How to Save Money on Food - Tips to Keep Your Produce Fresh

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How do you save money on food? There's nothing more frustrating than opening up your fridge and seeing all that expensive produce rotting in the fridge drawer. If you're tired of throwing away moldy and rotten produce there are a few simple things you can do to prolong its freshness.Our fridge temperature is probably one of the last things that's ever on our mind. The temperature inside your fridge should be between 32F and 41F. If it's too warm, food won't be chilled correctly and bacteria will start to multiply. While if its too cold, ice particles will form within the food.Avoid storing fresh produce in the plastic packaging in which it's sold. Air should circulate around fruit and vegetables to prevent them from sweating and becoming soggy.

Stop potatoes from sprouting by storing them in a cool, dry place with a few apples. If you've peeled too many or have peeled them in preparation for cooking, put them in a bowl. Then cover them with water, and place the bowl in the fridge.

Lettuce: This is one exception to the no-plastic rule because it seems to thrive if it's kept loose in a large plastic bag in the fridge. A good way to revive limp lettuce is to slice off a sliver of the stem and place the lettuce in a bowl of cold water. Individual leaves can be revived if you sprinkle them with cold water, wrap them in a tea towel and pop them in the fridge for an hour or so.

Carrots, beetroots and turnips: Cut off any green, leafy tops because these will continue to draw nutrients from the roots. Like all root vegetables, carrots will last longer if they're kept in a cold, dry, dark place with good ventilation.

Lemons: After you've cut a lemon in half, place the halves cut side down on a saucer. Then cover them with an inverted glass and store them in a cool place.

 Celery starts to lose its flavor as soon as it's washed. The best way to store a piece of celery is to stand the stalk upright in a glass of water before placing it in the fridge.

Mushrooms: Store mushrooms in a cool, dark place, but not the fridge. I find that they last longer if they are wiped dry and laid on a piece of paper towel

Onions: Onions are easy to store. Just put them into a vegetable basket or wire rack. The trick to preventing them from rotting is to keep the bulbs apart so that air can circulate around them.

Tomatoes: Some people like their tomatoes rock hard, while others prefer them soft. Green tomatoes, along with any that haven't fully ripened, are best stored in a dark place. Exposing them to sunlight simply makes them soft not ripe. To ripen them, place them either in a brown paper bag with an apple or in a drawer, stalk side up, and leave them until they've turned rosy red.

Apples: Remove unblemished apples to prevent them from contaminating the others with their rot.Saving money on food is more important than ever before, especially with produce prices at all time highs. Why not give these tips a try? Over the course of a year you'll be surprised at how much you'll actually save on your grocery bill.

About the Author: Theresa Kruger
You may have heard about an infomercial product called Debbie Meyer Green Bags. They claim to keep your produce fresh for much longer. Please have a look at my honest review as well as several As Seen on TV kitchen gadget reviews at my blog


  1. These are really great tips. Now I know! Thanks. I'm now following you.

  2. Oh, thank you for the ideas! I did not know how important it was for air to circulate around onions.

  3. I did not know plastic was not good for most items.. And to cut the greens off the top of the carrots.

    I put bananas in the freezer when i get a good deal. And than use in shakes. I put them in the freezer once they get very soft.

    My eggplant just went bad..half of one. I cooked half and had not time to slice and cook more.

    Can eggplants be put in the freezer?? i don't think so.

  4. Eggplant can be frozen but there's a process:

  5. I like the green bags. They really do extend the fridge-storage time of vegetables. I have a cold storage room and have learned that dirty potatoes will store for much longer than washed potatoes. I don't keep apples anywhere near potatoes as potatoes let off a gas that will cause the apples to rot. I often store apples for up to 4 months in cold storage so I don't want potatoes setting them off. It's hard to find dirty potatoes in the grocery store, so if I have to buy washed potatoes, I remove them from a plastic bag (I try to buy them in paper bags) and move them to a box which I keep closed. Less light = longer storage. Any referigerated vegetables (except cukes and lettuces) that start to go downhill will get frozen. I clean peppers, celery (yes, I freeze celery) carrots, even tomatoes (which I never refrigerate) chop them up and freeze them. Frozen celery is great for soups and casseroles. Diced peppers that have been frozen are great for omelets and casseroles among other things. I would much rather salvage a vegetable to the freezer than sacrifice it to the compost heap! It makes a HUGE difference in our food waste (money waste!)

    Good stuff!


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