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Food Storage Tips to Make Your Groceries Last

Frugal consumers are always looking for tips and tricks to help cut food costs and waste, and many of these come down to smart storage. Storing food properly allows budget-minded shoppers to buy items in bulk at a lower cost, for example. Keeping fresh produce in good condition for as long as possible is also a key to stretching food dollars and making fewer trips to the store — especially these days when we’re trying to spend more time at home and store more food than usual. These 50 food storage tips are designed to help consumers spend less and enjoy more.

Related: 10 Pantry and Freezer Staples Worth Buying in Bulk

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Many foods stay fresh longer when not stored in the original packaging. Keeping an assortment of sizes of food-grade plastic or glass containers (style and prices vary) provides an easy way to store all kinds of bulk food — from grains and flours to dehydrated meals and dried legumes, as well as spices and other powders.

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Freeze Food Scraps for Stock

Instead of throwing away the ends of onions, carrots, and celery, toss them in a freezer bag along with mushroom stems, stray garlic cloves, and herb stems. When the bag is full, use it to make a flavorful broth or stock from ingredients that otherwise would’ve wound up in the garbage.

Related: 10 Easy-to-Make Foods to Stop Buying at the Store

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Freeze Homemade Stock in Cubes

Having access to small amounts of homemade stock and broth can be a real timesaver. If stored in one big container, it’s difficult to add just a cup or a few tablespoons to a recipe. Instead, freeze stock in ice cube trays and store in plastic storage bags for easy use anytime, no matter how much or how little the recipe calls for.

Related: 10 Cheap and Easy Soup Recipes

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Freeze Leftovers for Future Meals

It may be tempting to throw the one remaining portion of casserole in the garbage after eating it for a few meals in a row, but that’s money in the trash. Freeze leftovers for later, when that same meal that seems boring now will make a tasty lunch.

Related: 15 Foods That Are Always Better As Leftovers

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Freeze Pre-Made Meals

Busy schedules often make the temptation of takeout or delivery too convenient to avoid. You can be one step ahead by making premade meals such as lasagna, chicken casserole, or rice and beans that just need a quick reheat in the oven. These convenient meals are much cheaper than prepared meals or dinner out.

Related: 21 Takeout Meals Made Cheaper at Home

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Know Which Fruits to Refrigerate or Store on the Counter

Certain fruits keep better in the fridge, while others do better at room temperature, and storing them properly reduces waste. Citrus, tomatoes, and avocados, for example, are better left unrefrigerated, but cucumbers, peppers, and carrots are better stored in the fridge. Certain foods such as apples and pears can handle either.

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Wrap Banana Stems in Plastic Wrap

Bananas tend to ripen fast and all at once. To slow the process, wrap the banana stem in plastic wrap. To slow it down even more, break the bananas apart and wrap each individual stem. This keeps the gas the stems give off from ripening the fruit too fast.

Related: 30 Cheap, Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start the Day Right

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Treat Herbs Like Fresh Flowers

The best way to store fresh herbs is in a tall glass or vase with water in the bottom for the roots to soak up. Place a plastic bag over the top, unsealed, and store in the fridge. Treating them like fresh flowers with new water each day will keep them healthy and vibrant for up to 10 days.

Related: Edibles Anywhere: 15 Foods to Grow in a Container Garden

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Divide Bulk Food Into Reasonable Portions

Buying bulk food can be a big money saver, although some of that savings can be squandered by improper storage. Divide bulk items into portions that maximize storage time without compromising freshness.

Related: 23 Items That Are Cheaper at Whole Foods

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