For most people, myself included, grocery shopping is the chore we least look forward to. Making a grocery list, driving to the store, standing in long lines, basically, it’s a nightmare. While buying my own food seems to pay off in the long run (it’s way cheaper and healthier than eating out at restaurants every night), my groceries tend to go bad before I have a chance to cook them.
I know it’s not just me who struggles with this problem. So, to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store, I’ve collected my favorite quick and easy grocery hacks to keep your food fresh for longer! Let’s check it out!
This Is Eggterrific
There are a number of ways to test if your eggs have gone bad. You can put them in a glass of water and see if they float. If they do, that means the air cell has enlarged significantly, and the egg has gone bad. But I bet you didn’t know that there are ways to keep your eggs fresh for longer.
Fill a container of salt and place your eggs small-side down. Make sure to keep the container in a cool, dark place. But not too cold! Eggs can rot faster if they are exposed to freezing temperatures. By preparing your eggs this way, they will stay fresh for anywhere from eight to ten months.
A Piece of Bread Can Do What?
Did you know that a slice or two of leftover bread can be used to bring other stale foods back to life? In fact, a slice of bread can transform a stale, rock-hard cookie back to its gooey state. Who would have thought?
If you find yourself with a cookie jar full of stale cookies, stick a slice or two of bread in with them. The cookies will begin to absorb moisture from the bread slices, and after a day, you’ll notice a huge difference. You’ll know that the trick worked if the slice of bread begins to dry out and resemble a crouton. What a genius way to use leftover food!
An Avocado a Day…
As you may already know, lemons are a great way to keep your food fresh. I can still clearly remember my mom squeezing lemons on my cut-up apples before putting them in my brown paper bag lunch. But did you know that lemon juice can be used to keep other foods, such as avocados, from browning?
If your snack has left you too full to finish a whole avocado, squeeze some lemon juice on the avocado before putting it back in the fridge. Avocados are full of ascorbic acid, so when exposed to oxygen, the fruit turns brown pretty quickly. However, the citric acid keeps the ascorbic acid at bay, meaning that your avocado is edible for at least another day!
One Veggie Is Not Like the Other
When apples ripen, they give off ethylene gas. Don’t worry! This gas is colorless and tasteless, but it does affect other fruits and vegetables around it. This is especially important to remember when you’re storing fruits and vegetables together.
Your apples could actually be causing the rest of your produce to rot quicker. However, potatoes are the exception to this rule. The ethylene gas actually prevents potatoes from sprouting too early. So, the next time you buy a sack of potatoes, keep an apple or two close by. Also, remember to keep your potatoes in a cool, dark, but dry place to prevent sprouting. This trick will save you lots of frustration!
Have a Berry Nice Day
There’s nothing like finishing off a great BBQ on a hot summer’s day with a bowl of fresh berries. But like we all know, berries can be very unpredictable. One minute they’re ripe, and then BAM, they’re rotten and inedible. But there is a way to extend their self-life by almost two weeks!
Submerge your fresh berries (mulberries, strawberries, blueberries, whatever berry tickles your fancy) in one-part vinegar, ten parts water. Then, drain the berries, and store them in the fridge. It’s as easy as blueberry pie. And don’t worry about your berries tasting like vinegar. The solution is too diluted to have any aftertaste.
Spring Back to Life
If you’re looking for new ways to recycle your plastic bottles, why not use them to store your green onions? You can wash, chop, and store your green onions in a plastic bottle, which can then be placed in your freezer.
By using the bottle top, you can control how much (or how little) of the green onions you want to add to your dish. Just make sure that the chopped onions are dry before putting the plastic bottle back into the freezer. If they aren’t completely dry, your onions will get a nasty case of freezer burn and will have to be thrown away.
It’s All in the Bag
Ever wonder how the lettuce in your favorite restaurant’s BLT looks so crunchy and delicious? Well, wonder no more! The best part of this trick is that it takes no time at all!
To keep your lettuce looking fresh, wash the leaves and then place them into a Ziplock bag with a piece of paper towel. This will absorb any moisture from the lettuce, keeping your leaves crispy and ready to be eaten. Using this trick will make your salad the envy of any dinner party, so watch out!
