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13 Surprising Storage Tricks to Help You Throw Away Less Food

Stop throwing away bruised fruit, egg yolks, reheated burgers, dried-out rice, hard-as-a-rock cookies, flat soda, and more with these surprising storage hacks.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
food storage

1. Keep Food Safe in the Fridge

Store cooked foods above uncooked meat in your fridge. This minimizes the risk of food poisoning caused by drips from uncooked meat and other foods. While you’re at it, wrap any food with strong odors and avoid storing it close to dairy foods, which can become easily tainted.

2. How to Save Egg Yolks

Yes, you can save the egg yolks if you just used only the whites for a recipe—at least for a day or two. If you have intact egg yolks, slide them into a bowl of water, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator. The water keeps oxygen away and you can still use them for a couple days. 

3. Why Do Reheated Burgers Taste Bad?

Even noticed a weird “off” taste when you reheat leftover hamburgers? That’s because when you refrigerate cooked beef, its fat oxidizes quickly, which will often give day-old burgers an “off” taste. That’s why it’s better to just refrigerate or freeze the uncooked patties—or try this method from Real Simple that makes it easier to break off frozen chunks of ground beef from a larger mass. If you can’t avoid cooking tomorrow’s burgers today, discourage fat oxidization in the ground beef by not adding any salt to the burgers until after you’ve reheated them. That weird taste won’t be as prevalent.

4. Keep Cookies Fresh and Chewy

To keep your cookies tasting chewy until the last one is eaten, add a slice of white bread to the cookie jar before you put the lid on. This will provide just enough moisture to keep the cookies from becoming hard. If crisp cookies are what you’re after, skip the bread and simply affix the jar loosely. This allows air to circulate and evaporates any moisture.

5. How to Keep Leftover Cake Moist

If you have leftover cake, you have more self-control than we do! One of the best methods of keeping the insides of a cake from drying out is to place a piece of fresh white bread next to the exposed surface. The bread can be affixed with a toothpick or a short piece of dry spaghetti.

6. Keep Your Cheeses Lasting Longer

Before you store semi-hard cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss, or Gruyère, rub the cut edges with a little bit of butter. You’ll never notice the taste difference, and the cheese will be less likely to dry out or become moldy.

7. Leftover Rice, Longer

Rice can be stored in fridge for a longer amount of time if you store a slice of toast on top of it. The toast will absorb excess moisture and keep the rice fluffy and fresh.

8. Keeping Bread Fresh

As for bread itself? We recommend freezing bread but if you keep it in the fridge, add a stalk of celery. This old wives’ tale actually works by keeping the bread moist in the atmosphere of the refrigerator.

9. Saving Wine

Wondering what to do with leftover wine (besides drinking it, of course)? Keep it fresh by putting whatever is left in a small container such as a jam jar. This limits the amount of air the wine is put in contact with, keeping it fresh. Incidentally, that is the same thing those expensive “wine vacuum sealers” do! Or, freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays to use in sauces and on hot summer days.

 

10. Easy Trick to Keep Soda Fizzy

To make the bubbles in your soda last longer, decrease the amount of air that the carbon dioxide (which causes the fizz) has to escape into. This is easily accomplished by squeezing in the sides of the bottle after you pour a glass. Or, pour it into a smaller container like a mason jar with a lid to limit the amount of air.

11. Hooray for Puree

Fruit or veggies about to go bad? Give them a second life by cutting off any bruised or bad spots, then pureeing and freezing or refrigerating. (Do fruits and vegetables separately.) Pureed fruit works great in muffin recipes or mixed into ice cream, while pureed veggies add nutrients to pasta sauce, stews, and casseroles.

12. Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Got lots of leftover cranberry sauce after your Holiday feast? Luckily, there’s plenty you can do with this tasty side! Combine it with chili sauce and a bit of ground red pepper for a sweet-and-spicy topping on sausages or meatballs. Or mix it into barbecue sauce for a delicious steak marinade.

13. Easy Way to Dry Herbs

Don’t throw away fresh herbs if you’ve got more on hand than you need. Just rinse the leaves, air dry, and place (on a single layer) on a plate with a paper towel. Then microwave them in 30-second intervals until they’re crunchy (which can take up to four minutes). If you store them in an airtight container, they’ll last for a year!

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About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.

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