Kitchen Hack: Prevent Food Spoilage, Save Money

lyulka/ iStock / Getty Images Plus
lyulka/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

It’s frustrating to watch that avocado you just bought rot before your eyes. No one likes spending money on food only to watch it spoil and have to be thrown away. From splashing lemon juice on fruit to wrapping banana stems in plastic, there are lots of random tips and tricks out there to keep foods from spoiling. But who knows which of these urban legends are actually true?

Forget the urban legends because there is one foolproof way to make food last longer. Can you guess what it is?

Freeze it.

Freezing is an effective way to preserve perishables because freezing prevents the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds that cause food spoilage and food poisoning. You can freeze almost anything from leftover soups to half a pepper. Some exceptions include eggs in shells and canned goods. However, once the food (such as ham) is out of the can, you may freeze it. Some foods simply don’t freeze well like mayonnaise, cream sauce and lettuce, and if food is frozen for a long time quality may suffer.

To freeze, simply pack your perishables in freezer bags or airtight containers, label, date and place in a cold freezer that is at or below 0°F. If you are freezing vegetables, you should blanch them first to stop enzyme action, improve the taste and reduce your risk of food poisoning.

To enjoy, all you have to do is thaw safely. Your food will last months longer, you’ll reduce food waste and have extra money in your pocket.

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Sara Haas
Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and co-author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook. Read her blog, The Cooking RD, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.