These shocking food waste facts and statistics should have everyone thinking about how to waste less food. One way to waste less is to make foods last longer. There are some tricks and tips that extend the life of fresh foods:

  1. Swirl fresh berries with water and a little vinegar. There’s nothing like buying fresh berries from the farmers market, only to see they’ve spoiled in a day or two. Mercola suggests swirling the berries in a mixture of one part vinegar to 10 parts water. The vinegar is diluted enough to not affect the taste of the berries. Rinse and store in the refrigerator.
  2. Place sour cream and cottage cheese upside-down in your refrigerator. According to Yahoo! Shine, it “creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil.” No more furry surprises on Taco Tuesday when you open the sour cream!
  3. Treat your soft herbs like fresh flowers. Instead of wrapping fresh herbs like basil, parsley and oregano in a plastic bag and putting in them in the refrigerator where they will start to wilt and then get slimy, Real Simple suggests keeping them on your kitchen counter in a glass of fresh water like you would flowers. Change the water every couple of days and the herbs will last for weeks.
  4. Turn the temperature down a degree or two in the refrigerator. Shelf Life Advice says most refrigerators are kept at 38 degrees Fahrenheit, but by turning them down to 36 or 37, you’ll extend the shelf life of the contents. Don’t go any lower, though, because ice crystals will start to form on some foods and beverages.
  5. Try Fenugreen FreshPaper, an all natural product infused with organic spices that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. It was developed to keep foods fresh in developing nations where there is little or no refrigeration, but it’s available in stores for home use, too.
  6. Extend the life of fruits and some vegetables that are almost past their prime (but not bad yet), by making shrub syrups, also known as drinking vinegars. It was a trick used in Colonial times to preserve foods.
  7. Print out the Shelf Life of Foods infographic and tape it near your pantry and refrigerator. You’ll be able to bypass those arbitrary sell-by, use-by, and best-by dates and use some common sense when disposing of food that is no longer edible.
What tricks do you use to make your fresh foods last a little bit longer?

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