10 Storage Hacks to Keep Food Fresher Longer

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Too often we throw away food that wasted away on the kitchen counter or pantry shelf before we could consume it. Sometimes we purchase more than we need, but many times food spoils before we have the opportunity to cook with it. Thankfully, there are some things we can do to make the food we bring home last a little longer.

Related: How to Build a Food Pantry - eHow

Proper storage can keep items fresh longer.
Proper storage can keep items fresh longer. (Image: PRUDENCIO ALVAREZ CARBALLO/iStock/Getty Images)

Put It Under Wraps

Many people know that hanging up bananas helps this fruit stay fresh by avoiding bruising. However, if you wrap the stems with plastic wrap, the fruit also will stay fresh longer. The plastic wrap prevents the release of ethylene gases, which speeds up the ripening process.

Related: How to Keep Bananas from Turning Brown

Wrap banana stems to slow down ripening.
Wrap banana stems to slow down ripening. (Image: PhillyMag.com)

Reveal a Softer Side

Most folks don't use brown sugar often, so it's not surprising that they find it hardened when they grab it from the pantry. To make it soft again, store brown sugar in an airtight container along with an apple slice or a slice of fresh bread. Once the sugar has soften, usually in a day or two, remove the fruit.

Related: How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar

Soften brown sugar with an apple or bread.
Soften brown sugar with an apple or bread. (Image: Cooking Light)

Turn It Upside Down

Keep tomatoes fresh longer by storing them at room temperature, not in the refrigerator. Also, place tomatoes upside down, with the stem facing down. This reduces airflow into the tomato and moisture from escaping out of the tomato where it was once attached to the vine.

Related: Store Tomatoes Stem-End Down to Keep Them from Rotting Too Quickly

Tomatoes last longer when stored upside down.
Tomatoes last longer when stored upside down. (Image: LifeHacker)

Keeping Up Appearances

Slicing potatoes releases starch that, when it starts to oxidize, turns the potatoes gray or brown. No one wants this, especially if prepping potatoes to cook at a later time. To keep potatoes white, cover them in cold water. You can even store them in the refrigerator overnight and still have white potatoes the next day.

Related: How to Keep Sliced Potatoes From Turning Gray

Keep ugly coloring away with water.
Keep ugly coloring away with water. (Image: lisaaMC/iStock/Getty Images)

An Apple A Day

While it's true apples are good for our bodies, it's also true that apples keep potatoes fresher longer. Apples emit ethylene gas, which prevents sprouting on the potatoes. Just place an apple in the bag of potatoes, and store in a dark, dry place.

Related: Store Potatoes with an Apple to Keep Them from Sprouting

Apples and potatoes work together to stay fresh.
Apples and potatoes work together to stay fresh. (Image: capdesign/iStock/Getty Images)

Soak in the Bath

Before you toss those wilted salad greens, toss them into an ice water bath. Allow them to sit for a little while. As the greens soak, the water will rehydrate the leaves' cells. You'll see the greens firm back up, and, when you're ready, you can remove them from the water and proceed with your cooking.

Related: How to Make Soggy, Wilted Lettuce & Other Leafy Greens Edible Again

Rejuvenate salad greens with water.
Rejuvenate salad greens with water. (Image: ULTRA F/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Staying Berry Good

With a little prep, berries can stay fresh for many days. Before storing, wash berries in a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water, which acts as a natural disinfectant and mold killer. Be sure the berries are completely dry prior to storing in an airtight container. Line the container with a paper towel to absorb moisture, keeping it away from the berries.

Related: Rinse Berries in a Vinegar Solution to Keep Them Fresh Longer and Mold-Free

Vinegar is the secret to fresh berries.
Vinegar is the secret to fresh berries. (Image: Lynn Bendickson/Hemera/Getty Images)

Butter Up

After slicing hard cheese, the cheese may start to dry out and crumble. To prevent this, rub butter across the cut parts to help the cheese retain moisture. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in airtight container, and store in the refrigerator.

Related: Keep Cut Cheese from Drying Out with a Dab of Butter

Keep cheese soft with a touch of butter.
Keep cheese soft with a touch of butter. (Image: sprng23/iStock/Getty Images)

Slick Situation

When storing whole summer and winter squash, rub with vegetable oil, leaving just a slight shine. The oil will help prevent mold spots that could soften the skin and spoil the squash. Once the squash is prepped, store in the pantry for weeks or even months.

Related: Preserving Pumpkin, Butternut and Other Winter Squashes

Oil up squash to keep it fresh longer.
Oil up squash to keep it fresh longer. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Water, Water Everywhere

Instead of putting whole celery, carrots and radishes in the refrigerator, prep and dice them into smaller pieces. Store them in a container with water, and place in refrigerator. This will keep the vegetables crisp and fresh for days, possibly weeks.

Related: Keeping Vegetables Fresh

Vegetables stay fresher in water.
Vegetables stay fresher in water. (Image: Noms for the Poor)

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