One of the big keys to avoiding food spoiling is planning. First there’s planning what recipes you’d like to make, and therefore what ingredients you need. There’s also planning for when you arrive home with your groceries, to make sure there’s time to prepare the food. Block out an hour or two on the same day you shop, or the day after, to get organized in your kitchen at home. For example, you could do a lot of vegetable prep and cooking to then use in recipes throughout the week.
Of course there are times when we get carried away by the beauty of the fresh produce while shopping, or by the excitement of seeing a new ingredient, and end up with more than we might actually need. Here are some tips on how to handle those ingredients you need to find good uses for quickly.
Leafy Greens and Lettuce: For storage, make sure they are as dry as possible before you put them in your fridge. If you do end up with some greens that have wilted, try soaking them in a bowl of cold water to refresh them. A tip is to deal with greens as soon as you get them home. Then you’ll be more likely to use them, as they’ll be ready when you need them. Discard the tough stems and chop the leaves into pieces. Rinse well, and cook immediately, or dry thoroughly and store in the fridge. Stir prepped greens into soups and stir-fries, or add to a casserole or baked pasta.
Herbs: Make sure they are as dry as possible before storing. If you have herbs that are on their last legs, make a seasonal pesto and use on bruschetta, for sandwich spreads, in soups, or in vegetable gratins.
Apples, Pears, and Quince: Turn them into a sauce or purée. Stir into oatmeal or use in baked goods, or serve alongside roast meats.
Winter Squash and Sweet Potatoes: These tend to keep well. If you do have some you need to use, simply roast until very tender and then mash. Stir into oatmeal, baked goods, pasta dishes and sauces, or smoothies. Or, make a dip such as butternut or sweet potato hummus.
Mushrooms: These can spoil fast if not handled properly. It’s best to keep them in your crisper in a paper bag — this will protect them from airflow which can dry them out and the paper bag will prevent condensation moisture from forming on the mushroom’s surface. Like with berries, excessive moisture will cause mushrooms to spoil quicker. If you have mushrooms that need to be used, roast or sauté them. Then you’ll have cooked mushrooms ready to add to a frittata, quiche or sandwich; toss into a pasta dish; fold into a risotto; or combine with whole grains, fresh herbs, and other vegetables for a hearty dish.
Berries: Berry quality can be inconsistent in the winter and it’s best to get them out of the clamshell they came in as soon as you get them home — mainly to make sure they are not packed to tightly, but also to remove any bruised, leaky berries that could damage others. Moisture will also speed decay so you should always wait on washing them until you are just about to serve.
Bread: Sometimes it can be tricky to use a whole loaf before it goes stale. Don’t let good bread go to waste! Make croutons or breadcrumbs. Or, make toast the base of a few meals — top with scrambled or poached eggs, or dollop with ricotta and pile arugula on top, or spread with mustard and layer ham and Gruyère on top, then broil. Or, make a bread-based sauce such as a Romesco.
Looking for other ways to use up vegetables that may be a little past their prime? Think flexible and versatile dishes like frittatas, soups, and dips. Fold roasted vegetables into a frittata. Simmer chopped vegetables in a soup. Make your own dips and spreads by blending roasted vegetables with cooked beans. Try these recipes next time.
- Kate Rowe, culinary content editor for Whole Foods Market
Reducing Wasted Food At Home
Most people don't realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. EPA estimates that in 2018, about 68 percent of the wasted food we generated—or about 42.8 million tons-- ended up in landfills or combustion facilities. By managing food sustainably and reducing waste, we can help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations.
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There are a million-and-one ways to use apples that have passed their peak. The easiest is to cut those doctor-repellers in half and bake them with a sprinkle of sugar and raisins. If you're not ready to eat your apples right now, cook them up to make applesauce or leave them on the stove a little longer to make apple butter. (Just cut away the bruised parts first, so the taste isn't altered.)
19 Foods Perfect for Meal Prep Because They Actually Last All Week
We’ve all been there: We skip off to the grocery store armed with 5-day menus and visions of becoming meal-prep pros. Then we discover midweek that most of the fresh food we’ve bought has turned wilted, moldy, and stinky.
Depending on how you go about it, meal planning can be the bane of your existence or your weekly lifesaver. No question, it does require a bit of thinking ahead.
We’re all about helping you with ideas to save both time and money. The first step is to choose foods that will keep for more than just a couple of days.
Get started with this handy guide of 19 foods, from pulses to produce to proteins, that will last at least 4 days once prepped. Plus, get tips to keep your food in the best possible condition throughout the week.
