It’s probably not a huge secret around here that I absolutely hate waste of any kind, but I abhor food waste. Food waste just seems to be the worst kind of waste to me. It is a waste of food that could feed your family – or someone else’s – and it’s a waste of the money you spent to purchase it. Shelf stable foods are fairly easy to keep from going to waste, but do you know how to keep fresh food from spoiling?
On any given day, the US alone wastes an average of 1 pound of food, per person, per day. It comes out to around 150,000 tons of food going into the trash; every single day.
That’s a lot of wasted food and wasted money ya’ll. Most of that waste is fresh food – fruits and veggies – and did not have to happen.
How to Keep Fresh Food from Spoiling
With things being so uncertain these days, it has never been more important to learn how to keep fresh food from spoiling and to learn how to reduce food waste. The harsh truth that we’re all learning right now is that what is in the grocery stores today may not be there tomorrow.
Learning how to keep food from going bad can seem overwhelming at first; especially if you’ve been dealing with food waste for a while.
I know personally I tried a bunch of different things to keep my own fresh food from spoiling before I was finally successful. It was nerve wracking and saddening for me to watch all that food go into the compost pile to say the least.
Ultimately, it was this fight to keep food from going to waste that led to my family working to reduce waste as much as possible and to replacing as many disposable items with reusable ones as possible.
Ways to Keep Fresh Food From Spoiling
There are a lot of ways to keep fresh food from spoiling. Some of them will require you to preserve your food.
Others simply rely on how you’re storing that food.
For the most part though, they are all fairly easy, but they do require work on your part. Some may even require that you learn a new skill.
That’s okay though; living a truly frugal life requires that you learn new skills sometimes.
How to Keep Fresh Food from Going Bad
Unfortunately, the methods below, do not all use supplies that every one is automatically going to have in their kitchen.
This may mean you will need to purchase something in order to use that particular method. These supplies could be anywhere from Must Have Canning Supplies like THESE to simple Freezer Cooking Supplies like THESE.
If this is true for your family, weigh the costs of the item versus the amount of money that product will save you over time. Chances are the purchase is well worth it and will ultimately save your family money in the long run.
Freeze Foods to Keep them From Spoiling
One of the simplest and most well known ways to keep food from spoiling is to freeze it.
The number of foods that you can freeze makes this one well worth it; especially if you have a deep freezer that you can use to help build a stock of those foods.
Be sure to do your research before simply tossing food into the freezer. Some won’t freeze well while others will need special preparation – such as blanching – in order to be frozen.
Learn How to Can Foods
Home canning foods is a time honored tradition that most of our ancestors knew how to do and did on a regular basis. Why? It’s a fantastic way to keep fresh food from spoiling.
To begin canning, you’ll need to pickup the must have canning supplies (like THESE).
Once you have the supplies you’ll need, take a look at learning the basics of canning.
After that, begin with canning water in order to teach yourself the processes. Once you’re comfortable, move onto preserving food.
Dehydrate Foods to Prevent Spoilage
Learning how to dehydrate foods is one of the easiest ways to keep food from going bad. For all intents and purposes, all you really need is a sharp kitchen knife or a mandolin slicer and a good, quality food dehydrator.
Foods are preserved by removing all moisture from them. This leaves them dried out and brittle but preserved for months to come. Storing then in air tight food storage containers can help extend that shelf life.
To use, just rehydrate with water or eat them dry. Some fruits and veggies taste amazing dehydrated!
Learn How to Pickle Foods to Preserve Them
No, I don’t mean pickles per se although that is a great example of pickling foods to preserve them.
After all, pickles themselves are only cucumbers that have been through the pickling process.
To pickle something, you essential allow it to ferment in a brine made of salt and pickling spices. Once the process is complete, the item is shelf stable.
You can extend its shelf life by sealing with with a canner, but that isn’t necessary.
Waterglass Certain Foods to Prevent Them from Spoiling
I have never personally used this method, but some foods – such as eggs – can be preserved with a water bath in a method called Waterglassing.
From what I understand, the water is mixed with other ingredients to create a solution – usually using hydrated lime – that keeps the product fresh.
Youtube is full of tutorials on how to do this method of food preservation.
Side Note: When preserving eggs, I prefer to use THIS method of making eggs shelf stable. It is a lot simpler and leaves them shelf stable for up to 9 months.
Smoke Foods to Prevent Spoilage
Ever had great brisket or an amazing pulled pork sandwich? Chances are good the meat was smoked which gives it an amazing flavor.
But smoking meat can do a lot more than make meat taste amazing,. It can also help preserve it so it doesn’t spoil.
In fact, smoking meat for preservation has been done for thousands of years.
Again, buying a good smoker will help your meat get a better smoke and extend its shelf life.
Once you have your smoker, Youtube can teach you the smoking process.
Learn how to Salt Food to Prevent Spoilage
Salt is a preservative in addition to something our bodies need. This means you can use it to preserve meat.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because something is salted that it will taste salty. Yes, it can such as with bacon, but hams are often preserved with salt as well.
Depending on the method you used and how it is cooked, you should never taste the salt.
Make Sure You’re Storing Food Correctly
When it comes to fresh food such as fruits and veggies, proper storage will go along way to extending their freshness.
For instance, potatoes are best stored in a cool, dry and dark place.
By making sure your food is stored correctly, you prevent waste.
Plan a Menu to Prevent Food Waste
Menu planning not only helps you save money on groceries, but it also helps to prevent your fresh food from spoiling.
It gives you the knowledge of what you’re cooking and when so you can shop without worrying about buying too much of something and it going to waste.
Freezer Cook to Prevent Waste
This is one that I use quite often; especially with Steve being o nthe road so much.
Freezer cooking is not only a great time saver, but it also prevents waste. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally bought more than I intended to and have had to cook a freezer meal.
Keepin it real ya’ll.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of freezer cooking, it helps to have a freezer inventory of what you’ve cooked, so you can keep everything straight
Use a Root Cellar
The temperature underground most places is a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler than above ground. This makes a root cellar perfect for storing fresh fruits and vegetables.
While it is an older method of keeping food fresh, it is still used worldwide.
Why? Because it works.
Use Mylar Bags
For dry goods – such as beans, flour and oeven dehydrated foods, storing them in Mylar bags with an Oxgen absorber is a great way to keep them fresh.
HERE is a great tutorial on how to use mylar bags that also explains why it works for keeping food from spoiling.
Vacuum Seal Food to Keep it From Spoiling
Do you have a vacuum sealer such as a Foodsaver? If so, use it to prevent food from spoiling. It can be used for freezer food, in the fridge or in the pantry.
If you have never used a Foodsaver or you have issues with your vacuum sealed food losing its seal, head HERE for a tutorial I did.
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