It Only Takes One Bad Apple
All it takes is one bad apple in the group to take everyone else down. Unfortunately, it’s the same story with a bowl of fruit. In case you haven’t noticed, once one apple begins to rotten, all of the rest begins to follow the same path and fast.
As apples ripen, they release a hormone called ethylene, which causes fruit to ripen faster. To prevent any more bad apples from ruining your fruit bowls, just remove the apple as soon as it starts to go bad. It seems like an obvious hack, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do it!
No Mush Room Here
Whether you love them or hate them, mushrooms are a frequently used ingredient in a lot of home-cooked meals. Despite how many recipes call for mushrooms, many people don’t know how to store them correctly. I know that my mushrooms tend to go moldy or “pruney” only a few days after I buy them.
So, to prevent this, place your whole, unwashed mushrooms into a paper bag and then fold the top of the bag over. Place the paper bag in your refrigerator, but not in the produce drawer. The bag will absorb the excess moisture, keeping your mushrooms fresh for up to a week!
Yogurt to Be Kidding
Have you thought about making yourself a nice yogurt bowl (with granola and strawberries, of course), only to discover that your yogurt has expired? If you haven’t, then I’m here to tell you that it is the absolute worst. But don’t worry!
There is a simple hack to keep your yogurts, and all dairy products, for that matter, fresh for days. The key is to store products like sour cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese upside down. This actually creates a vacuum inside the container, keeping things like mold and bacteria from growing inside. However, this hack only works if the container is still sealed and unopened.
Your Leftovers Can Be Saved!
Once in a blue moon, the stars will align, and you will have the perfect avocado (and all the right ingredients) to make the ultimate guacamole. Even if your guac is to die for, there’s always the chance of having leftovers.
Everyone knows that leftover guacamole, no matter how delicious it was on the first day, doesn’t fare too well in the fridge. So instead of throwing it away or forcing yourself to eat it, don’t. Spray your guac with either olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable spray before covering the bowl with plastic wrap. This will make your guacamole stay green for another 24 hours.
Calling All Asparagus Lovers
Like mushrooms, asparagus is a polarizing vegetable. For all of those asparagus lovers out there, I see you. The trick to keeping asparagus fresh for longer is the way you store it. The best way to store your asparagus to store them like how you would a bouquet of flowers.
Trim the bottom of each spear and place them “standing up” in a mason jar with about an inch of water. This will keep your asparagus fresh for up to four days. Just remember to cover the spears with a plastic bag and change the water if and when it becomes cloudy.
Storage Is Key
Like asparagus, carrots and celery can also be kept crisp and fresh if you store them correctly. First, always make sure that you take your produce out of the plastic bags they come in. This will prevent mold and bacteria from potentially growing.
If you want to take your storage to the next level, cut off the top and tails of your carrots and celery, and store them in a covered jar or glass filled with water. Like our asparagus hack, this will keep your produce fresh for up to a week.
Ever Herb of This?
Fresh herbs and spices are a staple of every meal. They can add a great kick of flavor to any dish, and if you store your fresh herbs correctly, they can stay in your freezer for up to 12 months! But before storing, make sure to chop up your herbs as if you were cooking them.
This will make them more accessible when you’re ready to cook with them. There are several ways to freeze your herbs: on a metal tray before transferring them to a plastic bag (so they don’t clump together) or in ice cube trays with olive oil or butter.
Banana Me Crazy
Bananas are a great way to make your meals a little bit healthier and way tastier. However, if you wait too long for them to ripen, which often happens, they will end up going bad before you’ve had a chance to eat them.
To prevent this from happening, try wrapping the stems of the bananas in plastic wrap or tinfoil. This prevents the release of ethylene gas, which makes produce ripen quicker. It’s also best to separate the bananas from the bunch and wrap each one individually.
Always Wrap It Up
There’s nothing worse than coming home intending to make the ultimate cheese board only to discover that your favorite cheese has gone bad. I’m embarrassed to say this has happened to me more than once. Fear not, for I have found a way to prevent future heartbreak.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT wrap your cheese in plastic wrap. This captures moisture, causing your cheese to become moldy. Instead, wrap your blocks of cheese in parchment or beeswax paper. Also, make sure to store your cheese in the crisper drawer, where the temperature is more consistent than the rest of your fridge.
