored next to each other. Taste of Home explains that the ethylene gas produced by onions can cause your spuds to spoil and sprout quicker, while the moisture from potatoes can make onions decay faster. Just pretend they’re social distancing from each other, too.

Hang onions in pantyhose.

This is an easy way to make sure you’re onions are away from other veggies! It might seem a tad bizarre, but slipping an onion into stockings and letting them hang in cool, dark spaces really can help them last longer. The porous pantyhose allows for air to flow through without causing moisture to build up. According to Food52, this is especially helpful for sweeter onions. Simply add an onion to the pantyhose, then tie a knot above it, and continue adding more onions and knot-tying until you run out of space. When you want to use an onion, just snip off the section of stockings and leave the rest hanging around.

Take mushrooms out of their plastic packaging.

Most mushrooms are sold in plastic cartons, but those can trap in moisture and cause them to spoil faster if you just toss them straight into the fridge like that. Instead, the experts at Food Network recommend taking them out, giving them a wash, making sure they’re good and dry, and putting them into a paper bag or wrapping them in paper towels before placing in the fridge for optimal lasting freshness. 

Store lettuce and leafy greens with slightly damp paper towels.

According to Cooking Light, you can stave off slimy greens and limp lettuce by storing them in a sturdy container (not plastic bags that can get smushed) and wrapping them in slightly damp paper towels and putting them in the fridge. Dry paper towels will sap out their natural moisture too soon, which can make them lose their crispness. You should also steer clear of washing the whole bunch before storing to avoid too much moisture. Just rinse them off right before you want to serve them.

Aluminum foil can save celery.

Like onions, celery produces ethylene gas that can make it spoil quicker when it gets trapped inside a plastic bag. Wrapping it in aluminum foil before storing in the fridge helps that gas escape without sacrificing the veg’s natural moisture, the Kitchn explains. You can also use this for broccoli, lettuce, and similar crispy veggies. Chopping up celery, carrots, and other root vegetables and storing them fully submerged in a jar of water with the lid on can keep them fresher longer, too.

Turn tomatoes upside down.

If you buy tomatoes before they’ve fully ripened, you can make sure they stay fresh by storing them at room temperature with their stem-side down. Food52 explains that this keeps moisture from escaping and blocks air from entering. Once a tomato has reached peak ripeness, you can put it in the fridge to help them last longer. 

Don’t store dairy in the door.

RealSimple points out that putting your milk, half and half, sour cream, or any other dairy product in your fridge door’s shelf leaves them vulnerable to spoiling because that’s where the temperature is least stable. Think about it: Every time you open up to see if any new food has magically appeared to snack on, those items are getting the biggest rush of warm air. Even when you close it back up, that section is farthest from the cooling device at the back of your appliance, so it will take longer for them to get back to a cooler temp.

Toss fresh ginger root in the freezer.

Ginger is great at helping boost our immunity, but can spoil quickly before you make your way through the whole root. According to Lifehacker, freezing whole pieces of ginger not only helps it to last longer, but also makes it easier to peel or grate whenever you’re ready to use it!

Let leftover avocados get frosty, too.

You can finally stop wasting leftover avocado by mashing it with a little lime juice and placing it in a plastic bag in the freezer. Just be sure to smooth out any air bubbles before sealing the bag, and let it defrost in the fridge for a day before chowing down.

And freeze your fresh herbs.

Chef David Chang calls for freezing herbs in the bags you bought them in the “best home kitchen hack I’ve ever come up with.” Again, it not only makes them last longer, but you can just give the frozen herbs a shake inside the bag to easily get them off the stems without having to pluck piece by piece. If you’re cooking with them, you can add the cold herbs directly into the pan. Otherwise, wait for them to thaw out for garnish.

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