If you’re investing in good-quality groceries to stock your kitchen, the last thing you want is for those beautiful, organic bananas to turn black before you’ve had a chance to enjoy them. It truly breaks my heart when I realize I simply didn’t eat fresh produce in time or merely forgot to use them.
In today’s post, I’ll share tips and tricks to help you make use of everything you buy rather than throwing it in the trash.
Save Your Groceries, Save Your Money
Freeze raw veggies when you can.
I absolutely adore smoothies, but the problem is that a lot of the ingredients I put in them like spinach, kale, and bananas don’t have the longest shelf life. If I’m not drinking a smoothie every day, I have a hard time using up these ingredients before they wilt or brown. The best solution I’ve found for this is to just stick all of these ingredients into the freezer! Once I start fearing that my spinach, kale, or bananas might expire soon, I’ll simply throw them in the freezer. With the kale and spinach it’s easy—just throw the entire bag of raw spinach into the freezer. With the bananas, simply peel them and put them in a Ziploc bag and throw ‘em in, too. You can also take put avocado chunks into ice cube trays to put into smoothies as well. This trick has not only saved me a TON of money, but I’ve been able to enjoy so many extra days of deliciously fresh smoothies!
2. Divide leftovers into individual portions and freeze those, too.
Soups, chilis, tomato sauces, and full-out dishes like lasagna or meatloaf can be thrown into the freezer rather than the trash can. My favourite thing to do is divide the dish into individual portions before freezing so that you’re only grabbing the specific amount you need in the future; whatever you don’t use can stay frozen until you need them at a later date! It is so nice having some home-cooked meals in the freezer on nights when you have no idea what to make for dinner. In fact, I’d encourage everyone to make freezing individual portions a part of their meal prep so you’re never short of home-cooked meals when you need them!
3. Bread and nuts can be frozen, too…
So clearly I love my freezer, but with good reason! You can throw bread and nuts in the freezer as well to prevent them from going rancid. I especially love doing this when I make bread myself. Since it’s free of preservatives, it doesn’t last long unless you freeze it up.
NOTE: Ginger, berries, peaches, mangoes, homemade waffles, broth, stock, milk, juice, and diced veggies can be frozen, too!
4. Invest in an herb preserver.
I have never understood why grocery stores give you bunches of herbs large enough to feed an entire village but alas, they do. I love this “Herb Savor” pod by Prepara, which can prolong the life of fresh herbs for up to three weeks. (Plus it’s way easier to store them in these rather than those flaky containers that never seem to shut properly from the grocery store.)
5. Keep foods you need to eat quickly at the front of your fridge.
I’ve noticed that sometimes foods will spoil simply because I forgot I had them. Either put food you need to use quickly at the front of a shelf in your fridge to remind you to eat it or take it up a notch and use coloured bins in your fridge to separate “foods to eat now” and “foods to eat later.” Seeing a bright purple bin whenever you open the fridge is a good visual reminder that will remind you, “Oh yeah, I bought that cucumber for that new juice recipe I wanted to try!
6. Separate your produce.
Keep produce that’s on its way out separated from the fresh stuff. Otherwise, surrounding foods will spoil faster. Bananas especially produce more ethylene gas than any other fruits, so keep them isolated on a counter.
7. Use mason jars.
The super-tight lid make the food inside totally untouchable, helping to increase the life of that product. Added bonus: they’re BPA-free since they’re made of glass!
8. Get an ethylene gas absorber for your fridge.
Ethylene gas is given off naturally by fruits and veggies once they start to ripen, but when there’s a high concentration of the stuff in your fridge, it can speed up the ripening and spoilage rate of all your produce. Stick a few of these bad boys in your drawers to absorb any excess ethylene gas.
The Bottom Line
It’s not a good feeling when your hard-earned money goes right down the drain from tossing precious groceries in the trash. But the truth is, keeping groceries visible in your fridge, investing in a couple useful kitchen gadgets, and using your freezer are simple yet effective ways to get the most bang from your buck when it comes to food.
You Tell Me!
What do you do to extend the life of your groceries? Let me know in the comments below!