Hang in There!
Onions are another type of produce that emits ethylene gas. If you store your onions too close together, or even with other vegetables like potatoes, they will spoil faster. If you have a spare pair of (clean) pantyhose lying around the house, there’s a way to solve this issue.
Take your pantyhose and place your onions into each leg. Then tie a knot above each onion, repeating this process until you are out of onions or pantyhose. You can then hang each stack in a cool, dark place. If you do this correctly, you can keep onions fresh for up to six months!
An Ice Cream Alternative
Don’t think you’ll be able to finish your yogurt before the expiration date? No problem! You can freeze your yogurt to make delicious snacks that are just as good or even better than ice cream. Just put popsicle sticks into smaller tubs of yogurt and place in the freezer.
If you want bite-sized ice cream bits, you can even pour a large tub of yogurt into an ice cube tray. If you really want to get fancy, try adding some bananas or blueberries to your yogurt before placing it in the freezer. Your new frozen yogurt will stay good for one to two months!
Always Keeping It Fresh
While people don’t mind freezing their herbs in water or oil, others prefer to keep their herbs unfrozen. For you anti-frozen folks out there, we’ve got you covered. For herbs such as parsley, dill, cilantro, and mint, all you need to do is trim the ends.
Then place them into a jar or glass with an inch or so of water. Then cover the jar with a Ziplock bag and secure it with a rubber band. This will keep out as much air as possible, which helps keep your herbs fresh for at least a month!
Time for a Wax
We’ve got another cheese hack for those crazy cheese lovers out there! As many of you know, cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, and edam, are all sealed with red wax, which helps keep out moisture that causes moisture.
If you’re like most people, then you don’t have cheese wax lying around the house. Don’t worry! The wax seal on your store-bought cheese can be peeled off, remelted, and reapplied to your leftover blocks of cheese. The wax is pliable and non-toxic, meaning that it can be remelted as many times as you need.
One in a Watermelon
I don’t know about you, but watermelon is my favorite fruit to snack on. But as all watermelon lovers know, improper storage can make even the juiciest watermelon go bad very quickly. It is especially a problem when there is not enough shelf space inside your refrigerator.
One way to keep your watermelon crisp and juicy is to cut it up into small pieces and cover it with plastic wrap. However, make sure that the plastic is wrapped tight enough so that no air or moisture can get in. This will keep your watermelon fresh for another week or so.
DIY Vacuum Sealer
It’s my dream to own a vacuum sealer. This magic machine can extract the air out of regular plastic bags, keeping your food fresh for ages. But with this simple trick, you can vacuum seal your food without spending your hard-earned money.
Put whichever food you’d like into a Ziploc bag and squeeze out the air. Just make sure to leave the last inch of the seal open. Next, lower the bag into a pot of water. The water pressure will squeeze all of the remaining air out of the bag.
Pineappley Ever After
I love pineapple, but I never know when it’s ripe enough. I always end up eating it way too early or way too late. Fortunately, the solution is really quite simple. To make your pineapple sweeter and juicier, simply cut off the top, turn the pineapple upside down, and cover it in plastic wrap.
Then, store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. By doing this simple trick, the juices from the fruit will trickle down from the bottom, which ripens first, to the rest of the fruit. Your pineapple will be perfect for eating.
You Got Beef?
Whether you’re eating hamburgers or spaghetti and meatballs, ground beef is a great ingredient that can be used in plenty of dishes. However, like many of you may know, ground beef can be pretty expensive. So how do you keep your beef fresh for longer?
First, put your ground beef into a Ziplock bag and make sure you squeeze out all of the air. Next, take a rolling pin and roll the beef, so it fills the entire bag. Using a kebab stick, divide the beef into sections (without ripping the plastic bag), and put it into the freezer. The next time you want beef, just cut off the number of squares you need!
The debate about keeping tomatoes in or out of the refrigerator is a tale as old as time. But we’re here to put an end to it once and for all! Due to their enzymes, keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator can change their texture and taste.
