As we all know, food prices continue to rise almost daily. Also since there has been so much flooding this spring especially in the states that most of our food is raised in I can’t see anything but higher prices for the foreseeable future.
So I thought to help us all save some money and to help everyone stop throwing out perfectly good foods, that I would offer up some tips for keeping food better, tricks for using a few stale items up, tips for renewing some foods after they get stale and bust some myths folks believe about certain foods that make them think they should throw away food that is completely fine to consume. So here we go.
What are the 12 Foods to Never Throw Away Again?
1. Cookies, chips, crackers, pretzels, cereal, bread crumbs or anything else like this that is a dry and should be crisp food.
When this type of food gets stale or if there is a lot of humidity they can lose their crispness. While none of these are very tasty without their crunch you do not have to throw them out. Just get a sheet pan out and spread the stale item in a single layer on the sheet pan and put in a 180 degree oven for around 15 minutes.
Check for crispness and if it isn’t crisp yet leave and check in 5 minute intervals until crispness has returned. Now not only did you not throw food out but you have perfectly crisp foods back in the cupboard. If you live in a humid climate and your oven has a pilot light you can use the oven almost like a cabinet for this type of food. That little pilot light will keep the humidity out of your foods. Just remember to remove the items before using the oven.
When you buy a chuck of Parmesan for a recipe don’t leave the remainder of the chunk in the fridge, chances are it will mold before you need it again and it will be thrown out.
Put your Parmesan chunk in a zip lock freezer bag and keep in in the freezer. When you need some you can just take it out and grate off the amount you need. It grates really well frozen and the grated thaws almost as fast as you grate it so you don’t have to wait to use it. This way you never need to throw away old Parmesan again.
Butter when kept n the fridge can pick up all sorts of odd flavors from the other foods that you have in there. The best way to keep butter is take one stick at a time out of the box for the fridge or your butter bell and keep the rest in a Freezer bag in the freezer.
The freezer bag will prevent the butter from picking up flavors in the freezer while keeping it perfectly fresh until you take it out of the freezer. If you are in a hurry for soft butter and your butter is frozen you can grate it right onto your toast or muffin and it should be soft as soon as you finish grating.
4. Old moldy cheese
Did you know that when cheese is being made the wheel is covered with mold? Yep cheese making is a moldy job lol. When it is time to cut the wheels up for packaging the mold is simply cut off and discarded.
This is the same mold you might find a little bit of sometimes on your block of cheddar or longhorn. If it hasn’t completely taken over the whole cheese and is only on the outside you can simply take a knife and pare off the mold and discard it. The cheese is then perfectly edible with not even any taste of mold. You can also moisten a paper towel or some cheese cloth with vinegar and wrap your cheese in it then put in a plastic zip bag to prevent mold in the first place.
I like to buy meat when it is on sale. When I see a good sale I stock up. If you do the same then you have probably gone to make some of it for dinner only to find that it has become freezer burned.
Back in the day folks and some butchers still do wrap their fresh meat in butchers paper for the freezer. When meat is wrapped this way it will keep in the freezer for most of a whole year. Butchers paper has wax on one side of it. It is also wrapped around and over the meat.
This makes a great air and light proof cover for the meat and is why it stays good for so long. Meat from the grocery store on the other hand is wrapped in a thin plastic that lets in both air and light.
There are 2 ways to protect your fresh meat in the freezer so you won’t have to throw anymore away. 1 you can take off the store packaging and wrap in butchers paper, don’t forget to write on the package what it is or the easier way and is what I do is to buy 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bags and just put the whole store bought package in the freezer bag and then into the freezer.
It is easier than unwrapping and re-wrapping and works well, my meat is still not freezer burned after a whole year.
When you buy ginger for a recipe, usually you will only be using a teaspoon or so. Ginger is not cheap and when you put the rest of that knob of ginger in the fridge it most likely will have shriveled by the time you need it again.
Instead of putting in the fridge. After you have used it for what you needed it for then go ahead and peel the rest of it and discard the peel. Store the ginger in a freezer bag. When you need ginger just grab a grater and grate how ever much you need. A spoon will work to peel the ginger, just use the spoon to scrape the peel off the ginger and this way you will never have to throw out ginger again.
7. Canned foods
Canned foods from the store have a sell by or use by date on them but you do not have to toss them on or after that date. This date is more for the stores benefit than yours, They can’t sell if after that date.
The foods in cans will be good for ages past that date. The only ones you would really need to not keep for a long time would be tomato based items because tomatoes are very acidic and can affect the inside of the cans after a long long time. Any other canned foods should be perfectly safe to eat .
