Expiration Right now, buying foods in semi-larger quantities and learning how to extend food expiration dates may help you to decrease your chances of exposure to the coronavirus. During the COVID-19 pandemic, going into the store with a grocery list in hand is helpful for several reasons. The most important? You’re less likely to forget something on that first trip, which will then prevent you from having to revisit the grocery store later that same week. However, if you’re stocking up on perishables, making fewer trips can complicate your healthy meal prep.
Well, not unless you know how to manipulate when fresh food will expire, that is. Below, you’ll see seven hacks for extending the expiration dates of food so you can make the most out of each and every grocery trip.
Freeze any ingredients that are about to expire
When in doubt, freeze it. Food will typically last indefinitely in the freezer, and the only thing that you’ll want to watch out for is freezer burn. Freezer burn won’t make your food unsafe to eat, however, it can alter its taste to the point where it becomes inedible. To avoid this from happening, you’ll want to make sure you choose the correct packaging for meat, vegetables, and fruit.
For example, if you’re trying to freeze raw chicken, consider using a vacuum seal if you have one on hand. If not, just make sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bag before sealing it. Trapped air in a container or plastic bag is what causes discoloration, dehydration, and ice crystals to form while in the freezer.
Keep fresh produce on the top shelf in the fridge, or, in the crisper drawer
Food waste is a huge issue in this country and among the top foods to be dumped in the garbage are fresh fruits and vegetables, as they perish the fastest. In a former Eat This, Not That! article, Chef Joel Gamoran, host of A&E’s hit series Scraps, said that placement in the fridge is important when it comes to preventing fresh produce from spoiling.
Pickle some of your fresh veggies
If you’re looking for a new project to tackle during the quarantine, why not try pickling some of your fresh fruits and veggies? It’s actually a lot simpler to pickle onion slices, for example, than you might think. All you need is white or red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, some herbs and spices and that’s about it. If stored properly in a mason jar, pickled produce may last as long as two months in the fridge. Aside from being an easy way to preserve your fresh produce, it also gives your food that unrivaled sour yet sweet flavor.
Cook your veggies & raw meat, then refrigerate them
Worried that your spinach or kale will perish before their suggested expiration or sell-by date? Bring a pot of water and salt to a boil, put your leafy greens in until they become tender, and then transfer them to a sauté pan with garlic and onions. Sautée the greens for a few minutes and add in some sherry vinegar for extra flavor. Bonus: Eating cooked vegetables over raw ones are often thought to be easier on the digestive system.
Store potatoes in a cool, dark place
Potatoes are one of the few produce items that won’t perish within a few days. However, there is a way to maximize its shelf life and it all has to do with where you store them in your home. Potatoes should not be stored in a humid fridge but rather in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space where they will be able to survive for up to about four months. A pantry, cupboard, basement, or garage are all ideal places to store raw potatoes, just make sure not to wet or wash them until you’re ready to cook them, otherwise, they will become moldy. Uncut onions should also be stored in a similar environment.