Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - Summer 2012
|Cut your food costs and help save the planet.|
The USDA estimates that Americans throw out about 27 percent of their food each year. The energy needed to produce that food could send the average car on a 250-billion-mile road trip. By adopting a few simple strategies, you can lower your food costs. Just as important, you can reduce your household's impact on landfills and help cut our nation's dependence on fossil fuels.
Use these tips from Publix and Marisa Moore, M.B.A., R.D., an Atlanta-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to make the most of the money you spend on food.
- Most dairy products have a shelf life of about two weeks. If you can't use up a whole gallon of milk in that time, buy a half gallon, even though per ounce it's a bit more expensive.
- Store cheese in the meat (or cheese) drawer in your refrigerator. Unopened block cheese will last up to six months, or three to four weeks opened. Keep opened cheese wrapped in waxed or parchment paper, then covered loosely in plastic wrap or a plastic bag so it isn't exposed to moisture. Reseal shredded cheese in its pouch after opening to keep for up to a month.
- Some block cheeses can be frozen. Cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss will keep up to six months. Shredded cheeses can be frozen for as long as three to four months. Note: Frozen and thawed cheeses change texture, becoming grainy or crumbly, and are best used for cooking.
- Choose the freshest-looking produce you can find and keep it in your refrigerator's crisper.
- Have a menu plan to help you use fresh produce within three to five days.
- Delicate fruits like strawberries and raspberries spoil quickly, so don't wash them until you're ready to eat them.
- Don't store delicate veggies like spinach and fresh herbs in plastic bags or containers. Wrap them in a damp paper towel, which will keep them hydrated but not soaking wet. Store bagged greens in their original package.
- Whole melons—cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew—will keep longer than precut portions, so buy precut only when you know you'll use it within a day or two.
- Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh and will keep for months. Their biggest pluses: You can take out only what you need for a meal, and they're available year-round.
|Storing Meat and Protein|
- Whole cuts of meat last longer than ground. If you can't use what you've bought within a few days, divide it into appropriate portions, wrap securely and store in the freezer. Thaw frozen meat in its wrapping overnight in the fridge. Never thaw meat on the counter at room temperature—that can breed harmful bacteria.
- Eggs have a sell-by date on the carton, but after purchase, they'll generally last three to five weeks in the refrigerator as long as they haven't been broken or mishandled.
Storing Fats and Oils
- An opened container of oil should last one to three months on the pantry shelf or up to four months in the fridge. To avoid waste, buy amounts you can use in a reasonable time.
- Butter will last one to three months in the fridge or up to nine months in the freezer.
Smart Food Savers
- Freeze leftover broth and cooked vegetables to use in your favorite soup recipes.
- Jump online to find recipes that call for your leftovers, especially little-used condiments and ingredients like tahini. Also look for dishes you can make and freeze.
Serving Size Sense
One key to reducing food waste is preparing only what your family can realistically consume. Check recipes and food packages to determine appropriate serving sizes. While you can adjust those to suit family appetites, resist the urge to prepare more than you really need unless you plan to freeze the rest for a future meal. A bonus: You also may discover that sticking to standard serving sizes makes it easier to maintain a healthful diet. If you do have leftovers, scout recipes
to put them to good use.Can I Still Eat This?
Forget the sniff test. Visit your neighborhood Publix and pick up a free copy of Publix's brochure, Food Storage and Handling
. This comprehensive guide includes safe storage times for more than a hundred foods. Also read our online Food Safety tips