Living up to their nickname, these incredible edibles can be prepped in several ways that last you through the week. Here are some meal prep methods:
- Hard-boil. Refrain from peeling them until you need them so that they keep for the full week.
- Bake. Turn a dozen of them into a giant frittata for an easy dinner option on busy nights. Or, make individual egg muffins to have as a portable breakfast throughout the workweek.
- Devil. Amp up hard-boiled eggs by mashing the yolks with mayonnaise and spices like salt and pepper. Then add bacon or whatever topping you choose.
How to keep them fresh
However you prepare your eggs, protect them from absorbing smells and flavors from other foods in the fridge by keeping them in separate cartons or airtight containers.
You can store hard-boiled eggs, shells still on, in their original cartons to use in lunchtime salads or sandwiches.
How long they last
Hard-boiled eggs should last you about a week. Be sure to eat your baked eggs within 4 days or so. After that, the frittata just won’t taste as good.
Why eat them
Eggs have gotten a bad rap for their high cholesterol content. But they’re worth reconsidering for all the protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients packed under their shell. Miranda JM, et al. (2015). Egg and egg-derived foods: effects on human health and use as functional foods. DOI: 10.3390/nu7010706
2. Lentils and other pulses
No clue what we mean by pulses? We’re talking about the edible seeds in the legume family. So yes, lentils are a pulse, and so are chickpeas, dry peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, and more.
They’re perfect for meal prep methods like these:
- Soak. Soaking dried pulses overnight will help them cook faster and give them a creamier texture. You don’t have to soak lentils and split peas. If you do, they might lose their shape.
- Precook. Add 1 cup dried lentils to 1 1/2 cups water or broth and a pinch of salt (plus some herbs to add flavor) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes and let stand before packing the lentils into sealed containers.
- Chill. Toss those containers into the fridge or put them in the freezer to save for a future soup, salad, or stew topping.
How to keep them fresh
When storing pulses, fill the containers with the cooking water to keep them from drying out. Make sure they’re in an airtight container, away from light and heat.
How long they last
Pulses will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 days. They’re good for up to a few months when frozen, but too long of a deep freeze could ruin their flavor.
Why eat them
Lentils are a potent source of healthy plant chemicals called polyphenols. Research shows they may protect against diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. All that for a lot less money than prescription meds. Ganesan K, et al. (2017). Polyphenol-rich lentils and their health promoting effects. DOI: 10.3390/ijms18112390
3. Ground meat
Ground beef is good for more than building the ultimate burger. You can use it in sauces, stews, and to make your mama’s famous meatloaf.
- Precook. Warm a skillet, then add the meat, cooking it until it’s evenly browned. Once cooled, pack 3-ounce portions into several airtight containers.
- Shape. Form the ground beef into patties (or meatballs, if you’re big on the sauce). Place them in a single layer in a freezer bag. Then refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to get your burger on.
How to keep it fresh
Pack anything you won’t use within a few days into freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing and freezing.
Make frozen ground meat last longer by thawing it in the fridge rather than the microwave.
How long it lasts
Like chicken, ground meat won’t last longer than 4 days in the fridge. Ground meat preserves better cooked than raw. Be sure to remove it from the store packaging and cook it as soon as possible once you’ve bought it.
Why eat it
You don’t want to make burgers a daily habit — they’re high in saturated fat, after all. But they do pack enough nutrition (B vitamins, iron, zinc, and selenium) to make them a worthy (if occasional) menu addition.
This versatile protein source can give you a whole week’s worth of sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and grain bowls if you prep it right.
Chicken breasts may be the leanest, but for meal-prep purposes, thighs won’t get as dry in the fridge. Plus they’re cheaper!
- Bake. Coat it in 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil, season it, and bake in a 360-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Once baked, let it cool slightly, then divide 3-ounce cuts into multiple airtight containers.
- Slow cook. Soak it in some chicken stock or water and let it sit in the slow cooker. After a few hours, shred it. You’ll have a mound of meat ready for whatever chicken-based recipe you have in mind.
- Poach. This is one of the simplest ways to get juicy, flavorful chicken. Heat a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in water on the stovetop. Throw a few seasonings like garlic or ginger into the pot for added flavor.
How to keep it fresh
Since cooked chicken can’t quite last the full week in the fridge, cut up anything you plan to use after day 4 and place it in individual freezer bags. Then freeze until it’s time to eat.
To reheat, spread the pieces on a cookie sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and place in a 450-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Warm only the amount you plan to eat.
How long it lasts
Keep precooked chicken in the fridge for only 3 or 4 days. Don’t leave it out on the counter for more than a couple of hours after you cook it. Any longer and your chicken could turn into a bacteria incubator.
