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Frugal Food Storage Tips

 

Avocados

Here is how you ripen an avocado. Place it in a paper bag with an apple. Add a couple holes for air circulation. Leave it at room temperature. It should ripen in a oouple days. You can do the same things with a banana.


Bacon

Bacon is expensive. If you like to eat it, stock up on it when it goes on sale. It is a little work to freeze it, but it will last for weeks. Run the strips under cold water to help separate them, pat them dry with a paper cloth, and then lay them in a single layer on a piece of wax paper. Once they are all neatly laid out, just roll up the piece of wax paper and put it in the freezer.


Bananas

Bananas can be expensive. When you see them on sale, you may want to buy a bunch of them, but you may not have the time to puree and freeze them. Here is another option. Buy them as green as possible, and then put them in the refrigerator. Pull them apart, and wrap each one individually. They will take longer to ripen. If you don't get around to eating them, you can freeze them the following week. Bananas store longer if you take them apart. If one starts going bad, it will not affect the rest of the bunch.


Bread

If you like your bread fresh, and you don't go through it quickly enough, freeze half of it when you get home from the store.  When it comes out of the freezer you will be eating fresh bread again, instead of bread that has gotten older.


Brown Sugar

Keep your brown sugar soft after opening it by sealing it tightly. If it does get hard, you can try adding an apple slice, or you can microwave it for a few seconds. You can also keep in the the freezer, but remember that goods make with yeast like ingredients at room temperature, so you will want to warm it up before using it.


Celery and Carrots

If your celery or carrots go limp on you, you may be able to revive them by putting them in a bowl of ice water for an hour. Also, be sure and use every part of that expensive celery you buy. Do not throw away the leafy tops. They are easily dried by putting them in your oven. Just cut them up, and wait until after you use your oven for something else. After you turn off your oven, put in the cut up celery pieces. When dry, use as seasoning for soups and sauces.


Cheese

Save money on hard cheese by buying it in bulk. Cut it up, wrap it with freezer paper, and keep it in the freezer until you need it. You can freeze it in blocks, or shred it first. If you are slow to eat it from the refrigerator, wrap it in a cloth soaked in vinegar to keep mold from forming.


Chocolate

You can buy chocolate on sale, and store it 6-8 months without any loss of quality. Just store it in a cool, dry place. Do not put it in the refrigerator, and do not let it get too warm and it should be fine.


Cottage Cheese

Make cottage cheese and sour cream last longer by rotating the containers after each use. When you first bring them home from the store, set the in the refrigerator as usual. After you use them, turn them upside down. Repeat the process with each use.


Eggs

Always leave your eggs in the carton when you put them in your refrigerator. If you have an egg holder on the side of your refrigerator, see if you can remove it to get more space. Not only are your eggs more prone to breakage taken out of the carton, but they do not last as long. The carton the eggs come in help maintain an even temperature, thus preserving them longer- usually over a month.

 

When eggs are on sale, think about buying some for the freezer. Just put the yolks and whites in a bowl, mix well, and pour into an ice cube tray to freeze. After they are frozen, you can move them to a plastic bag. When you are ready to use them, just take them out of the freezer and thaw them to room temperature. If you find some stuck to the bottom of the carton, try this. Place the bottom of the carton in a little warm water. This should loosen them up enough to pull them out.


Fruit

If your fruit has gotten soft and you don't want to eat it fresh, there are a couple things you can do with it. One is to put it in the blender, turn it into liquid, and then add it to Jello. Another is to make it into a sugary syrup to use on pancakes and other sweet breads. Just cut it up, and sauté it with about a tablespoon of butter and 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar until it is looks like sauce. Or put the juice in ice trays and freeze. Later it will be easy to add to Jello, salads, and sauces.


Keeping Food Fresh

There are several things you can use to keep bags of perishable items closed so they will stay fresh longer. Clothespins work well. If you need something with a tighter clamp, use the clips that you buy at an office supply store. The office type paper clips are all metal, and come in several sizes. The big ones are like a vise! They are really good for the freezer.


