1. Buy locally. Local produce lasts much longer than supermarket fare, which has already traveled long distances before it gets to your kitchen.
2. Keep in mind the specific ways you like to eat, clean, and prep fresh food as soon as you get it into the kitchen, making it much less likely you’ll let it spoil.
3. When buying produce that contains lots of water, buy smaller pieces, which generally have more flavor and last longer.
4. Plan meals in order of what needs to be used up first.
5. Make shopping lists and plan your meals for the week. It will help with avoiding food waste and will keep you on track with your budget.
6. Grow your own food! If you can’t eat it all yourself, pass it along to friends, family or your local food bank. Start out with herbs if a whole garden makes you nervous.
7. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.
8. Don’t throw away sparkling wine or champagne that’s gone flat. Restore the bubble by dropping a raisin or two into the bottle. The natural sugars will work magic.
9. Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes veggies to rot.
10. Compost if you can!
1. Make jams out of fruit about to go bad (i.e. raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples)
2. Prepare baked goods with your soft apples, or make banana nut bread with your spotted bananas). Once its baked no one knows the difference.
3. Freeze fruit. You can make smoothies and don’t have to add ice since your fruit is already cold. This also offers an alternative to buying already packaged frozen fruit.
4. Make Kale chips out of wilted kale. Once you bake it, the kale is crispy and warm and ready to serve.
5. Use Orange and Lemon zest for cooking and baking.
6. Turn excess basil and parsley into pesto and gremolata, a zingy condiment featuring lemon zest and garlic.
1. Wash berries in water with just a bit of vinegar before popping them into the fridge.
2. Rinse lettuce and other greens immediately in cold water and spin them dry before refrigerating them in the spinner or a breathable cloth bag.
3. To keep fresh celery, carrots and radishes around at all times, chop them and store them in water in the fridge, which keeps them crisp for a surprisingly long time.
4. Keep apples out in plain sight, which helps them get eaten sooner. If they get too soft, just cook them!
5. Store sliced hot peppers and cucumbers in a jar of vinegar in the fridge for several weeks.
6. Rub butter on the cut parts of hard cheeses to prevent them from drying out.
7. After trimming the ends, store kale, collards and Swiss chard in the fridge in a glass of water with a loose bag over the top.
8. Rub whole summer and winter squash with vegetable oil and store them in the pantry, where they’ll last for several months.
9. Help keep air out of sour cream and cottage cheese tubs by storing them upside down in the fridge.
10. At the end of the season, pull up whole tomato plants from the garden and hang them upside down in the basement so you can pick fresh tomatoes long after the season has ended.
11. Store dried sage in a jar of salt to keep it crisp.
12. Keeps apples away from other foods. Apples give off ethylene gas, which can cause foods to spoil.
13. Triple the life of scallions by storing them in a jar of water on the counter. The green onions will keep growing as you snip the tips for fresh eating.
14. Asparagus will last longer if its thick ends sit in cold water.
15. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta, or rice will help repel bugs.
16. You can freeze cheese! After serving, put leftovers back in the original package, wrap tightly in plastic, and freeze. Defrost in the fridge a day before serving. This trick works best for soft cheeses with a high fat content.
17. Prevent mushrooms from getting slimy by wrapping them in paper towels before refrigerating.
18. Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – you can store it in the freezer for up to six months. Pack the butter in an airtight container, so it doesn’t take on the flavor of whatever else you’re freezing.
19. Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them – they spoil less quickly in a bunch
1. Roast slices or chunks of about-to-go-bad beets and tomatoes, then store them in olive oil in the fridge, where they’ll keep for about a week.
2. If salad greens begin to wilt, soak them in ice water to crisp them up before fixing a salad. This trick also works wonders on peppers.
3. Cure fresh onions by hanging them in a cool, dark place in a pantyhose “bag,” which dries the outer layer before the onions go into storage.
4. When radishes, celery, or carrots have lost their crunch, simply pop them in a bowl of iced water along with a slice of raw potato and watch the limp vegetables freshen up right before your eyes.
5. Honey is the only nonperishable food substance, so don’t get rid of the stuff if it crystallizes or becomes cloudy. Microwave on medium heat, in 30-second increment, to make honey clear again.
6. Prevent extra cooked pasta from hardening by stashing it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerating. When you’re ready to serve, throw the pasta in boiling water for a few seconds to heat and restore moisture.
7. To revive day-old muffins, sprinkle them with water, place in a paper bag, and pop in a hot oven for five to 10 minutes. The steam created by the water will restore moisture.
8. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will stop it from hardening. But if you already have hardened sugar on your shelf, soften it by sealing in a bag with a slice of fresh bread or an apple – or by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.