Why eat it
Protein, unsaturated fat, B vitamins, and minerals like iron and zinc make chicken a winner winner for dinner. To lighten up your meals, trim off the skin. You’ll cut 25 to 30 percent from your calorie count. Marangoni F, et al. (2015). Role of poultry meat in a balanced diet aimed at maintaining health and wellbeing: an Italian consensus document. DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v59.27606
5. Brown rice
Brown rice is a more nutritious counterpart to the white, processed variety. It makes the perfect foundation for fried rice, veggie burgers, or jambalaya.
- Boil. Rinse 1 cup of short-grain brown rice in cold water. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and cook for about 30 minutes covered. Let it sit for another 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Cool and store in shallow, airtight containers.
- Use a rice cooker. If you’re willing to invest a few dollars, this is the easiest and most foolproof way to cook rice. Measure out 1 cup of water per cup of rice. Close the lid and let it cook away.
How to keep it fresh
Cool the rice by spreading it out on a baking sheet. Then, put it into an airtight container or resealable plastic bag (let out the air first), and pop it into the fridge.
Use a microwave-safe dish for speedy reheating. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the top and cover the dish with a wet paper towel. Nuke on high heat until the rice is back to its steamy, springy old self.
How long it lasts
Cooked brown rice will keep for 4 to 6 days in the fridge. To make it taste fresher, reheat only the portion you need for a given meal during the week.
Why eat it
Rice is a food staple for half the world’s population, Mahender A, et al. (2016). Rice grain nutritional traits and their enhancement using relevant genes and QTLs through advanced approaches. DOI: 10.1186/s40064-016-3744-6 but most Americans stick with the white variety.
Brown rice is by far the more nutritious option. That’s because it’s a whole grain, which means it hasn’t had its nutrient-rich layers stripped away like white rice.
Those layers are an abundant source of phytochemicals. That’s good for anyone trying to prevent heart disease and diabetes (like, who isn’t?). Ravichanthiran K, et al. (2018). Phytochemical profile of brown rice and its nutrigenomic implications. DOI: 10.3390/antiox7060071
Your mouth might trip over the word (it’s pronounced “keen-waa”) but this whole grain with the funny name is a powerhouse of flavor and nutrition. Here’s how to prep quinoa:
- Rinse and soak. Rinse 1 cup of quinoa. Then put it in a pot with 2 cups water. Soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Boil. Place the quinoa in a pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Boil, then cover and reduce the heat, simmering for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Cool, then store in airtight containers.
- Use a rice cooker. Short on time? Let a rice cooker do the work for you.
How to keep it fresh
Store cooked quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Make it last longer and taste even better by reheating it on the stovetop.
Add about 2 tablespoons of water for every 1 cup of quinoa, plus a teaspoon of olive oil, and heat for 10 minutes.
How long it lasts
Quinoa stays fresh in the fridge for about 5 to 7 days. You can keep it in the freezer for 1 month or more.
Why eat it
Whole grains are good for your health and quinoa is no exception. One cup contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019). Quinoa, cooked. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168917/nutrients It’s also naturally gluten-free for anyone who’s sensitive to this plant protein.
This isn’t grandma’s breakfast. Oatmeal has gotten a modern makeover with all the latest accessories: berries, chia seeds, and almond milk. But making it from scratch can be time-consuming. Here are some short cuts:
- Precook. Simmer 1 1/2 cups of steel-cut oats in 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat. Once the mixture comes to room temperature, place the oatmeal into an airtight container.
- Soak. Soak rolled oats in regular milk, soy milk, or yogurt while you sleep. You’ll wake up to a cool, smoothie-like concoction.
- Slow cook. Pour your oats, the right amount of water or milk, plus toppings like dried fruit into the slow cooker. In the morning, breakfast will be served with zero effort on your part!
How to keep it fresh
Once the oatmeal is cooked, pack it into individual containers. Store them in the fridge or freezer, and reheat when ready in the microwave.
How long it lasts
Cooked oatmeal stays fresh in the fridge for 4 to 6 days. Whip up a batch on Monday, and it will take you through an entire workweek of breakfasts.
Why eat it
Oatmeal is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. It not only fuels you up for the busy day ahead, but it helps to lower your cholesterol. Whitehead A, et al. (2014). Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.086108 And that’s good news for your heart.
Whether you like it al dente or mushy, pasta is simple to prepare. If you want to cut down on the cooking time even more, try these make-ahead tips:
- Leave it undercooked.Cook pasta according to the package directions, but leave it al dente so it’s not mushy when you reheat it. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Add olive oil. Toss the pasta with a splash of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Place it into a sealed zip-top bag in the fridge.
