Save Money – Store Your Foods Properly 

 Originally Written: July 13, 2010

By  Hanna Trafford

There is a good chance that you have to discard foods that could be made to last longer if stored properly. Knowing how to avoid helping variety of foods from going bad will save you quite a bit of money and prevent waste.
Here is a guide to proper storage of some of the most common foods:

    • Apples

    Your apples will last longer if you store them on your kitchen counter – away from other produce. If you are planning to visit your local market and would like to purchase a bushel of apples you could enjoy over the cold winter months – here is how to:

    1. Start with apples that will keep well. Late-ripening varieties – those harvested at the end of September will do well. They include Red Delicious, Ida Red, Crispin, Spy and a few others.
    2. Inspect all apples for bruises, cuts and soft spots. Only perfect fruit is good for storage.
    3. Sort apples by size – small, medium and large. Large apples don’t store as well so make sure those get eaten first.
    4. Place sorted apples in perforated plastic bags or in boxes lined with perforated plastic to allow for air circulation.
    5. Store in a cool basement, garage, fruit cellar or refrigerator. The idea temperature is 30 – 32F with 90% humidity.
    6. Check your apples regularly for signs of spoilage and remove any damaged fruit.
    • Notes:
    1. Plan to store as soon after picking as possible
    2. Avoid storing your apples near onions or potatoes – they will absorb flavour of other foods
    3. Do not mix apple varieties as they will ripen at different times
    4. Properly stored, your apples will last up to 5 months
    • Bananas

    Store bananas at room temperature until they ripen.Then move them to the refrigerator to impede further ripening. Freeze over-riped bananas to use for making muffin, cakes and breads. The peel will turn black but the fruit inside will be perfect for baked goods.

    • Bread

    Best way to store your bread is in a breadbox or on the counter, keeping it in the bakery bag you purchased it in.

    • Butter

    Best way to store butter is in its original packaging inside refrigerator compartment (not inside the door) Butter can also be frozen for up to 6 months

    • Cheese

    Remove cheese from its original packaging, then rewrap it in a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper and seal inside a plastic bag.

    You can freeze hard and semi-hard cheeses – like cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella. Soft cheese like cream cheese, cottage cheese and ricotta do not freeze well. If you are planning to freeze cheese, leave it in its original packaging (or put into a layer of plastic wrap) and then place into a freezer bag.

    • Eggs

    Store eggs in their original carton inside the refrigerator – not inside the refrigerator door.

    If you are wondering whether you can sue eggs that have passed they use-by date, you can do this simple test:

    Fill a bowl with cold water and put in one egg at a time. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it’s fresh. If it sinks, but stands on its point – it’s till good but needs to used soon. If it floats to the top, it needs to be thrown away.

    • Flour

    If you want to be sure there are no insects or insect eggs in your flour, freeze it for 48 hours. That will kill any insects that may be present.Store your flour in an tight-sealing container in a cool, dry spot.Keep whole-grain flours in the refrigerator or freezer – that will extend their life.

    • Garlic

    Store fresh garlic unpeeled in an open container in a cool, dry place. For a long-term storage, garlic can be dried and braided.

    • Honey

    Store honey in a cool, dry place in an air-tight container. Honey will not go bad – it is recognized as the only food that does not spoil. It will however crystallize, becoming thick and cloudy. If this happens, remove the lid form the jar, place in a pan of water and hear over low heat until honey returns to its original consistency.

    • Lettuce

    Remove from store packaging first, then wrap in paper towel and place in a open storage bag

    • Mushrooms

    The best way to store mushrooms is in a paper bag inside your refrigerator. It is not a good idea to keep them in your vegetable crisper.

    • Nuts

    Keep nuts in shells until you are ready to use them and refrigerate or freeze any that you plan to keep for more than 3 months.

    • Onions

    Store your onions in a cool, dark place, away from moisture. If you have purchase a large bag of onions, try this: cut the legs off a pair of pantyhose, drop an onion into one of the legs and tie it off. Then drop in another onion and tie it off again. Continue until each leg is full. Then hang them up.

    • Potatoes

    Best way to store potatoes is in a paper bag, panty hose or similarly vented container. They need to be placed in a cool, dry and dark spot.

    • Tomatoes

    Store tomatoes at room temperature. Keep out of the sun, once they have ripened.

    How to Freeze Tomatoes

    1. Purchase fresh picked tomatoes from your local farmer’s market
    2. Wash thoroughly and then freeze whole and unpeeled on a tray.
    3. Transfer to freezer bags once they are fully frozen.

    You can also do the following:

    1. Wash and remove the ends of tomatoes.
    2. Blanch, remove skins and freeze whole in proper freeze bags.
    3. You can also chopped them after blanching and then place into freezer bags. You will have great supply for delicious soups, sauces and all your winter cooking!

    Note: You will only be able to use frozen tomatoes in cooked recipes since freezing them will change their texture which will make them too soft for eating.

    Hope you have enjoyed this information – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, Your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

    Hanna Trafford

    Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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