12 Money-Saving Food-Extending Tips

Wasting Food Wastes Money
I hate it when I find one of my leftovers pushed to the back of the refrigerator with a science experiment growing on it. It’s happening less and less, but no matter how hard I try, occasionally something in my frig has begun a new life on it’s own.

The typical American family wastes between 25 and 50 percent of the food they purchase. By one estimate, Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. This figure includes food tossed at restaurants and stores.

We are seeing food prices raise dramatically. Global food prices have increased for eight straight months. Wheat, corn, sugar, dairy, meat, and oils have experienced record highs.

Ally has another great money-saving tip:
Slice, then freeze leftover bell peppers (and onions) in baggies.
No need to defrost: add frozen to casseroles, stews and soups.

Add to that the pain at the pump (with the daily rising cost of oil) and we’re sure to see more increases at the grocers. An obvious way to extend your food budget is to make the food last longer and to wastes less. If you’re eating whole foods with lots of fresh produce, you’ll want to know how to make it last. Being a savvy shopper means getting the best price for food and then eating it BEFORE it spoils. You can prolong the life of fresh food, when it’s properly stored.

Chew On These Dozen Food Tips
1. Store veggies (produce without seeds) in the veggie bin and fruit (produce with seeds) in the fruit bin. When veggies and fruit are stored together, they spoil more quickly.

2. Line your refrigerator’s crisper drawers with paper towels; that will absorb excess moisture and keep your produce from rotting.

3. A bay leaf in a container of flour, pasta or rice will repel bugs.

4. Bananas spoil less quickly in a bunch — keep them together until you eat them.  Peel and freeze ripe bananas in individual baggies for a quick addition to a fruit smoothie.

5. To make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, turn the container upside down — this creates a vacuum which inhibits the growth of bacteria.

6. Remove as much air as possible from bags of produce. Oxygen accelerates decay.

7. Snip off the bottom of the stems of parsley and cilantro. Fill a glass jar with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water. Cover loosely with a plastic baggie and store in the refrigerator.  Change the water every few days. The herbs can last up to 2 weeks.

8. Store fresh herbs (like basil and thyme) in the freezer. They’ll stay fresh for months and defrost instantly when you want to use them for cooking.

9. Make limp celery, carrots and radishes crisp again by placing them in a bowl of ice water.

10. Put a kernel of rice in your saltshaker to absorb condensation and keep salt from hardening.

11. Before storing mushrooms in the refrigerator, take them out of the plastic container and place them in a paper bag.

12. Store your butter in the freezer; it will keep fresh for up to six months.

For a Bakers’ Dozen:
Make it a habit to immediately label and freeze leftovers. (This is one I’ve gotten better at. Still, sometimes, I don’t get around to freezing leftovers right away, then I end up throwing them out.)

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