How to keep it fresh
Store pasta separately from sauces and toppings to make it last longer. To reheat quickly, put your pasta in a metal strainer and dip it into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, or until warm (but not soggy).
How long it lasts
Cooked pasta stays fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge. Pop it into the freezer and you can make spaghetti and meatballs with it 2 or 3 months from now.
Why eat it
Pasta can be a nutritional friend or foe, depending on which type you choose and how you cook it. Whole-grain varieties are better than white pasta for boosting your daily fiber intake.
When you cook pasta, go al dente. Your body will digest it slower, keeping you full for longer. Top it with tomato sauce (a good source of lycopene) rather than high-fat cream sauces. Fulgoni III VL, et al. (2017). Association of pasta consumption with diet quality and nutrients of public health concern in adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2012. DOI: 10.3945/cdn.117.001271
Bulgur may not be a staple of every American pantry, but it’s essential in Middle Eastern cooking. Here’s a little secret: If you’ve ever eaten tabbouleh or kibbeh, you’ve tasted bulgur.
- Boil ahead. Add 2 cups of bulgur to 4 cups of cold water or broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Let it stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes, and drain any remaining water before fluffing.
- Stuff and save. Stuff eggplant or peppers with a mixture of cooked bulgur, chopped tomatoes, and spices. Cover and store in the fridge.
How to keep it fresh
Refrigerate bulgur within 2 hours of cooking. Keep it in an airtight container so it doesn’t get soggy.
How long it lasts
Properly stored bulgur will last for 3 to 5 days. Use it for warm meals at the beginning of the week. Then, toss it into colder dishes once it’s a bit drier during the latter half of the week.
Why eat it
Unlike some grains that come in highly processed varieties, bulgur is 100 percent whole grain. That means it’s naturally high in fiber and nutrients.
25 Things You Can Do to Keep Food from Spoiling Hot
According to a report from August 2012 by the National Resources Defense Council, America wastes about 40 percent of its food supply. Let that sink in for a moment. Imagine going into your kitchen and just throwing away 4 pounds of food for every 10 pounds you have. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You’ve either spent money buying or time growing and harvesting your food. Why on Earth would you want to just toss it out? The simple fact is we don’t throw away food that’s typically “good” – only the things that either grow hair, turn sour, or pass their expiration date.
If you’ve read 40 Ways to Save Money on Groceries, I’m sure you’ll want to know these 25+ ways to keep food from spoiling.
Pull your bananas apart when you get home if they’re ripe enough it’ll slow down the ripening so they don’t get all brown. If you don’t want a bunch of loose bananas on your counter, wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap. They’ll keep for 3-5 days longer than usual (which is especially helpful if you eat organic bananas).
Bananas also produce more ethylene gas than any other fruit, so keep them isolated on the counter. If you have bananas that have gotten too ripe to be eaten whole, you can still use them for baking.
If you are not quite ready to turn your ripened bananas into delicious banana bread or muffins, just peel and freeze them. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store several in a freezer bag. Then just thaw them out and you are ready to bake. You can also use frozen bananas in smoothies, or mush them up and eat them like ice cream!
When you buy berries of any sort take them out of the plastic container and line the container with paper towels. Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water (the solution is diluted enough that you won’t taste the vinegar). Swirl the berries around in the mixture, rinse, and drain. Place berries back in the paper towel lined container and store in the fridge. Most berries including raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft!
Lemons will stay fresh for months if you keep them in a covered container filled with cold water in the refrigerator. Be sure the container has a tight fitting lid, and change the water every week.
There is an old saying that one rotten apple will spoil the bunch. This is actually true. One apple that is going bad will bring the other apples down with it. You should ensure that you check your apples daily to make certain that you do not have a rotten one and if you do, throw it out to protect other apples.
Orange juice is great for keeping peaches fresh when freezing. Just slice in half and remove the pit and then dip only the fleshy side into orange juice. Place the peaches on a cookie sheet with the flesh side up and freeze. Once they are frozen hard, you can transfer them into freezer bags and date them so that you know when you froze them.
Don’t store onions and potatoes together – the onions will cause the potatoes to sprout eyes. Store onions, garlic and shallots in paper bags with holes punched in them. They will last for months without spoilage!
Thoroughly wash kale, spinach or other leafy greens and shake them off the best you can in the sink (or use a salad spinner). Place the washed greens in a gallon zipper bag. Put a couple of clean, dry paper towels in the bag with the veggies. The paper towel does all the work. The only effort you make is to just check on it every few days and if the paper towel is soaked, switch it out with a dry one. You can often store fresh greens for up to a month using this method
When storing asparagus, trim off the bottoms of the stems, place in water and cover the tops with a plastic bag. Store them in the refrigerator. They’ll stay crisp for a week or longer. You can use this trick on cilantro and parsley as well.