Lettuce

Lettuce has a lot of water in it. If you want to store it as long as possible, you need to put something between the leaves to absorb the moisture. If you decide to wash your lettuce before putting it in the refrigerator (a good idea)...get it as dry as possible, and then put paper towels between the leaves. If your lettuce starts to look limp and brown before you have a chance to use it, try this. Take off all the discolored leaves. Then soak the lettuce in ice water with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Wipe it dry with paper towels, and put it back in the refrigerator to chill.


Marshmallows

Marshmallows freeze well.   Keep them on hand, and you'll always have them for salads, rice crispy treats, fudge, etc.


Mushrooms

Make mushrooms stay fresh as long as possible by putting them in the refrigerator, in a paper bag, as dry as possible. Do not wash them until you use them. If they are wet when you get home from the store, wipe them off.


Nuts

Nuts have a lot of oil in them. That is why they don't store for long periods of time. The oil goes rancid. This is true with nuts like pecans and walnuts, as well as sunflower seeds. If you are not planning on using your nuts for a long time, or you buy them in bulk and want to preserve them, put them in the freezer until you plan to use them.


Pastry

If you have some pastry that is a little dry, here is a way to make it moist again. Put a wet paper towel around it, and microwave it for a few seconds.


Potatoes

Potatoes are tricky to store. They like cool, dry places, at a temperature around 50 degrees. Too hot, or too much light, and they sprout. If you put them in the refrigerator, the starch turns to sugar, making them too sweet. To keep them fresh as long as possible, put them in a brown paper sack with a few holes, in a cool, dry place.


Potato Chips

Don't bypass inexpensive large bags of potato chips because you feel you may not be able to eat them, or want to eat that many, before they get old. Just put them in smaller, sealable bags and freeze them. They will come out of the freezer as fresh as when they went in. You can also crisp old potato chips by putting them in the microwave for 10 or more seconds on full power.


Radishes

If you want to keep your radishes as fresh as possible, for as long as possible, remove them from their leaves when you bring them home. The greens will get mushy and ruin the radishes. If you remove them, and place them in a plastic bag, they will stay fresh longer.


Soda

I'm not a big fan of soda...as I don't think it has much nutritional value. However, if you buy it, don't waste it. If it goes flat, mix it with fresh and it will taste fine.
 


Spices

When you made your pumpkin pies this year, was it the first time since last year that you pulled out the Allspice or Pumpkin Spice Seasoning mix? If you don't use these spices very often, think about putting them in the freezer. It will keep them fresh until the next time you use them.


Stocking an Pantry

Set aside some of your food budget to buy items when they are really on sale. Make it a goal this year to build up your pantry. You will save money in the long run, both by purchasing the items at a discount, and by not having to run to the store when you run out of things. A well-stocked pantry is also a big help when you can't get to the store and have to "make-do" with what you have at home.


Tomatoes

Prolong the freshness of your tomatoes by storing them stem side down.

 

Misc

Canned Food

If you have doubts about canned food, as to whether it is safe, remember that you can remove poisonous bacteria by boiling it uncovered for 15 minutes. This is usually a good idea with all home canned products. However, never eat food from a can that is bulging or has an odor. Having said this, I still think "When doubt, throw it out" is the best policy.


Freezers

Keep your freezer full. Use empty plastic milk containers filled with water if needed.
Not only will your energy costs by lower, but if the power goes out, and you don’t open the door, you will have more time (if you don't open the door) before possibly losing your food.



Marking Cans

Mark your canned foods so you know when your purchased it. It makes rotating food easier. More and more foods now have expiration dates marked on the packaging, but I find with cans, in particular, it is much easier to read if I mark them with a black magic marker. I always put the old on the left, and take from the right. If you build up a pantry, you will be prepared for emergencies, and if there is a recall, you have a better chance of not having eaten it yet.


Stapes

Always keep one ahead on items you use with regularity.  This way you will never run out of something you really need, and have to run to the store.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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