I am notorious for NOT storing my food properly. In fact we have this game we made up called Jamba Ball that my son and I play in the back yard. I clean out the produce drawer of the fridge and take all of the spoiling fruits and vegies into the back yard. Then I pitch them one by one and my son smacks the living day lights out them with a wiffle ball bat. It's great fun to watch the food splatter in a million directions, and the rabbits are only too happy to clean up the mess. Why is it called Jamba Ball? Because our backyard smells like the inside of a Jamba Juice when we play this homemade game. Try it! OR... employ some of this tips and tricks and avoid it. Not as fun, perhaps, but much more economical.

  • When shopping at the store, buy cold foods last, let them stay refrigerated and frozen at the store for as long as possible.

  • Take a cooler or thermal bag into the store with you. If you leave it in the car while you're shopping, the air inside will heat up. You can pack it instead of grocery bags and possibly even get a bag credit.

  • Make sure to get those frozen and refrigerated items into your freezer or fridge within 2 hours. On a day when the temp is 90 degrees or more, make sure to have them in the freezer or fridge in 1 hour.

  • When storing leftovers, make sure you store them separately, even if they were from the same meal. Things spoil at different rates, so to be safe, store them separately.

  • Store milk in dark-colored containers. Light breaks down milk, and makes it spoil faster, it will last longer and taste better. Plus, the longer you have it out, the faster it spoils. Make it a habit to pour and immediately return it to the fridge.

  • Buy extra staple items when they are on sale and store them in your freezer. This works well with milk (in plastic bottles, not glass), butter, bread (and pizza, a staple in our house) but not so great for eggs, cheese or yogurt.

  • To store lettuce and spinach in the fridge, take them out of their store plastic, put them in a Ziploc bag with a dry paper towel. This will make them last a lot longer.

  • Potatoes, turnips, parsnips and onions should be stored in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. I keep them in one of those reusable shopping bags in the bottom of my pantry.

  • To freeze berries, lay them out individually on a cookie sheet, then freeze. Put the frozen berries in a storage container or freezer bag. This way they won't stick together and be mush when you thaw them out.

  • When you make pancakes or waffles, make extras! Don't cook them quite as long as you normally would. Put them in zipper bags in packs of two (or 3). Pop them into the toaster when you ready to reheat. Quick, easy, economical.

FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE has a great tool on their website which allows you to search any food and learn about its proper shelf life and storage. Click here.

This blog post was inspired by, and some of it came directly from, one of my favorite blogs, Grocery Shop For Free. I check it daily for freebies! Check it out. So far today she has a free photo mug from SnapFish, free portraits at JC Penny, and a free mocha at McDonalds.

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