Eating Healthy on a Budget #2: How to Make Groceries Last
Buying in bulk is a great way to save on your grocery bill. However, one drawback to bulk buys is that the food often spoils before you’re able to consume it all. It almost seems like a losing battle. The trick is to know how to best use and “preserve” your fresh food finds.
TIP #1: Correct Temperature Setting
You want to make sure that your refrigerator’s temperature is set neither too cold nor too hot. Both extremes will lead to wasted food. Ideally, you want the temperature to be at about 37 degrees F.
TIP #2: Storing your food
These aren’t just for making home preserves/jams anymore! Mason jars are perfect for storing washed, dried, and cut fruits and veggies such as strawberries, onions, peppers, grapes, etc. Put a paper towel at the bottom of the jar, add your fruit or veggies seal with the lid. Your produce will stay fresh for well over a week!
Tupperware vegetable storage container
This is the one I use to store my lettuce in. I buy primarily romaine lettuce in bulk. I cut the base off wash it and dry it in a salad spinner and then store it in the special Tupperware container. This container is wonderful (and no, I don’t sell Tupperware)! It has special adjustable vents, and I kid you not, the lettuce stays fresh and crisp for about two weeks! It’s crazy!
Cool, dry, dark place for onions and garlic. The same goes for potatoes. Do not put these in the refrigerator as doing so will make the starch in the potatoes convert to sugar faster.
A jar with a few inches of water works wonders for asparagus, green onions, and fresh herbs. Trim about an inch from the bottom of the asparagus, place in the water (woody stem side down) and loosely cover with a plastic fridge. These will stay fresh in your refrigerator for a good week. Do the same for the fresh herbs except no plastic bag covering them is necessary. As for the green onions, leave them intact and simply place the white, rooted parts in the water. This will greatly extend their freshness!
Celery and broccoli will stay fresher longer when wrapped in foil. Make sure to trim the base off the celery prior to wrapping it.
I buy the bulk size bag of prewashed spinach. Spinach spoils very quickly, so what I do is freeze the entire bag. The leaves pull apart very easily so you can take just the right amount that you need at any given time. I add frozen spinach to my superfoods shake every day.
I hope you’re sitting down for this one, because I am about to blow your mind. Avocados can be expensive and are cheaper if you buy them in bulk at places like Costco. But what happens is that the entire bag of avocados ripens at the same time. I LOVE avocados, but there’s only so much you can have at once. Other than making guacamole or adding them to your smoothies for some extra creaminess, just freeze those little boogers! Yep… who knew?! I was blown away when I found this out. When you’re ready to enjoy one, simply thaw it out on your counter and enjoy! BOOM!
Wrap the stem of the banana bunch with plastic wrap to keep them from ripening too quickly. If you want to make them last even longer, separate the bananas and wrap each individual stem with plastic wrap.
Upside Down Method
Store cottage cheese and yogurt upside down to prolong its freshness. When stored right side up, tiny amounts of air seep in from under the lip of the lid and settle on top of it. This is a perfect breeding ground for mold. By flipping it upside down, you essentially are trapping the air out.
TIP #3: Cook in large quantities and freeze in small batches
Make vegetable soup, vegetarian chili, cheese enchiladas, etc., with the groceries you bought in bulk, and you’ll have freezer meals all ready to go when needed in a pinch.
TIP #4: Ethylene gas absorbers
Ethylene is the gas that fruits and vegetables release, causing them to spoil rather quickly. Get yourself one of these ethylene gas absorbers and toss it in the veggie and fruit drawers to make your produce last longer.
You now are armed with a variety of ways to make your groceries last longer. Go FUEL UP for a FIT LIFE!