Wednesday, June 12, 2013

27 Ways to Make Your Groceries Last as Long as Possible


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           Continued From Last Post

Stretch Your Food Budget Farther!

    Organization, Gadgets and Other Tips

        Keep milk and other highly perishable items on the middle shelf in your fridge, NOT in the door where temperatures fluctuate.
        Avoid mixing produce and meats in the same drawer, as cross contamination can lead to food waste.
        Avoid over-stocking your fridge, as a crowded fridge will keep air from circulating properly leading to warm spots that can cause spoilage.
        Avoid chopping up your fruits, veggies and meats before storage, as this will make them spoil faster.
        Glass mason jars make a great food-storage option, and you can seal them with an automatic vacuum sealer like Food Saver for even more freshness.
        Remove spoiled food from your fridge promptly to keep mold from transferring to fresh food.
        Get an ethylene gas absorber for your fridge; they’re available online and can keep your produce fresh up to three times longer than normal. There are many types of bags that can do this. They are typically called “green bags.” One example would be Debbie Meyer Green Bags.
        A gadget called the Herb Savor, which has a well for water and a plastic cover to keep herbs fresh, claims to make herbs last for up to three weeks.

Vacuum Packing: One of My Favorite Food-Storage Tips

    One of my all-time favorite tricks, which works for most produce, is to create a "vacuum pack" to help protect it from oxygen and airborne microbes that will accelerate its decay. Leave the produce in the bag it came in from the grocery store, place it against your chest and use your arm to squeeze the excess air out of the bag.

    Once the air is removed you can seal it with a twist tie and thus minimize exposure to oxygen. This simple technique can easily double or triple the normal shelf life of your vegetables by keeping air away from them. Alternatively, you can use an automatic vacuum sealer, like the FoodSaver available on Amazon, to do this automatically and create an even tighter, airtight seal.

    However, I nearly always store my food in quart or pint glass Ball jars. The FoodSaver brand also has a wide-mouth jar sealer attachment, which is ideal for sealing your leftovers, fermented veggies, sauces and other liquids stored in a wide-mouth jar, and can keep your food fresh up to five times longer. I regularly use it for extending the life of my vegetable juice and making my juicing more efficient so I don’t have to juice every day.

Food Loss and Waste is a Global Problem

    Curbing food loss and waste is something that should be a priority on both global food system and individual (consumption and behavioral) levels. As the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported:3

        "In developing countries the problem is chiefly one of inadequate harvest techniques, poor post-harvest management and logistics, lack of suitable infrastructure, processing and packaging, and lack of marketing information which would allow production to better match demand. The advice is therefore to strengthen the food supply chain by assisting small farmers to link directly to buyers. The private and public sectors should also invest more in infrastructure, transportation and in processing and packaging.

        In middle- and high-income countries food losses and waste stem largely from consumer behavior but also from lack of communication between different actors in the supply chain.

        At retail level, large quantities of food are also wasted due to quality standards that over-emphasize appearance. Surveys show that consumers are willing to buy produce not meeting appearance standards as long as it is safe and tastes good. Customers thus have the power to influence quality standards and should do so, the report said.

        Selling farm produce closer to consumers, without having to conform to supermarkets' quality standards, is another suggestion. This could be achieved through farmers' markets and farm shops. Good use for food that would otherwise be thrown away should be found. Commercial and charity organizations could work with retailers to collect, and then sell or use products that have been disposed of but are still good in terms of safety, taste and nutritional value."

Planning Your Meals Can Cut Down on Food Waste in Your Home

    The FAO report found that people in rich countries generally buy more food than they need, then end up throwing away the excess. They noted that "generally speaking, consumers fail to plan their food purchases properly … that means they often throw food away when 'best-before' dates expired." I've long stated that planning your meals is important for a number of reasons, one of which is reducing the amount of food that will go to waste, since you'll only buy what you need each time you visit the store, and you’ll have a plan in place to use it all up once you get home.

    I also recommend buying your food locally, preferably from a small organic farming operation you can visit and inspect for yourself. This guarantees that you get the freshest foods right from the start, giving you a few extra days of leeway before they spoil.

    Finally, for the packaged foods you do buy, they are often good beyond their expiration date. Unbeknownst to many, “best by” dates on many food packages are typically a measure of peak quality, not an indication of food safety. Typically, it is still safe to eat a food after the “best by” or “best before” date (the exception is infant formula, which has safety-based “use by” dates).

Thank You Dr. Mercola

God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.

Larry Nelson
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513

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