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Kitchen Hacks: Make Nutritious Foods Last Longer

 

You take the time to plan out nutritious meals and purchase whole foods, so we get it… the last thing you want is for any of your precious ingredients to go bad! Often, you may end up with more of one ingredient than you need for a recipe – and the rest of it may end up going to waste. These ingenious kitchen hacks can help you make the most out of fresh produce and dry goods so that they last longer – and help you save money in the process!

Especially right now when we would all like to make as few trips to the grocery store as possible, you could definitely benefit from taking a solid look at the ingredients/foods you have on hand to determine what can be salvaged or stored better. This way, you’ll have a supply of foods in your fridge, freezer and pantry that you can count on to be there when you need them – instead of going bad before you’re ready!

From fresh produce that you can use in all your meal replacement shake smoothies to staple pantry goods, we’ll let you in on some pretty-fantastic, food-saving kitchen hacks…

 1) How to Make Your Bananas Last Longer

sliced bananas on wooden cutting board

First, one of the most popular and beloved ingredients in many 310 Shake recipes is bananas! They give your smoothies/shakes a nice, creamy consistency, while adding lots of amazing nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6. The only downside is they ripen pretty quickly, potentially before you get to use them!

Though you can utilize overripe bananas in healthy baking recipes, or freeze them to give a healthy “ice cream” consistency to future smoothie recipes, another option is to try to slow down the ripening process, with a neat trick…

Kitchen Hack: Wrap Your Banana Stems In Plastic Wrap

The bottom line is that bananas, like many fruits, release a substance called ethylene gas, which causes browning and ripening. Much of this happens at the stem, or crown of the bananas, but by wrapping them in plastic wrap, you can slow down the ripening process (for the bananas, and also any fruits near them)!

For the quickest method, tightly wrap the stems of the entire banana bunch. However, for the longest slow-ripening effect, separate each banana and then tightly wrap each stem separately.

 2) Keep Apples Out of the Fridge

apples on wooden counter top

Next, where you store your fruit, especially certain fruits, matters… especially when it comes to apples. Many people place their just-bought apples in the fridge, in the crisper drawer next to other fruits.

Remember that ethylene gas we just talked about? Apples have it too! If you have your apples next to other fruits, it may cause them to ripen too quickly. This is especially true if they’re next to certain fruits, like berries, which already ripen very fast and may cause them to rot.

Kitchen Hack: Keep Your Apples Individually-Wrapped

If you want to keep your apples in the fridge, just make sure they have their own drawer, with no other fruits around them! You can also store them in paper inside a cool, dry cupboard. Wrap each apple in newspaper or kraft paper to keep it separate from the others.

As an alternative, you could keep the apples in a cellar or pantry in a box/barrel full of fine sand – the same kind you use in children’s sandboxes – which will keep them fresh for months! This also works for root veggies like carrots and beets!  

 3) Protect Your Dry Goods

farfalle pasta on white background

Next, do you have friends with ridiculously neat and organized food pantries, with their dry goods organized into functional glass containers? Turns out there’s more to this method than just the neat and appealing look…

Your kitchen is actually a very humid place, with moisture in the air. Every time you cook something, boil water, or turn on the sink faucet, it releases water molecules into the air. And these molecules can actually end up in any opened dried food containers that aren’t sealed, causing them to spoil before they should.

Kitchen Hack: Put Dry Goods in Tightly-Sealed Glass Containers

When you buy dry goods, including cereals, granola, nuts, and beans, you want to transfer them to glass containers with tight-fitting lids, (mason jars with screw top lids work great). This will keep the dampness out of your dry foods, and help prevent them from soaking up moisture that will make them go bad. Keep the containers in the driest part of your kitchen, far away from the stove and sink.

4) How to Make Berries Last Longer

mixed berries in bowl

Next, berries, (such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries), are some of the most nutritious fruits for you. Packed with antioxidants and low in sugar, they make amazing additions to your meal replacement shake smoothies. Unfortunately, not only are they a pricier fruit, they also ripen very quickly.

You can wash your berries soon after purchasing and immediately transfer them to the freezer in safe freezer storage containers for use in smoothies. To extend their life in the raw form, try these kitchen hacks…

Kitchen Hack: Wash Berries In Vinegar-Water

Berries tend to gather bacteria quickly which can cause them to rot, even more so if they’re wet. Make sure you don’t wash your berries until right before you’re ready to eat them. Or, you can get ahead of the game by pre-washing berries in a vinegar solution that may actually help halt the growth of bacteria!

To do this, wash your berries in a bowl that has 3 cups of water mixed with 1 cup of white vinegar – which helps destroy mold spores and help berries last longer. Drain the berries in a colander and then rinse them under running water. Then, place them in a salad spinner lined with layers of paper towels and spin until they’re dry.

Store the berries in a container lined with paper towels, with the lid slightly open to allow excess moisture to escape.

Want even more kitchen hacks to help you preserve the life of your clean, nutritious foods? Try all of these, below…

More Food-Saving Kitchen Hacks To Try…

  • Wrap celery stalks in tin foil before putting them in the refrigerator, or store the stalks in water to help help them crispy

  • Save fresh herbs by chopping and adding them into an ice cube tray with extra virgin olive oil, then freezing until needed

  • Pre-wash leafy greens like kale and lettuce, then dry and store in a slightly-damp paper towel in a loosely-sealed plastic bag in the fridge

  • Don’t store eggs, milk or other dairy on the refrigerator door where the temperature isn’t consistent due to door opening – instead place them on the middle or bottom shelves towards the back

  • When only using part of an avocado, save the unused half back in the fridge with the pit intact to keep it from browning

  • Store good cheeses in wax, cheese or parchment paper in an unsealed plastic bag

 

We hope you enjoyed this article on helping you extend the life of your foods! Which kitchen hacks are you excited to try?! Let us know in the comments, below!

 

Sources:

https://greatist.com/health/kitchen-tips-hacks#1

https://lifehacker.com/keep-bananas-fresh-longer-by-separating-them-and-wrappi-5967424

https://www.marthastewart.com/1538336/extend-shelf-life-groceries-safely-tips

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-ways-to-prolong-the-shelf-life-of-food-and-save-your-money.html

https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/diet-nutrition/8-hacks-prolong-shelf-life-food/

https://www.insider.com/how-to-store-food-so-it-lasts-longer-2018-9#dairy-belongs-on-the-middle-or-bottom-shelf-of-the-fridge-10

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/storing-root-crops-in-sand.htm

https://www.foodandwine.com/lifestyle/keeping-apples-fresh-tips

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/diet-nutrition/a38816/keep-your-healthy-food-fresh-for-longer/

https://www.southernliving.com/fruits/berries/vinegar-solution-to-keep-berries-fresh

https://lifehacker.com/rinse-berries-in-a-vinegar-solution-to-keep-them-fresh-5888601

Written by:

Dana Gates

310 Nutrition Senior Writer

Dana Gates is a seasoned writer and researcher with over a decade of experience writing about all things health and wellness. Through her articles, she aims to inspire others to live their best, healthiest, and most active lives–by making wise lifestyle and dietary choices daily. Her ultimate goal at 310 [...]

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