Nothing good comes from wasting food, so it’s important to keep the food you have last as long as possible. Sometimes, all it takes is knowing how to store them properly. And it can oftentimes lead to something delicious — after all, sushi was invented as a way to keep fish edible for longer.
We at Enlighten love all things food so we’re sharing tips about which foods can have a longer shelf life if you know how to store them properly.
1. Berries: Wash and freeze them.
- Berries can add flavor to a lot of dishes and can make a great smoothie in a pinch, but they don’t last too long. One exception is frozen berries which can last around one year.
- When freezing berries, they should be cleaned in cool water and dried to avoid spoilage. Place them in plastic bags before putting them in the freezer.
2. Vegetables: Pickle them.
- Freezing isn’t the only way to preserve vegetables; pickling them is also a classic away to keep your food lasting longer than it would naturally. All kinds of vegetables can be pickled, most famously cucumbers, which are simply known as “pickles” that generally last around 2 years.
- However, no 2 vegetables are alike; pickled tomatoes can last up to a month.
- Just keep the veggies in a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt (and sometimes sugar for taste).
3. Carrots: Make them into chips.
- Carrots are a vegetable many people like to keep on hand for cooking, but there is a way to make them last longer. Cut carrots and dry them into chips. Once dehydrated, they can last up to 25 years.
4. Apples: Dehydrate them.
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- When it comes to fruit, apples can last especially long after they’ve been made into chips — over 20 years, to be exact.
- Slice the apples and cook them in a dehydrator. Keep them in sealed plastic bags or airtight jars and cans.
5. Nuts: Bag and freeze them.
- Many nuts are a good source of protein and they can be kept from going rancid for a long time. However, it’s important to keep them enclosed and in a freezer. Some can last for up to 2 years.
- Some nuts also keep better than others — almonds are known for lasting a long time.
6. Beans: Keep them in the can.
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- Beans are versatile; they can be a main dish, a topping, or a side. Keeping them in a can will help them last for 3 to five years.
- To can beans, boil them for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, and then soak them for an hour before draining them. Cover them with fresh water and boil them for 30 minutes. Add salt and place them in a jar with their cooking water, leaving about 1 inch of headspace.
7. Maple syrup: Freeze it.
- As long as you keep it frozen, maple syrup can be saved indefinitely. And while your first instinct might be to put them over some pancakes, there are plenty of uses for the stuff. Some people even make candy out of the syrup!
8. Fish: Buy it canned.
- Good-quality canned fish, like tuna, has a long shelf-life: some last for up to 3 years. That said, once you open the can, it needs to be eaten.
- Once opened, the fish only lasts a few days in the fridge and only a few months in the freezer.
9. Honey: Store it out of the sun.
- Honey can be eaten as is, whether it be as a sugar substitute or a remedy to calm a sore throat. Know that it can crystalize, and commercial honey usually has expiration dates, but the stuff on the shelf nearly lasts forever — honey has even been found intact inside Ancient Egyptian tombs. Just keep it in a cool container out of sunlight, preferably in the one you purchased it in.
10. Milk: Powder it.
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- Milk doesn’t usually last very long, even when kept cold, but there is a simple way to always keep dairy on hand: use powdered milk, which can last up to 25 years.
- While you can simply purchase powdered milk, there are a few ways to make it out of regular milk. You can put it inside an evaporator or dehydrator until it obtains a flaky texture, or you can blend or condense it until it becomes a fine powder and keep it in an air-sealed Mason jar.
11. Vinegar: Store it tightly.
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- Vinegar and honey might be polar opposites, as the old saying goes, but they have one thing in common: they can last indefinitely.
- While the vinegar won’t stop being safe to eat, if you want the best quality, keep it in a tightly sealed container away from heat or light, and use it within 2 years of opening.
What are some other ways you like to preserve food? Please share your methods with us in the comments!