If you keep your canned food in a cool dark place like on shelves in the basement these cans of food would be good indefinitely. If they are kept in your kitchen where is is light and warm then tomato based cans should be tossed after about a year and a half beyond the use by date and low acidic foods 5 years after the use by date.
This right here should keep lots of food out of land fills because I know a lot of people see the date and automatically throw it out. You do not need to do that. If however you have a can that has rusted or is bent and especially leaking, these should be thrown out regardless of the use by date.
8. Stale bread
Stale bread, especially French loaves make the perfect French toast. French bread doesn’t stay soft past a couple of days but you can use your bread knife to saw off 2 inch thick slices of hard French bread and use them to make the French toast.
This dry bread is perfect for soaking up that egg and milk and then as it fries in the buttered skillet something magical happens. The heat makes the liquids kind of steam the bread and it comes out super soft inside after you make the French toast.
You would swear that it was made with the freshest possible loaf. Another secret to great French toast if you are like me and add sugar to the egg and milk is to switch to brown sugar instead of white.
The brown makes it taste so much richer. All other stale bread you can tear into small pieces and lay on a pan and put in the oven at 180 to dry. then store in a zip lock bag to use for stuffing or break the pieces into bread crumbs. Spray the bread crumbs with non stick cooking spray and sprinkle with Italian seasonings then store your Italian bread crumbs in a glass jar until you need them.
When my milk starts getting close to the expiration date I try to use it to make pudding or a cream based soup.
If I don’t have the time or just don’t want to make these right then the milk goes into the freezer until I do have time or feel like making one of them. I hate to throw milk out and I know some folks can drink it after the freezer but the little flecks of milk fat that separate out are a turn off for me when drinking milk. So I use it like I said for cream of whatever soup or pudding. The little flacks don’t show in these and no milk get thrown out.
10. Sliced bread
When you do your weekly shopping or you find a sale on sliced bread and have more than you will need for a day or two.
Take your extra loaves of bread and open them. Add a paper napkin or half a paper towel to the loaf and then reseal the bag. These can now go into the freezer as is and when you need them they will thaw out and taste exactly as fresh as the day you put them in there.
When you freeze bread the moisture leaves the bread and then when you thaw it the moisture will either have disappeared or will be there but as soggy spots on the loaf of bread . The paper towel or napkin catches that moisture as the bread freezes and releases it slowly back into the bread as it thaws.
So your bread is not dry and it has no soggy wet spots. Its the perfect way to freeze bread that you will enjoy eating.
Sometimes you will see a potato that has some green on it. This happens to potatoes that are exposed to light, whether it was in the field where they grew or on the shelf at the store.
Yes even the store lights can cause it if the potatoes get enough of it. I know so many people that think a green potato is poisonous and automatically throw the whole potato away. While eating a lot of green potato might make you sick eating one green potato probably wouldn’t.
The thing is why throw out the whole potato to avoid a little green. The green is from the light and if one side is green that means the other side is not. Just peel and trim off the green and then use the rest of the potato. Only the green part is bad, it doesn’t hurt the rest of the potato.
I wonder how many eggs end up in the landfills and I can only imagine it is lots. People look at that expiration date and refuse to eat and egg from that carton after that date. Eggs can last a couple of months after that date.
While folks with backyard chickens have eggs that would last a lot longer than that. The eggs in the store have been washed so you should always keep store bought eggs in the fridge. Also the eggs you buy in the store are not super fresh.
It can take days for the eggs to get to that shelf. The best way to decide if your eggs are good to eat or not is the float test. Fill a bowl with cold water, put eggs a couple at a time into the bowl.
An egg that sinks to the bottom and lays on its side is still very fresh, if it sinks to the bottom and stands on end it is still fresh and fine to eat. If an egg floats it is not longer good to eat and then you should throw it out. Hopefully this tip will keep a lot of eggs out of the garbage.
Bonus Foods to Never Throw Away
NUTS. If you buy nuts for baking or candy making or even just for eating then you may know that after a while the oils in the nuts will go rancid.
While the nuts won’t hurt you if you eat them they really don’t taste good after they go rancid. Most folks throw them away at this point. If you put your nuts in zip lock freezer bags and then into the freezer they will stay good for months and months. I have never had nuts go rancid that I kept in the freezer. I love knowing this because around the holidays nuts are plentiful in all of the stores so I stock up on walnuts and pecans and put them in the freezer.
Any time I find a good sale on any nuts that we like I will buy and freeze. This way I can always get the best price since I know they are going to be fine in the freezer.
I hope some of these tips tricks and busted myths will help a lot of folks save a lot of good food all while saving some money by not having to buy more of something you just threw away.