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19 Fridge And Pantry Hacks You Should Know By Now

Get the most out of your groceries.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

We've all been there: You buy groceries, and a few days later, half of them have already gone bad. It's a waste of time and money β€” but it doesn't have to be this way.

Making the most of your food isn't just about cooking skills. You also need to know how to store everything properly. To help make your groceries last as long as possible, we've gathered some useful tips and hacks so you never have to throw out another bag of salad greens again. 🌱

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1. Transfer pasta, rice, cereal, and other dry foods to airtight containers.

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Transferring dry goods to airtight containers after opening will prevent them from going stale too soon β€” and can also ensure a longer shelf life. (This is key for flour, which can go rancid and attract bugs if kept in the bag after it's opened.)

2. Store nut butters upside down so the oil doesn't separate.

Kelli Foster / thekitchn.com

No one likes to open a jar of almond butter and find a layer of oil separated from the rest. To avoid this, the only thing you need to do is store the jar upside down. If only everything were that easy!

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3. Dry your produce thoroughly before you store it.

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For most produce, humidity means trouble. So if you rinse your produce when you get back from the store, be sure to dry it completely before storing it in the fridge β€” or countertop, depending on the produce.

4. But if you're dealing with asparagus, humidity is actually good β€” and you should store it in water.

Spencer Kombol / BuzzFeed

Cut the ends off the stems and place the asparagus in a glass of water, as if it were a bouquet of flowers, then cover it with a plastic bag. Store in the fridge until you use it β€” just be sure to change the water every couple of days.

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5. The best way to keep herbs fresh as long as possible is to place them in a glass of water too.

thepioneerwoman.com

For parsley, cilantro, or basil, put them in a glass of water (making sure, again, to replace the water regularly), top them with a plastic bag, and place them in the fridge. It's a little different for hard herbs (like rosemary, oregano, or thyme), which should be wrapped in a wet paper towel, placed in a plastic bag, and stored in the fridge. Here's a good guide from the Pioneer Woman on how to store herbs.

6. Herbs starting to wilt? Cut them and freeze them in an ice cube tray with some olive oil.

This way, they'll be perfectly portioned and ready to use for your next stir-fry, pasta, stew, or soup.

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7. Some produce (apples, potatoes, bananas, pears) can actually speed up the ripening process of other fruits and veggies β€” so they should be stored separately.

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That's because they produce a gas (ethylene) that accelerates ripening. So unless you actually want your fruits to ripen extra quick, you should store apples and potatoes away from other produce.

8. Keep citrus in the fridge instead of on the countertop.

Faith Durand / thekitchn.com

Lemons and other citrus look lovely in a bowl, but they'll stay fresh much longer if you store them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. The Kitchn ran an experiment and found that lemons last four times as long when they're kept in the fridge β€” rather than on the countertop.

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9. Generally speaking, if something is ripe and you don't want to eat it right away, move it to the fridge to increase its shelf life.

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This way, you'll get a few more days out of a super-ripe avocado or peach, for instance.

10. Soak berries in vinegar and water to make them last longer.

Spencer Kombol / BuzzFeed

A 1:10 vinegar–water mixture can help get rid of mold spores. After you've soaked the berries, rinse them well, dry them, and place them in the fridge.

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11. Wrap celery and broccoli in foil before refrigerating them.

Spencer Kombol / BuzzFeed

This will trap the ethylene gas and prevent the veggies from losing their moisture and going soft.

12. Instead of storing leftover liquids in the fridge, freeze stocks, soups, and smoothies in freezer bags.

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This is a great way to portion leftovers, on top of being really space-efficient. A few things to keep in mind: Let the liquid cool down before you place the bags in the freezer β€” and be sure to leave a bit of breathing room in the bags, since liquid will expand when frozen. Also, lay the bags flat at first so everything freezes in an even layer.

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13. Store greens with paper towels.

Goodful

Just place a sheet of paper towel at the bottom of the container, add your greens β€” like spinach or arugula β€” and cover with another sheet before closing the lid. This is the best way to keep greens super fresh and crisp for the longest-possible time because the paper towel will soak up excess moisture.

14. Store spices in deli containers.

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Deli containers are super cheap and what restaurants often use for storage. They're especially great for spices because you can label them, stack them, and max out the vertical space in your pantry.

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15. If you buy cheeses wrapped in plastic, rewrap them in cheese paper or parchment paper.

James Ransom / food52.com

Plastic wrap basically suffocates the cheese β€” which can affect flavor and texture. To store your cheese the best way, use cheese paper or parchment paper. Here's a a helpful guide from Food52 with more on how to package cheese to make it last as long as possible.

16. Once you open a canned good, don't leave any food in the can.

BuzzFeed

Once a tin can is opened, it should not be used as a food container anymore. Keeping food stored in it could alter the taste or even lead to health risks. So if you're not using the whole can, just transfer leftovers to another container and then store it in the fridge.

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17. Add a marshmallow to your dark-brown sugar to keep it soft.

James Ransom / food52.com

Dark-brown sugar is such a pain to store because it hardens as soon as you open the box. Two things help preserve it, though: 1) placing it in an airtight container so it doesn't dry up, and 2) putting a marshmallow in with it. The moisture will keep the sugar soft.

18. Reheat leftover pizza in a skillet β€” with a bit of water β€” for the best second-day slice.

thekitchn.com

The Kitchn tested several ways to reheat pizza β€” and the winning method was clear: Heat pizza in a cast-iron skillet, add a few drops of water, then turn the heat down and cover. You'll get crispy crust, steam-melted cheese, and a perfect second-day slice.

19. And lastly, save this handy leftovers cheat sheet β€” so you'll know exactly when to toss cooked or open items:

Tasty / Via tasty.co

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