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Food Storage Tricks to Reduce Waste and Save Money


Americans throw away a huge amount of food every day, from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. By making small changes, we can make a big difference in the amount of food we throw away. Here are some simple tricks to help you stretch your dollar, make your food last longer, and reduce food waste.

Freezing tips:
  • Portion your food into specific serving sizes before freezing. This way, you can take out and thaw only what you need.
  • When freezing liquids such as milk or chicken stock, be sure to leave some space in the container to allow for expansion.
  • When freezing items like berries or bell peppers, freeze on a single layer on a sheet pan first, and then transfer into freezer bags. This will prevent them from turning into one large clump.
  • Use ice cube trays to freeze small portions of things like tomato paste, pesto, or chicken stock. They can be popped out and placed into bags once frozen.
  • Freeze bars of butter you don’t plan to use quickly. Leave wrapped sticks in the original carton, then enclosed in a plastic freezer bag.
  • When freezing bread and baked goods, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or foil to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  • Save yourself the headache of trying to remember what everything is by labeling!
More food storage tricks:
  • Once opened, olive oil can go rancid in as little as 3 months. Unless you use it all the time, stick to smaller bottles.
  • Transfer brown sugar to an airtight container and include moist items like marshmallows or a slice of bread. The sugar will soak up the moisture and stay soft.
  • Store mayo in the fridge door. Mayo may get too cold in the inner part of the fridge, causing it to separate.
  • Keep whole wheat flour chilled. If kept in the pantry too long it could go rancid.
  • Store red spices (like paprika and cayenne powder) in your fridge and they will stay fresher and keep their color longer.

Finally, donate what you won’t use. Never going to eat that can of beans? Donate it to a food kitchen before it expires so it can be consumed by someone who needs it. Find out most needed items from the Hawaii Foodbank at http://www.hawaiifoodbank.org/donate-food.