Wrap celery, broccoli, and lettuce in aluminum foil (affiliate link) before storing in the fridge. They’ll stay crisp for four weeks or more.
Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up. Overly ripe tomatoes should be put in the fridge, but let them come to room temperature before eating them.
Keep mushrooms in a paper bag, not a plastic one. A plastic bag will trap moisture and cause them to mildew. Put them in a paper bag in the fridge or in a cool, dry place.
Instead of storing root vegetables and herbs in the fridge (carrots, parsnips, ginger, etc), you can store them in pots filled with sand. Just place them in a flower pot, cover them roots with clean sand, and then take them out as you need them. Keep the pot in a cool, dark area.
If you have raw meat int he fridge that you haven’t used yet, freeze it! You can freeze any meat raw, or you can cook it and freeze it for later use. We often cook whole chickens, shred the meat, and freeze it in zipper bags. Then we pull out a bag to use in dressing, wraps, or to use as salad toppings… the possibilities are limitless.
Put bread ends or scraps (if you have a picky child that doesn’t like crusts) into a big bag in the freezer to save for homemade croutons, stuffing, or breadcrumbs. If you catch huge baguettes on sale at the grocery store, you can make homemade garlic bread! Split them lengthwise, spread them with a garlic butter spread, and freeze them! Then you can pull out some of the frozen bread and pop it in the oven as a side for spaghetti!
A quick note from our founder-
Over the past year, my friend Dave at PaleoHacks has been working on a secret cookbook with world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu chef Peter Servold.
Well, today this new this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE
That's right -- as a special launch promotion, we're offering our brand new Paleo fat loss cookbook to you for free (Chef Pete lost 60 lbs using these recipes!) -- All you have to do is just cover a small shipping cost (international shipping is a bit more).
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because we only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
How to Easily Save Greens That Are About to Spoil
This trick will allow you to use your bounty of greens for months to come.
I know not everyone has a green thumb. I’m lucky to have a yard planted to the bursting point with herbs and greens as well as other delicious comestibles. But even if you don’t grow them, when you shop at a farmer’s market or your local grocery store, I’m betting we both sometimes run into the following problem… we see gorgeous greens like kale, chard, mustard, spinach, collards etc. and we helplessly buy (or harvest) way too many. And as we all know, greens can go from a gorgeous leafy bouquet to a puddle of frightening goo in a matter of days. What to do?
First, realize that greens are generally in the neighborhood of 85-90+ percent water. And that is a big reason why they won’t last as long once they’ve been harvested.
In the past, when I’ve realized that my vegetable drawer was full of greens about to “go bad,” I have frantically rushed to make something with them𠅊 greens filled soup, a saag paneer, or even one of my adopted favorites, 𠇊 mess o’ greens” with some ham hock and red pepper (and served with cornbread, of course).
But sometimes, I don’t want any of those. And I don’t want to spend my day making something that I don’t want.
Claudia Totir/Getty Images
And then I remembered duxelles. No, this is not another paean to mushrooms. But I started thinking that, considering that mushrooms are about 90% water, and cooking the mushrooms down into duxelles allows me to freeze them almost indefinitely, might that be a greens solution as well?
So I washed and stemmed a large bunch of greens, put them in a hot pan with just a drop of oil and a tiny pinch of salt , and simply wilted them. This took about 10 minutes total. Then I drained them, let them cool, bagged them and put them in the freezer. About 2 weeks later, on a day when Indian food was all I could dream about, I pulled the greens out of the freezer, and made a saag paneer. I have to say, I could detect no difference in the finished dish… except that it took me half the time to make it.
I am only a believer in shortcuts when they don’t lessen the quality of the dish. And this was not only delicious, but it saved me from wasting a whole lot of greens. Another bonus: Even these “partially cooked” greens take up almost no space when compared to the enormity of the uncooked bunch.
And I like this method so much that I now buy/harvest greens specifically to wilt and freeze. I never saw that one coming!
How to Save Foods From Spoiling - Recipes
The art of preserving food has been a practiced for centuries. In fact, it’s inception is so interesting we’re going to share a little history with you.
Canning as we know it now, was originally conceived by Nicolas Appert, a Parisian confectioner and chef during the later 1700’s. After much experimentation, Nicholas successfully managed to preserve foods such as soups, veggies, juices even dairy.
Napoleon, the French emperor at the time, was looking for a way to feed his military troops and offered a 12,000 francs prize to anyone who could find a way to do this. Appert, continuing in his food experiments discovered that by introducing heat to the canning process, he could prevent food from spoiling.
