5 On Your Side

Stop wasting so much food, 5 On Your Side has advice

Posted May 19, 2020 1:33 p.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2020 6:35 p.m. EDT

Now that grocery store trips are limited and items aren't always in stock, it's more important than ever to manage the food already in the home.

5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte shares ways to extend shelf life.

The key is how the food is stored.


In the refrigerator, make sure cold air can circulate throughout the space.

For optimum freshness, the refrigerator should be set at 37 degrees, and the freezer at zero.

In the pantry, check "best by" dates.

Move the oldest foods to the front, but don't take those dates as "throw out" dates.

"Best by dates may mean the food will taste best before this date, but doesn't mean it's unsafe to eat," said Amy Keating of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports: How to extend food expiration dates

Check foods that are past their dates for signs of spoilage. That's when they should be thrown out.

Dry goods last longer stored in airtight packaging, which keeps bacteria and moisture out.

When freezing or refrigerating foods, wrap them tightly, and date mark them.

As for staples like bread, don't put it in the fridge.

"Bread can go stale much faster in the refrigerator than if you store it in a cool, dry place," said Keating. "You can freeze it, just wrap it tightly and put in an airtight container, or a resealable bag."

Did you know you can also freeze milk? Consumer Reports says it'll keep for up to three months.

Freezing eggs is possible, too. Simply whisk them first, then pour into an airtight container. They will last up to a year in the freezer.

Frozen foods retain their nutrients, so buying frozen produce is a good way to cut down on waste. Only use what is needed from the freezer.

Finally, to help strawberries last longer, remove the stems and lay them separately in a covered container. They should be good for about a week.

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