Where you decide to store your tomatoes will determine how long they will last. If they have never been refrigerated, simply remove the stems and store them upside down at room temperature until they are fully ripened. For tomatoes that were once refrigerated, leave them at room temperature until they fully ripen.
That’s a Grate Idea!
Mozzarella can be eaten as a snack or as part of a tasty meal. However, if your mozzarella is stored incorrectly, it will mold quite quickly. The secret to keeping your cheese fresh? Brine. Fill a container with salt and water, and then place the mozzarella inside.
This salt brine will replicate the water the cheese was originally stored in. Seal the container and put it into the fridge. Make sure to replace the water and salt combo regularly. This should keep any typical ball of mozzarella fresh for another two to three weeks.
Why Didn’t I Think of That?
Apples are a great snack to take to work, school, or even just to eat around the house. If you’re like me, then you cut your apples into slices. However, this makes your apples turn brown very quickly. You could use lemon juice to inhibit the browning effect, but this gives your apples a sour taste.
Instead, try putting the apple back together again and tie a rubber band around it. By keeping the slices together, the inside of the fruit isn’t being exposed to oxygen. This will ensure that it will be crunchy by the time your snack (or lunch) time rolls around.
What a Rice Concept
When using salt shakers for seasoning your food, there are two possible outcomes. The salt either comes out way too fast, or none comes out at all. While I don’t have a trick for the first problem, I do have one for the latter.
The humidity in the air causes salt to clump inside the shaker, making it impossible for it to come out. So, what do you do? Just add a pinch of rice to your salt shakers. The rice will trap water vapor molecules and protect the salt from clumping—a simple trick for an annoying problem.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Lemons are expensive, so there’s nothing that annoys me more than when I buy a bunch of lemons, only for them to rot before I get to use them. To prevent this from happening, there’s a little trick that I like to use.
You can either cut the lemons in half or into slices before placing them in a jar with a layer of sugar between each piece. When the jar is full, cover it, and then place into the refrigerator. The sugar and lemon juice will start to form a sweet syrup—which can be a great addition to any baked good or even sweet tea.
All Bready to Eat
We’ve all faced the dilemma of choosing the right size loaf of bread at the grocery store. A larger loaf may mean that you’ll have too many leftovers by the time the bread is stale, whereas a small loaf could mean another trip to the store.
An easy, simple hack that will solve this problem is just to freeze your bread. But remember, always freeze the bread as soon as you buy it. This way, it’ll taste just as fresh when you defrost it. If you’re into making your own bread, make sure that you let the loaf cool down before placing it in the freezer.
At one point or another, we’ve all opened the fridge in the morning to find a carton of spoiled milk. This can ruin anyone’s day as spoiled milk means no coffee and no cereal. But did you know that adding a pinch of salt can actually extend a carton of milk’s shelf life?
If you add some salt immediately after opening it, you can expand the expiration date by almost a week! Just remember to routinely shake your milk because the salt sinks to the bottom, and you’ll end up with some very salty cereal.
Lemons on Ice
If you don’t have the time or energy to preserve your lemons in sugar solutions, don’t fret! There’s still an easy way to preserve them. First, slice your lemons (or limes) and place them into ice cube trays with a bit of water before placing them into the freezer.
These fun, citrusy ice cubes can be put into your water bottle while you’re going about your day or into your water jug at your next Sunday brunch. It’s an easy way to add a bit of zest and flavor to your daily two liters.
What a Strange Pair
Foodies around the world are split about the right way to store an avocado after it’s been cut open. Many people don’t like to use lemon juice as it can turn the avocado slimy. However, according to food journalist Dana Velden, you can pair avocado with a rather strange vegetable.
Put an open avocado in an airtight container with a piece of onion and then cover it with a lid before placing it in your refrigerator. So why an onion? Onions contain sulfur, which prevents the enzymes in the avocado from interacting with the oxygen in the air. This trick should keep the avocado fresh for a couple of days.
Sweet as a Honeybee
Not only is honey a natural antioxidant, but it also has a number of antibacterial and antifungal properties. So, it’s always a good idea to keep a jar of honey in the house in case you’re sick. However, you have to be careful with how you store it.