15 years after he began his first experiments, it was announce by the French government that Appert was the official winner of Napoleon’s prize. Appert’s prize winning process simply involved adding food to glass jars, corking them, sealing them with wax, wrapping them in canvas and boiling the jars. This was the very foundation of the modern canning practices we use today.
Now that our history lesson is complete, let’s talk about one more thing – the benefits of preserving food.
- it reduces the waste associated with pre-packed foods.
- preserving food bought in season when it’s inexpensive can be a great way of saving money
- if you’re flush with bumper fruit and vegetable crops, and can’t eat everything once it’s harvested, canning and preserving are great ways to save you from throwing out food
- no matter how much companies try, no commercially canned products tastes as good as locally grown, harvested in season, homemade preserves!
So have we convinced you yet? Interest in food preservation has been growing over the past few years and canning, in particular, is seeing a resurgence of popularity. If you’re looking to get some ideas to try out your hand in food preservation, here are some interesting ideas to preserve food you may never even thought you could preserve.
How To Preserve Citrus
Did you know you can preserve citrus fruits? There are actually quite a few methods but here are two easy ways to preserve lemons and mandarins.
Canned Pico De Gallo
If you have never canned your food before, this Pico De Gallo recipe is a great recipe to begin with. It can’t get any easier than this.
Jasmine Tea Jelly
If you’re looking for an Asian inspired sweet treat, look no further than this delicious Jasmine Tea Jelly recipe.
Homemade DIY Extracts
Orange, Vanilla, Lime, Mint and the list goes on. Homemade extracts are easy to make and are great for gifting.
Cucumbers aren’t the only green produce you should be pickling. Chances are you spend good money on avocados, so make them last longer by pickling them.
Canned Butter for Your Food Storage
Did you know you can bottle butter and store it for up to 3 years. Yep, we’re telling you the truth. Check out this enlightening tutorial to learn how.
Preserving Fresh Basil
Imagine the possibilities here, fresh basil all year, infused basil flavored olive oil to use in everything and it’s perfect for sauces, soups, sandwiches, subs, salads, garlic bread, etc.
How to Pressure Can Apple Pie Filling
Nothing says fall like a good crisp apple and why not keep that fall feeling by making a batch of homemade apple pie filling.
Dehydrate Ginger Root to Make Ginger Powder
Learn how to make your own ginger powder that enhances many Asian dishes and makes for an awesomely refreshing beverage! You’ll never buy store bought ginger powder again.
Homemade Stevia Extract
Stevia extract is amazing stuff. It’s pretty popular right now, but in case you haven’t jumped on the stevia train yet, here is a quick run-down: Stevia is simply a plant and it’s 200-times sweeter than sugar and you can grow it right in your garden.
How to Prep and Freeze Cauliflower Rice
If you are Paleo, doing the Whole30 food challenge, or just eating healthy, learning how to prep and freeze cauliflower rice can save you a lot of time in the kitchen and help you have healthy food on hand when you need it.
Candied jalapenos are pretty similar to pickled jalapenos but are sweetened with sugar. Whoa! Spicy and tangy jalapenos that are also sweet? Yum!
How to Make Watermelon Chips
Who knew you could dehydrate Watermelon and guess what…it’s like candy. Healthy candy that you can eat handfuls of and not feel guilty about!
Homemade Vegetable Stock Powder
Homemade vegetable stock powder is much better than the one you buy at the store. You can be in control of the ingredients you use, it’s 100% natural, free of preservative and has less sodium.
Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam Recipe
Do you find yourself with an over abundance of Cantaloupe? How about making delicious Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam.
Via Grace Garden and Homestead
How to Can Potatoes
Another vegetable that rarely gets canned, canned potatoes are surprisingly wonderful. Plus a bonus 10 other ways to preserve them.
How to Make Tomato Powder Out of Tomato Skins
You’ll never waste tomato skins again with this easy recipe to make tomato powder and tomato flakes.
How to Freeze Fresh Chives
While you could turn it into a delicious compound butter or dehydrated herb, freezing is is a great method to preserve fresh chives. Chives actually freezes incredibly well thanks to it’s hollow, tubular structure.
Cucumber and Vanilla Jam
Now here’s an unlikely combination for a preserve. This jam tastes like vanilla with the subtle freshness of cucumber. You should try it, it’s pretty amazing.
Via Like A Strawberry Milk
How to Make Pesto
Did you know basil is high in antioxidants and is considered one of the most nutritious herbs. And, there is so much more you can do with pesto including putting it on rice, pasta, meat, pizza, salad dressing and more.
