Most people spend a lot of their income on groceries. All too often these groceries expire or rot and are simply tossed out. When this happens you are literally tossing money down the drain. You work hard for your money and learning to store your groceries properly will help you to keep more in your pocket. This money can be used to have a little extra fun or to pay down debts.
At the Store
Proper grocery storage starts at the store. Learning to be careful about what you buy will help ensure that your groceries will last longer once they arrive home. These tips should be kept in mind as you shop.
Don’t Buy More than You Can Use
Perishable products can only last so long, even when stored properly. If you buy more than you can use you will have to throw things out. Start making a grocery list and take it with you. It is better to buy a little less than you think you will need and run to the store again later than to over purchase and throw things out.
Pay Attention to Dates
In an ideal world everything at the store would be fresh and at its prime. In reality some items are just days away from expiration. Before buying anything, look at the expiration date. Ask yourself if you will be able to use the item before it expires. If the loaf of bread you are considering will expire the next day it is best to choose something else or to come back for bread in a day or two.
Strategically Make Your Way Through the Store
If you immediately head to the frozen foods your items will start defrosting before you ever leave the store. This can cause things to freeze together later and to spoil faster. Start with non perishable items like canned food then head to produce section and finally pick up cold items like meats, milk and frozen food.
Go Right Home
Your groceries will last longer if they are put away as quickly as possible. When you are finished shopping head home immediately. Don’t stop by the post office or a friend’s house first. If you live a large distance from the store you might want to bring along a cooler to ensure that your cold items stay cold and that your frozen food doesn’t start to defrost.
After you finish shopping it is important to store your food properly right away. It can be tempting to put off this task for a few hours, but you should always store your food immediately if possible. The sooner it is stored properly, the longer it will last and the less that you will waste. Here are some tips for storing food at home.
If you buy meats in bulk or buy fresh items that you are planning on freezing for later it is important to get these items into the freezer as quickly as possible. Remember that once your freeze items you should only defrost them once. This means that you need to package items into single use packages so that they will be easy to use and defrost later. Always mark items with the date before storing them in the freezer. As you defrost items, use the oldest ones first.
Throw Out Old Food
Did you know that moldy food can make other food spoil faster? If you have fruits and vegetables that are past their prime, throw them out before storing any new foods in your fridge. It is a good idea to clean out the fridge before you go shopping. This will give you a better idea of what you have and what you need and then it is ready to be filled when you return home.
Be Careful What You Store Together
Some foods can make others ripen more quickly. For example if you store ripe bananas by an unripe pear it will speed the ripening process. This can be great when you want to hurry it along, but can result in rotten food if you aren’t careful. Also many foods absorb odors and flavors from other foods. If you store your apples and onions in the same crisper drawer you will find yourself throwing out the apples since they will taste like onion.
Keep Food Safety in Mind
Food safety is very important to consider when storing foods. Don’t store your meat products near your fruits and vegetables. Since meat tends to drip it is a good idea to keep it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. If you want your milk, eggs and butter to last longer always put them back in the fridge as quickly as possible. If you only need 1 egg, don’t leave the whole carton on the counter while you make dinner.
Think About Longevity
Some foods last longer than others. When you shop you can purchase a variety of foods that spoil quickly and that last so that you have plenty for the entire week. That being said it is important to use the foods first that will spoil first. For example if you have a bunch of organic fresh spinach and carrots, it is best to use the spinach first and the carrots later in the week.
Look at What You Throw Out
Each week look at what you are throwing out. Calculate how much you are wasting. This will help you to better refine your shopping practices and to get a better understanding of how you are using your grocery money.
These food storage tips will help you make the most of your grocery budget. The key to financial success is using what you have wisely and these tips will help ensure that you are wasting less food and money each week at the grocery store.