11 Tips To Make Groceries Last Longer And Save Cash

  • Saving on groceries doesnít just stop at the supermarket checkout. Have your dollar go even further by preserving your food and using some tricks to extend the life of your groceries. If youíre throwing away food, youíre wasting cash, and all the tips youíve used to save money at the grocery store will be for naught. By learning how to preserve food, youíre helping your wallet and the environment by reducing waste. Read on to find out the best ways to make your groceries last a good while.

    Get an Ethylene Gas Guardian

    The E.G.G. or Ethylene Gas Guardian ($25) is a product that will absorb ethylene, which is emitted by most fruits and veggies. Some types of produce that are sensitive to this ripening agent will spoil more quickly when exposed to this gas. A solution is to separate the items (List in previous post), and you can also choose to use the E.G.G. and put it in your produce drawer.

    Educate Yourself About the Life of Your Grocery Items

    Know how long each of your grocery items will last. For those without an expiration date, there is a handy list on Ziplocís website that gives an estimate of how long different types of produce and meats last when refrigerated and frozen.

    Donít wait until the food spoils and you end up throwing it away. Keep in mind the life of each item and eat it based on which one perishes the fastest.

    Donít Cut Fruits and Veggies Till You Need Them

    Keep fruits and veggies whole (until you need them) if you want them to last longer. Donít break off a stem, break it apart, or chop it into pieces if youíre not going to eat it. ďAs soon as you start pulling fruits and vegetables apart, youíve broken cells, and microorganisms start to grow,Ē says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University.

    Put Bread in Fridge or Freezer

    I have friends who immediately put the bread they buy into the fridge and my mom puts slices of bread into the freezer to make it last longer. If youíre not going to finish the bread in a few days, donít leave it out on the counter or it will start to grow mold. The best method is to leave half of it in the freezer and half of it in the fridge.

    Be Smart When Buying Organic

    Even if youíre a fan of organic foods, you might want to be smart when youíre buying organic. For example, think about how long you take to eat a certain kind of food and choose to go organic based on that, since organic foods spoil faster. If you find yourself constantly throwing away grocery items like eggs and milk, make a note of which ones and go for the normal kind the next time youíre at the supermarket.

    Invest In an Herb Savor

    The Herb Savor ($23) from Prepara, which was also one of Oprahís Favorite Things, will lengthen the life of your herbs for up to three weeks, according to the website. Itís not just a container, this kitchen gadget will keep the roots of your herbs ďslightly submerged under water.Ē

    Cook Foods That Are About to Perish

    If the foods are approaching their expiry date or are starting to lose their luster, cook them before it reaches the point in which you have to throw them away. For example, make a stir fry out of the old produce, or make baked goods from the really ripe fruits, such as banana bread out of old bananas. Start digging around the Internet for ideas!

    Consider a Sealer

    Get a nifty sealer ($10) to reseal your packaged goods. Itíll keep the air from escaping and itís more convenient than pouring the item into a food container.

    Avoid Bagged Veggies and Pre-Cut Fruits

    Bagged salads and pre-cut fruits certainly will save you a few minutes since there isnít any preparation time, but they also tend to spoil faster. Reach for whole, fresh produce at the grocery store to ensure that your veggies and fruits will last longer.


    Throw Out the Bad Apple

    Carefully look at your produce and throw out ones that are rotting because it can cause the surrounding foods to spoil faster as well. Mold spreads really quickly so be sure to trash anything that is furry.


    Make Fresh Produce More Visible in the Fridge

    For foods that are perishable, try to make them more visible in your fridge and put them in front of processed food items. This is so you wonít forget your fresh produce and youíre more likely to reach for them.

    Although it is recommended to keep produce in its respective drawers, you should try this technique if you find that you keep forgetting about the items in the drawers.
  • Ground Beef with Rice
    Instead of using the pound of ground beef called for when making taco meat, sloppy joes or soup, I cook a half pound of ground beef. After draining the meat, I add 1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice to make up for the meat. This is a good way to stretch ground beef and make healthier dishes. It's also a great way to use up leftover rice.
  • Freezing leftover fruit smoothies to save money
    Found that saving the leftover smoothie in freezer containers saves money when you are out of some fruit to make more.
    Just add what ever fruit you do have with extra water & milk with the container to make a single or double blend. Saves time running to the store just for a couple of things and always buying extra items.
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    Sueanne