Have you heard of this unusual but super yummy concoction? With only five ingredients, this is really simple to make and even better to eat.
Dry Lemon Peel
Did you know a tiny jar of dried, powdered lemon peel can go for $10. Really? People are paying $10 for something that the rest of us throw away? Learn how to make your own powdered lemon peel and save money today.
Today, most of us rush home from the grocery store and crams in armloads of store bought food into the freezer or refrigerator but by doing this, we often overlook that fact that we can have access to a huge variety of food that doesn’t require refrigeration. You may not realize but frozen and refrigerated food also tends to lose flavor and some of its nutritional value, not to mention it doesn’t always look so hot after a while.
Now, you’re armed with some amazing recipes that will help you preserve food, save money and have delicious and nutrious food all year long.
How to reduce food waste
Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and wastes the water and other resources it takes to grow the food.
While the average consumer is not a large environmental polluter compared to large corporations, finding ways to reduce food waste throughout the day can help a person avoid contributing to the problem.
In this article, learn about how to reduce food waste in the home, at school, and on the go.
Share on Pinterest A person can cut back on food waste by not buying too much when grocery shopping.
One of the simplest ways to avoid food waste as a consumer is to buy less.
A packed fridge may look appealing, but it may lead to food waste if the household cannot eat all of the food.
Taking a couple of shorter trips to the grocery store each week rather than one longer trip may prevent people from buying too much food and help cut back on waste.
While mold is a definite sign that something belongs in the garbage, it is not necessary to throw out foods that are slightly past their prime.
For instance, many greens and vegetables may slightly soften or wilt when they are just past ripe. They still may make excellent additions to soups, smoothies, or baked dishes.
People can use leftover vegetable scraps to make a soup stock. Even stale bread makes toast or breadcrumbs.
“Best before” dates can be misleading — if produce still appears fresh and usable, it is usually fine to eat it.
Buying foods that are already in the home can ultimately become another source of waste.
Taking an inventory of the food in the house and making a grocery list before going to the store might help people avoid purchasing unnecessary foods and cut back on potential waste.
Organizing the fridge and pantry can help people keep track of what they have at home and help them to identify foods that are ready to eat.
“FIFO” stands for “first in, first out” and is a useful way to organize food at home. Many restaurants and grocery stores use this system to reduce waste, too.
Placing newly bought foods at the back of the cupboard or fridge will encourage people to use the food in the front row first, which will ensure freshness and reduce waste.
For example, if a person keeps lots of tins at home, ensure that the ones closest to their expiry date are at the front of the cupboard and use those first.
Perishable items, such as fruits and vegetables, each have their best way to store to avoid spoilage.
- keeping the refrigerator below 5°C (41°F)
- storing cooked foods on shelves above raw foods
- storing food in sealed containers
Always transfer leftovers from open cans into a suitable container. Do not store it in the can.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency also note that some fruits give off natural gases that make nearby foods spoil faster. Storing apples, bananas, and tomatoes apart from other perishables may help keep them all fresh.
Making a meal menu for the week may help some people organize their food usage and cut back on waste.
Using online tools or cookbooks to help plan out meals for the week can a person to compile an accurate shopping list.
It may take a few weeks for each household to get the menu right, but having a set weekly menu might help some people reduce the guesswork around meals and avoid wasting food.
Writing down the types of foods that go bad can help a person identify the foods that they can cut back on.
For example, if someone finds themselves throwing out many oranges as they go bad, the solution might be to buy fewer oranges to avoid this spoilage.
Although buying larger bags of produce rather than one or two pieces may seem cheaper, a person will not save money if they routinely throw away part of the contents.
Freezing foods can help preserve them for later use and prevent them from spoiling. Many fresh fruits and vegetables keep well when frozen, extending their shelf life and reducing waste.
Other foods may preserve well in the freezer as well, such as bread, meats, and even some prepared dishes.
Freezing foods that people use less often, such as herbs, is especially helpful. For those looking to eat more sustainably, freezing extra fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season locally can reduce the need for buying them when they are out of season and come from far away.
As part of a meal plan to reduce waste, many people choose 1 or 2 days each week to eat any leftovers they may have stored in the fridge or freezer.
This helps reduce waste from individual meals and keeps the fridge tidy.
Properly canning or pickling foods can help to extend their shelf life and avoid spoilage. If a person accidentally buys too much of a particular food, preserving the food in this way can prevent it from spoiling and being thrown away.
Examples include turning apples into applesauce or cucumbers into pickles.
People can pickle almost anything, from onions to eggs. Learn how to pickle foods in this article.
Excess food, scraps, and even some bones or other animal drippings are great ingredients for various stocks or broths.
