Make your costly food last longer with these tips and tricks

March 23, 2023

We hear of the term “sticker shock” when it comes to buying big-ticket items, like a new car, or a new home.

But lately, it’s been “grocery shock” when you pay $200 and put only three or four bags into the trunk in the grocery store parking lot. Grocery prices are crazy high — so Save with SPP did a little digging into ways to make those expensive groceries last a little longer.

At The Food Network, we are told that U.S. research has found that we waste “between 15 and 25 per cent of the food we purchase… imagine throwing one out of every four grocery bags right into the trash!”

The trick, reports Toby Amidor, is in storing the food you buy correctly. Amidor reports that precious eggs can last up to five weeks in the fridge, provided you put them in “the coldest part of the refrigerator.”

“Do not store them in the door (it’s the warmest part of the refrigerator),” Amidor writes. Instead, store them near the back of the fridge and in their original container.

We remember having fridges that had little egg holders built into the door, years ago! Guess that design didn’t make it into the 21st century!

Other tips from The Food Network include the idea of storing nuts in the fridge or freezer, rather than in a cupboard or on the countertop. “The fat within the nuts can go rancid more quickly once the package is opened,” the article explains. They’ll last longer if you keep them cold, The Food Network reports.

Across the pond, The Express expands on the idea of what foods shouldn’t be stored on your fridge door — milk, cream, butter and cheese should all be inside the fridge and not stored on the door; cheese should go inside a compartment, the article advises.

The folks at Reader’s Digest suggest you should wash berries “with a mix of vinegar and water (think a 1:3 ratio)” before popping them in the fridge. “This disinfects against mould, (and) can lengthen shelf life by weeks,” the article suggests. Be sure to rinse the berries in water after you’ve used the vinegar/water mixture to clean them, the article adds.

Leftover lettuce “should be stored in a bowl with a paper towel on top, then sealed with plastic wrap.” The paper absorbs any moisture in the lettuce leaves, keeping them from turning brown as quickly, the article explains.

Squirt an avacado with a few drops of lemon juice to keep it from going brown as quickly, the team at Reader’s Digest adds, and carrots will last longer if you store them in a container with a little water inside.

A second article in The Express provides a tip on how to “revive” stale bread. Rather than chucking it out, you should “douse the stale bread with water and then (put) it in the over at 200 degrees C for five minutes.” The result is “flakey and delicious” bread, warm from the oven, instead of more garbage/compost.

Food is an expensive commodity that we seem happy to waste, reports The Barbecue Lab. Food waste, the publication reports, “makes up 20 per cent of landfills in the U.S.” An incredible “$48.3 billion of food… is thrown away or wasted worldwide,” the article continues. That’s 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide, the article adds, noting that “one third of all food is wasted,” including 25 per cent of the groceries we buy.

Our late mom used to tell us to “use everything up” in the fridge before buying more groceries. This is a practical approach, and if you are stumped for ideas, do a web search to find recipes for the ingredients you are trying to use up.

Do what you can to stretch your food dollars through better storage, and you may find you have a few extra toonies and loonies kicking around for your efforts. A great place to direct those savings is an account with the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, a voluntary defined contribution plan that’s open to any Canadian with unused RRSP room. Join the 32,000+ who look to SPP to grow their savings — your future you will thank you!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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