Thursday, November 15, 2012

Saving money by storing food properly

I happened to catch a segment of the Today show and consumer correspondent, Janice Lieberman, was talking about ways to store food properly and avoid waste. In case you missed it, I thought I'd share her tips with you. Some of them surprised me.
  1. Flour -- If you are going to use it within a couple of months, it's fine in the pantry. However, if you don't bake a lot, like me, it is best to slip the bag of flour into a zipper-type plastic bag and store it in the freezer. Make sure you let it warm up before baking with it, however, as the cold flour can act a little funky if you use it right away.
  2. Milk -- Again, if you're like me and don't use milk often, you might want to switch to powdered milk, which will last for years in your pantry.
  3. Bread -- Here's where I've been doing it all wrong. I don't like refrigerated bread. However, if it's a type I use for toasting only, I will store it in the fridge. What I should be doing is storing it in the freezer. Refrigerated bread dries out and is simply not as tasty.
  4. Butter -- Buying butter in bulk is much, much cheaper. So buy it that way, then slip the individual sticks in a freezer bag and freeze. Just grab them as needed. They'll be good for a year or so.
  5. Fruits and veggies -- Frozen produce is good for a  year,  so it's sometimes preferable to fresh, which can go bad quickly. This is especially true with berries.
  6. Ground meat -- Again, buying in bulk saves you money. But rather than freezing large amounts of ground meat, pre-patty it for burgers, separate with wax paper, bag the patties and freeze.
  7. Oil -- Once opened, most oils will go rancid after 12 - 18 months. Store in a cupboard away from heat and light. If you live in a very hot and humid climate, you may want to keep your oils in the fridge. Be warned, however, they will get cloudy and may solidify a bit in the cold. But they will clear up once they are back out in the warmer air.
Okay, that's it from the Today show. Do you have any good storage tips to share with the community? If so, we'd love to hear them!

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