Food waste is a major global issue and it’s totally worth knowing more. The amounts of food that we are throwing away are mindboggling.
According to a 2012 NRDC study, America does not eat 40 percent of its food. The European Union is not doing great either.
Really, in a year in the U.S., the amount of food wasted on average per person is 181 kg (400 pounds) and it is costing a household of four an average of $1,800.
Perhaps surprisingly, researchers in another study have linked high-quality diets with the highest levels of food waste, as fruits and vegetables are almost 40 % of all the wasted food in America. Healthy produce eating turns out to actually produce the most waste.
So, why not make the most of your grocery shopping? My personal tried and tested tips are shopping only once a week for the exact fresh produce amount you want to eat and constantly opting for foods that last a long time in your pantry.
Here is a list of such foods and how to store them. I’ve put this together so you can also have it in handy next time you are planning to do your general shopping:
The best way to keep apples is in a plastic bag, in your fruit crisper drawer, away from other produce.
They preserve their taste in a cool place. It is also best to store them by themselves because this way they won’t give off ethylene gas to other fresh produce and cause them to ripen faster.
2. Peanut Butter
You can keep unopened peanut butter for about two years in a cool, dry place and up to 6 months in the fridge if it is opened. It’s also safe to consume after that, it just won’t taste that great anymore.
Nuts can go in the pantry for up to 3 months, in the fridge for 6 months and up to a year in the freezer. Cashew and almonds will last longer than pecans and roasted will last longer than raw.
These babies can last up to four months if you store them in a dark, dry, coldish place, such as a basement or cellar. They do great at temperatures less than 10 ° C (50 ° F). For maximum storage time, keep them at around 2 to 4 ° C (5-40 ° F).
Don’t store them in the fridge, (too cold) don’t wash them and keep them in ventilated boxes or mesh. Don’t keep them in don’t keep them near fruit or onions, as many of these emit a gas called ethylene, that will ripen your potatoes faster. A slightly different story for storing sweet potatoes here.
Almost all varieties of rice – white, wild, basmati – have an indefinite shelf life. Once opened, in order to keep it free of dust, insects and other contaminants, make sure you store it in an airtight container. You can also use some Oxygen Absorber Packs to keep the air out.
Canned beans can last up to 2 years and dried beans up to a year. You should use your beans within a year for best results and quality of the product. They will still be safe to eat after a year if they were kept in a dry cool place, but they dry out over time and could take longer to soak and cook.
Fresh cabbage tastes the best, but you can keep cabbage in your refrigerator as long as two months if you wrap it in plastic first, and even for more in a cellar. Cabbage can be used instead of lettuce for salads or on sandwiches. As it doesn’t have a high water content such as most green salads, it will not wilt within a few days.
If you have proper storage space, why not also make your own sauerkraut – its benefits are amazing!
Have you ever had beets in the fridge for what seemed to last like forever? I know I have, and it’s because they can last up to 4 months in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.
Carrots will keep fresh up to 3 months in the veggie drawer if they are kept dry. For this, it is recommended you take them out the bag, cut off the green part and place them on a thick layer of absorbent kitchen paper.
The best way to store them is in a dry, dark, well-ventilated room, at 40–50°F (4–10°C). Ventilation is important, so store them in a mesh bag, open basket, an orchard rack or something of the kind. You can have them this way for up to a year.
Garlic can be stored at room temperature in a dry pantry, as well as in a paper bag in the fridge and it will last for up to 4 months.
12. Winter Squash Varieties
You can keep butternut squash, acorn squash and pumpkins for two to six months if you store them in a dry place with 10- 12 º Celsius ( 50º to 55º F). Keep your squash in single layers so air can circulate and they’ll stay fresh longer.
You can store dry pasta in a dry, cool place for up to 2 years past the printed date.
14. Parmesan Cheese
For maximum flavor, you should wrap it either in wax paper or aluminum foil, letting it “breathe” just a little. Though many argue that a ziplock or plastic bag with the air out works just as fine. Parmigiano Reggiano producers recommend not to freeze the whole piece, but only grated parmesan.
Eggs have some specific regulations attached to their distribution. First of all, they must be marked with a ‘best before’ date, which may be up to a maximum of 28 days after the eggs are laid. Eggs must be sold to the consumer within 21 days after the eggs were laid. This means that they must be sold 7 days before their actual ‘best before’ date expires.
I’ve written about the differences between “best by” and “use by” here if you want to know more. So with eggs, the dates you see on egg cartons are not food safety dates. Stores use them as a guide for knowing for how long they can sell the eggs, as it is an actual offense to sell them 7 days close to their “best by”.
Raw eggs will typically maintain their best quality for about 3 weeks after the “best by” date on the carton if they have been kept in the fridge all along. I store them in the fridge and I would recommend this to anyone as well, but there are many countries that do not consider this to be necessary for eggs.
Do you have any favorite long-lasting nutritious foods to share? Always looking to add to the list!
If you want to know more about how you can properly store some of these in the freezer, check out my article here.
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