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How to Keep Food Fresh Longer

Learn how to keep food fresh longer with these 23 simple tips and tricks.

| May/June 2012

  • By storing asparagus in water, you will keep it fresh longer.
  • Try these 23 simple tips to keep your produce fresh and crisp.

The average American family wastes $1,200 in food each year, according to Timothy Jones, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona who has been studying food waste for years. That’s a staggering number both in terms of financial and energy waste. But we can do a lot at home to reduce the amount of food that ends up in our trash cans and compost bins. Weekly meal planning, wise reuse of leftovers and conscientious shopping can all help us consume more of what we buy and grow. As food editor for Natural Home & Garden, I am always searching for new ways to save and preserve food. Whenever possible, I prefer to pick or purchase just what I’ll need for a couple of days. Keeping fresh veggies in a beautiful wooden basket on the counter entices me to eat them. I love having a vase of fresh herbs on the countertop, and few things make me happier than a terra cotta jar filled to the brim with fresh heads of garlic.

But sometimes—say, when you’ve just hit the jackpot at the farmer’s market or received a giant boxful of goodness from your community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription—you’ve got no choice but to refrigerate food, or you’ll lose it. To this end, I’ve spent years trying out ways to keep foods fresh. I also knew our readers would have tons of innovative ideas I’d never heard of, so we asked you about it via our website and social media. After a huge response, we gathered up all the best tips to offer this collection of our favorite ideas, from my own kitchen and yours!

Fresh Ideas on How to Keep Food Fresh Longer

1. Buy locally. Local produce lasts much longer than supermarket fare, which has already traveled long distances before it gets to your kitchen.

2. Keeping in mind the specific ways you like to eat it, clean and prep fresh food as soon as you get it into the kitchen, making it much less likely you’ll let it spoil.

3. Wash berries in water with just a bit of vinegar (a life-extension tip gleaned from the fabulous publication Cook’s Illustrated) before popping them into the fridge.

4. Rinse lettuce and other greens immediately in cold water and spin them dry before refrigerating them in the spinner or a breathable cloth bag.

8/12/2014 11:47:11 AM

Store cottage chees & sour cream upside down? That's a great way to have to clean the ridge and throw out whatever was underneath them.

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