Please Don’t Throw These Foods Away Yet!

Getting good bargains isn’t always about finding items for the lowest prices, sometimes it’s about extending the life of things you already have so you don’t have to waste them. This is especially true with food, which seems to be getting more and more expensive every day. Food is so tricky because every item has a specific timeline for when it needs to be thrown away. Often, that time is a lot longer than what’s written on the packaging. So, really, if we’re being honest, knowing when to keep and when to throw food away is fancy guesswork.

Thankfully, we’ve done a bit of research and come up with a few ways to keep food for longer. And, using this list, you’ll be able to know for sure if your food is good or bad. This will save you money and heartache, because who really likes running to the market multiple times a week?

1. Milk

Keep These Foods

There’s nothing worse than pouring milk and seeing that it’s curdled and bad. Unfortunately, milk is destined to spoil rather quickly, even if you do take precautions. Because of this, it’s best to buy milk in small amounts, so you finish it before it goes bad. Still, milk is usually good for a week to 10 days past its expiration date, if kept in a closed container. If it’s opened, milk will usually last three or four days. You can prolong this by keeping your milk in the shelves of your refrigerator, since this area is cooler than the doors.

If you’ve bought milk in bulk and are looking to store it long-term, you can freeze it. Place it in freezer safe containers, leaving about half an inch of space above the milk, and place it in the freezer. This milk will stay good for about 6 weeks, though some people swear it’s good indefinitely. Just know that skim milk freezes better than whole milk, which tends to separate a bit when thawed. If your milk is separating, just toss it in the blender for a bit and it should be back to normal.

2. Cheese

Cheese is notorious for going bad before you realize it. And the big problem with this is that good cheese is expensive, so you want to use it! If you want to keep your cheese longer, there’s actually a pretty simple solution. Just wrap it in wax paper and keep it refrigerated. This makes sense, since cheese covered in wax can last up to 25 years. Of course, your wax paper won’t let you keep your cheese that long, but you will be able to keep it for 5-8 days.

The best part about using wax paper to store your cheese is that it actually preserves the taste of the cheese. Instead of becoming duller as it ages, it keep the same flavor from when you first bought it. That will make it that much harder to store and not eat up immediately.

3. Eggs

Eggs are simple to prepare, good for you, and rather inexpensive to purchase, making them a staple for most kitchens. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information out there about how long eggs stay good and how to store them. You’ll be happy to know that, at least in this case, eggs last longest being stored in the containers they come in from the store. You just need to keep them in their cartons and store them on the shelves in the refrigerator, since it’s colder than the door.

Eggs will usually last between 3-5 weeks stored in this manner. If you’re unsure your eggs are still good, put them in a bowl of water. The eggs that sink are good and the ones that float are bad.

4. Meat

What’s a meal without a good serving of meat? Unfortunately, it can go rancid pretty fast if you don’t know how to store it properly. The best way to store meat is to vacuum pack it so that there’s no air left in the bag. This helps slow down the process of decay. While you can buy vacuum packers in almost any store, they’re expensive and the whole point of this post is to save money!

To vacuum pack your own meat, place it in a zip bag and press out all the air. Then, place that bag in another bag and repeat the process. If you want to be thorough, you can place the bag in water, leaving the opening in the air. The water will vacuum seal the bag for you.

Using this method, you can keep beef frozen for about 6 months and other meats for 3-5 months. If you want to keep your meat in the fridge, it will last for about 2 weeks when vacuum sealed. This is a great excuse to buy meat in bulk next time there’s a sale! Just don’t forget about it.

5. Fish

Fish is a great addition to your menu for many health reasons. But, if you can’t get through an entire fish in one meal, there are several ways you can store it to make it last longer. The first is wrapping the fish with paper towels and laying it on a bowl of ice. This will help it last about three days.

You can also freeze your fish. Just place it in an airtight bag (instructions for vacuum sealing your bags can be found above) and place it in the freezer. If your fish is a fatty fish, like tuna or salmon, it will last in the freezer for about 2-3 months. If it’s a leaner fish, like cod, it can stay frozen for 6 months.

6. Banana

Mushy bananas are disgusting, but sometimes it can be hard to get through your entire bunch before they start to turn. This is especially true during off months when the fruit is sent in either over-ripe or green. And, most mums will agree, bananas are often a staple in a household with children. They’re the perfect snack, easy to prepare, healthy, and filling.

If you want to keep your bananas fresh, there’s actually a pretty easy way to do it. This hack has been floating around the internet for a while, so you might have seen it. If you haven’t, just know it works. When you buy your bananas, cover where they all meet, their crown, with cling film. Doing this slows down the browning process.

For those who want their bananas to last even longer, you can break them apart and wrap each individual end in cling film. Doing this will give you an extra five to seven days of delicious bananas before they start to turn.

7. Berries

Berries are a delicious summer fruit, but they have the tendency to go bad quickly. And, the worst part is that if one berry goes bad, it seems to infect all the others. Since these tasty and healthy desserts aren’t the cheapest things to purchase, it makes sense to store them properly so that they last longer.

