9 Useful Items That Will Help Your Food Stay Fresh For Longer

As updates from the CDC, states, and cities continue to change and develop, there's one constant guideline that unifies us: stay home as much as possible. Cutting our errands down to just the essentials, like food, can help us minimize the amount of time we spend out in public places — and one way to successfully space our grocery trips as far apart as possible is by making the most out of what we already have in our fridges and pantries.

A general recommendation is to buy what you would need to live at home for at least two weeks — and purchasing goods with longer shelf lives, like canned legumes and dried grains, is a strategic way to build up those reserves. But, there are also a handful of tactics (in the form of savvy storage buys) that you can employ to make your fresh foods last longer, too.

Ahead, we break down nine useful ways to lengthen the lifespan of everything from your fresh herbs to delicate berries and beyond between that next big grocery run.

We’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. 

Buy Ventilated Storage Containers To Increase Airflow

Rubbermaid's Produce Saver containers work in two ways: Water escapes at the bottom, reducing moisture, and the vents at the top increase airflow. Don't rinse produce until you store it, though — as that will increase the moisture content.

Rubbermaid Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver Food Storage Containers, $, available at Amazon

Minimize Ethylene Gas

Some fruits and veggies give off ethylene gas, which causes the fruit to ripen — and eventually decay. While you want to eat ripe fruit, you can cheat a little to slow the process down by tossing one (or two) of these blue gadgets in your crisper. It captures the ethylene gas released from fresh produce, extending its life inside your fridge.

Bluapple Set of 2, $, available at Bed Bath & Beyond

Use A Kitchen Towel To Minimize Moisture

A kitchen towel is another easy way to combat moisture in produce: Wrap a head of lettuce or bunch of kale in it before storing it inside your fridge.

Calhoun & Co. Tea Towel, $, available at Urban Outfitters

Limit Air Exposure

Storage fry-dry items (for coffee, nuts, or cereal) often look good but don't actually extend the life of food. At best, they're about the same as keeping it in the box or bag it came in, and, at worst, they increase exposure to air which accelerates food spoilage — unless, of course, you have a pest problem and need to seal food from bugs.

But one exception is Prepara's Evak containers: the lid lowers to the level of the food, reducing exposure to air. A one-way valve forces air out, keeping the contents fresher longer. And while you don't need one for things that keep pretty much indefinitely (like dried pasta), it's a great way to keep things like coffee, cereal, and nuts from going stale.

Prepara Evak Fresh Saver Metropolitan Canister, $, available at Bed Bath & Beyond

Freeze Your Food In Reusable Storage Bags

Freezing food that's about to go bad (or you just know you're not eating fast enough) is another way to keep it longer. Some food, like soups, freeze fine in regular food containers. (Just make sure you leave space for the freezing liquid to expand.) But some things were meant to be frozen in a baggie.

Rather than just using a disposable zip-top, however, consider picking up a few Stasher silicone bags. They can store just about anything and go from the fridge to the freezer to the microwave. When you're done, you toss it in the dishwasher, not the trash.

Stasher Clear Silicone Reusable Storage Bags, $, available at The Container Store

Put Your Herbs In An Herb Keeper

While moisture is the enemy for delicate greens and berries, herbs can actually last longer with a little H2O. Herbs, like fresh flowers, will stay fresh if you keep the stems in a little bit of water.

You can do this in a cup or jar with a loose plastic bag over it to further keep the leaves from dehydrating, or you can pick up a handy herb keeper. This one even has a handy water line to make sure you use just the right amount of water. You'll also be able to keep an eye on the water level and top it off as it drops.

Norpro Norpro Fresh Herb Keeper, $, available at Amazon

Pickle Your Produce

Don't worry, we're not going to suggest you take up canning. (Your sourdough starter is taking up enough of your time!) But, quick pickling can extend the life of produce for up to two months. Cucumbers, onions, carrots, even green beans, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes, can be covered in vinegar and preserved for weeks — just cover them in one part vinegar and one part water and store.

In addition to experimenting with the types of things you're pickling, you can also play around with flavors. You can mix and match aromatics like garlic, dried peppers, and herbs to make a great topping for salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more. Or, just keep them around for snacking!

Ball 24 Ounce Glass Mason Jar with Lid, 9 Count, $, available at Walmart

Airtight Seal Your Cut Produce

Another eco-friendly alternative to plastic baggies and wrap is a set of these Food Huggers that create seals around cut produce. The silicone seal is more airtight than just leaving the food in a container and it keeps it from browning or drying out. (Plus, there's even a little yellow hugger designed for saving half a banana.)

Food Huggers Food Huggers Set of 5 Reusable Silicone Food Savers, $, available at Amazon

Store Your Roots Vegetables In A Sack

Root vegetables, like onions, garlic, and potatoes, are generally fine to store in a cool, dark place for as long as a few months. But, if you don't have a dark pantry for them or just want them to feel fancy, you can get a vegetable sack to do the preserving for you — like this handy one from Mastrad.

If you have small brown paper bags, they work for this as well.

Mastrad Mastrad Vegetable Sack, $, available at Amazon

from refinery29
9 Useful Items That Will Help Your Food Stay Fresh For Longer 9 Useful Items That Will Help Your Food Stay Fresh For Longer Reviewed by streakoggi on April 06, 2020 Rating: 5
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