If honey is stored incorrectly, it will start to crystalize. But crystallization doesn’t mean that you have to throw away your jar of honey! All you have to do is microwave it! If your honey is in a heatproof jar, simply place the open jar in a microwave on the lowest setting for five minutes.
Cool as a Cucumber
Cucumbers are pretty hard to keep fresh. After a few days in the refrigerator, they usually become soft and squishy. However, there is a new, creative way to keep them fresh and crunchy for longer! Wrap your cucumber in aluminum foil instead of plastic wrap.
The plastic wrap traps moisture, which makes it spoil faster. The aluminum foil allows your cucumbers to stay crispier for longer! The best part is that you can reuse the tin foil a few times before you have to throw it out, making this hack more economical.
Keep It Frozen in Time
After a few days, an open jar of tomato paste in your refrigerator is bound to get moldy. If you have no use for the leftover tomato paste, then you can try this one handy trick! When you open the can of tomato paste, scoop dollops into plastic wrap.
These individual serving sizes can then be wrapped up and frozen. So, the next time you want to cook anything with tomato paste, you can just take out individual servings, leaving the rest in the freezer for next time.
Butter It Up!
We’ve all lifted the lid of our butter dish only to find that mold has grown seemingly overnight. That’s why it’s important to store butter the right way to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible.
Did you know that if you can butter correctly, it will stay fresh for almost three years? Just make sure that you store your jars in a cool, dark place. While the canning process is a little complex, it can save you lots of money and time shopping for butter!
Watermelon on My Mind
While our previous watermelon trick only works for half or quarter watermelons, there are other ways to ensure that your watermelon stays crisp and juicy rather than mushy. Just place chopped-up pieces of watermelon in a pasta strainer.
Then, place the strainer inside a larger bowl before wrapping it in plastic wrap and placing it in the refrigerator. The strainer ensures that the juice that comes out of your bite-sized pieces doesn’t make the rest of the watermelon too soggy and mushy to eat. When you go to eat a piece, or five, just remember to wrap the bowl back up tightly.
You Are Not Welcome Here
During the hot summer months, our pantries can attract some unwanted visitors. Ants tend to make their way into our staple foods, like flour, sugar, and cereals, if they aren’t stored correctly. However, adding this one ingredient will almost guarantee that these pesky insects will not make an appearance.
Add a few bay leaves to these household staples to keep ants, flies, moths, and other unwanted visitors at bay. Why does this work? Because insects can’t stand the bitter smell that bay leaves exude. Just make sure that you remove the bay leaves before cooking!
Green Thumb Level: Unlocked
One of the best ways to make your produce last longer is by using your leftovers to grow your own. Some vegetables are very easy to grow, with roots forming after only a week! You can regrow just about anything, including celery.
Take a celery stalk and stick four toothpicks into it before submerging the bottom half in room temperature water. Roots will begin to form after a few days. Once they are an inch long, you can transfer the vegetable to the soil, and voila. You have a new celery plant.
One of my biggest pet peeves is sitting down with a big bag of chips to watch a movie, only to discover that they’re stale because the bag was left open. Taking an extra two seconds before returning a bag of chips to the pantry could save you a run to the store in the future.
Before putting your bag of chips away, be sure to flatten the bag completely so that there is no air at the top. Then fold the top two corners inwards, and then roll the bag down until you can’t any longer. Tuck the corners underneath the roll, and you’ll have fresh chips for days.
If you’re not looking to freeze your lemons in ice cubes or sugar coat them for sweet tea, then we have another hack for you! This hack is frequently used in the Middle East and let me tell you. It turns out delicious.
First, soak your whole lemons in a brine solution for three whole days (making sure to change the brine once a day). After the three days are up, slice your lemons into wedges and coat them in salt. Then, throw your wedges into a jar and add some lemon juice before sealing.
Everything Happens for a Raisin
We’re on to our next polarizing fruit: raisins. But whether you love or hate them, you would never know that raisins could actually spoil just by looking at them. However, there is a quick and easy way to extend a box of raisins’ shelf life.
When you open a box of raisins, they can last for six months. But if you store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, your raisins can be good to eat for at least a year. You can also store the raisins in the pantry, but over time, they will harden due to the lack of moisture.