Boiling excess vegetables, peelings, and other scrapings can make a hearty vegetable broth. Boiling a chicken carcass and other remainders, such as bones and skin, can become a tasty chicken broth.
It is best to store homemade broth in the fridge and use it within a few days. However, freezing it will give it a much longer lifespan.
Many manufacturers put different labels on foods, such as “sell by” or “use by.” These dates help markets know when to rotate their stock, but they can be confusing for consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimate that up to 20% of food waste comes from the confusion over these dates.
Many people assume these dates are expiration dates and throw out perfectly edible food. Remember, while tags and labels on foods may give a general idea for how fresh a product is, they are not hard and fast rules.
The easiest way to identify bad foods is to trust the senses. If a product smells, looks, or tastes spoiled, it probably is. When it doubt, however, it is best to throw it out.
Most meal preparation leaves scraps from the stems, peels, and unusable bits of food. Even coffee grounds and tea leaves make a great addition to a compost heap.
Creating a compost heap is one way to help reduce waste by turning even these scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
For people who do not have a garden or space for a composter or compost heap, many municipalities run composting programs.
One of the simplest ways to avoid food waste on the go is to bring food from home.
Investing in quality food containers that do not leak and are light and convenient to carry can help. Making extra portions of evening meals to keep in the fridge as ready-to-go packed lunches can eliminate the need to spend extra time making lunch before work or school in the morning. This might also save a person money.
When eating out, a person can avoid food waste by asking for a meal that does not contain ingredients they do not enjoy.
For instance, if brunch at a restaurant comes with a side of toast that a person would not usually eat, merely asking them to leave off the toast can help prevent waste.
In addition to reducing waste, smaller portions can also help prevent a person from overeating.
When eating in a dining hall or other establishment that uses food trays, opting to avoid the food tray may help prevent waste.
A 2012 study found that not using a food tray reduced food waste by 32% in a university dining hall.
There are several benefits to reducing food waste for the individual and the environment.
The World Resources Institute note that reducing food waste by half would benefit the environment significantly by reducing the need for land, water, and other resources to grow food. The World Resources Institute state that cutting food waste in half would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 gigatons (1.5 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050.
While each individual can help with this process, governments, corporations, and farmers will need to make significant changes to reduce their waste to achieve these goals.
Reducing food waste benefits individuals in many ways, including saving money from buying and wasting less food.
Organizing and structuring meals may save a person significant amounts of time in the long run and make a person’s eating habits much simpler and more healthful.
While the average consumer is not the greatest threat to the environment, it is still crucial that people take steps to reduce their environmental impact.
Finding ways to reduce food waste can have a strong individual impact and help create a healthier food future for all.
Some ancient remains may still be consumable today, or at least used to create a modern dish or drink.
Last year, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem resurrected yeast cells recovered from ancient pottery vessels. Thought to be beer jugs based on their shapes, the vessels came from four archaeological sites between 5,000 and 2,000 years old in present-day Israel. After awakening the dormant yeast and sequencing its genome, the scientists used the fungi to brew beer. According to their 2019 mBio paper , members of the Beer Judge Certification Program deemed it drinkable, similar in color and aroma to English ale.
As for edibles, nearly 500 cakes of ancient butter have been found in bogs of Ireland and Scotland. From at least the Bronze Age, roughly 5,000 years ago, through the 18th century, people in these places buried a type of sour, extra-fatty butter in peat bogs. Researchers debate the reasoning behind butter burials — whether it was for ritual offerings, storage or flavor development.
Whatever the rationale, microbial growth and decomposition was inhibited in the bogs — acidic, oxygen-poor wetlands. Forgotten butter cakes have lasted thousands of years and counting. Some are quite substantial , including a 3,000-year-old, 77-pound chunk discovered in 2009, and a 5,000-year-old, 100-pounder found in 2013.
Archaeologists maintain the bog butter is theoretically edible , but advise against it. Reportedly, a celebrity chef sampled an ancient morsel and Stephen Colbert pretended to on The Late Show .
More cautious, curious folks have experimentally buried samples for shorter time spans and given them a try. In an 1892 issue of The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland , the Rev. James O’Laverty wrote that butter submerged for six and eight months “assumed the taste more of cheese than of butter… an acquired taste.” In 2012, food researcher Ben Reade conducted a similar experiment. After three months underground, tasters described Reade’s butter as gamey, funky and pungent, like moss, animal or salami. After one and a half years, Reade thought it “ tasted really good .”
We’ll have to wait another 3,000 years for the final results.
Thanks to Brown University archaeologist Zachary Dunseth for input on this article.