The first step to storing your berries is to make sure they’re sorted. You want to remove any questionable looking fruit so it doesn’t start spreading. Then, let the fruit soak in a bowl with three parts water for every one part of vinegar. You can soak this as long or as short as you want. Vinegar doesn’t just clean off the berries and any chemicals that were sprayed on them, it also kills the mold that makes the berries rot.

Once your berries are clean, rinse them off and lay them out on a towel to dry. You can store them in a paper towel lined container to keep them from absorbing too much moisture. This will give your berries about a 7 day fridge life.

8. Lemon

Lemons are delicious and great for making desserts, salad dressing, and adding a little zest to any meal. The only problem is that if you need lemons, you’ll probably buy a bag. If you don’t use every single lemon, they’ll probably go bad in about a week. The simplest way to keep your lemons longer is to store them in the refrigerator, where they’ll last 2-3 weeks.

If you have no immediate plans for your lemons, you might want to consider freezing them. You can do this in two different ways. The first is creating a syrup from sugar and water and pouring it over sliced lemons with the seeds and membranes removed. If you don’t have time for that, you can freeze sliced lemons as-is, but they’ll be a bit mushy when they thaw. It’s best to use thawed lemons for juice.

9. Tomato

These soft fruits can go bad quickly, becoming moldy and mushy within a few days of purchasing them. However, there is a way of keep your tomatoes longer and, surprisingly, it doesn’t involve putting them in the refrigerator.

Just like bananas, tomatoes release a chemical from where they were picked. The stem mark also allows more air to enter the tomato. This means that covering the area where the stem used to be will slow down the rotting process. You can do this by placing cling film or tape over the stem mark. Or, an even simpler option is to just place your tomatoes upside down on your counter. They’ll last on your counter about five days from when they ripened.

10. Lettuce and Spinach

It seems that as soon as you get home from the store, lettuce and spinach have started to go bad. The lettuce turns a scary shade of brown and the spinach seems to wither and stick to all the other spinach leaves around it. The worst part is that if you’re trying to eat healthily, salads are a part of your daily diet and it can get expensive if you’re throwing away half of every bag you buy.

Lettuce and spinach go bad because of moisture, so the best way to keep them lasting longer is to absorb that moisture. Remove the lettuce and spinach from the bags they come in, pat them dry with paper towels, and then place them in a paper towel lined container or bag. This will help your lettuce and spinach last up to a week.

If you’re still struggling with these veggie, try switching to kale. It’s just as healthy and is a bit heartier than lettuce and spinach.

11. Potato

It’s strange that potatoes tend to sprout the moment you forget about them. Weren’t they stored for years underground a few decades back? Anyways, the point is, potatoes are a staple but they being to sprout within a few days of buying them. Apparently, the sprouting doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve gone bad, but it can be a bit disconcerting.

This is another life hack that’s been going around for a few years now and many people swear by it. If you want to keep your potatoes from sprouting in your pantry, store them with or near apples. The gasses that apples release keep the potatoes from sprouting, meaning they can stay in your cupboard for longer.

As a general rule, you can eat potatoes as long as they’re still firm. When they start to shrivel, wrinkle, or soften, they’ve reached the end, so just toss them at that point.

12. Flour

While this might not be as big an issue as it was a few decades back, bugs getting into your flour is still a problem in some places. And with so many different flours on the market now, from almond to garbanzo, it can be hard to know exactly how to store flour properly and for how long.

To start, if you’re afraid your flour has pests in it, you’ll need to kill them and clear it out. Place the flour in a freezer safe bag and place it in the freezer for a couple days. Then, sieve the flour and place it back in the freezer. If storing your flour in the freezer, it can last 6-12 months.

If you don’t want to store your flour in the freezer, the next best option is to store it in an airtight containers. If at all possible, purchase a few glass containers with latches and keep your flour in there. Just make sure you close them all the way after every use. Using this method, your flour will last 3-6 months.

13 Herbs

Fresh herbs are the perfect way to add flavor and color to dishes. Unfortunately, if you don’t have your own herb garden, it can be hard to keep your herbs looking fresh for any decent amount of time. And, if you have to buy a bunch for one dish, you want an easy way to store the rest until you can use them.

Thankfully, keeping herbs fresh is actually rather easy. You can take the bunch of herbs, rinse them off, and then seal them up in a zip-lock bag. Afterwards, you can toss them in the freezer and they’ll stay fresh up to a month. And, the best part is that herbs are so much easier to cut when they’re frozen. The leaves don’t stick as much and they break easier.

14. Honey

You know how old honey gets hard and refuses to come out of the jar? Well, the good news is that even when honey is hard, it’s still not bad! Honey actually never goes bad. Great news, right? All you have to do is place your honey in the microwave, if it’s in a microwaveable container, or place it in a bowl of hot water. It will clear up and return to the texture that you recognize.

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigWill this make you reconsider when you throw your foods away?  We love feedback so please use the comment section below.

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