I am a prepper and therefore I don’t like seeing anything go to waste. One of the first things on my list I try not to waste is food. Food is already expensive. Natural disasters taking place more and more often make it even more expensive. This is why I always do my best to make the most of my food.
This means making sure I use all the food I have, as well as finding proper storing conditions for it. These are the hacks I’ve been using for the last couple of years. You may be familiarized with some of them, while others may come as a surprise.
Save cheese from drying out and getting moldy, by making your own brine. Into two cups of water dissolve two teaspoons of kosher salt. Stir until the salt dissolves.
Make sure the cheese is completely covered by the brine. If the cheese is already quite salty, you can submerge it in plain water. Store in a closed container in the fridge.
2. Store Garlic
Like those vampires it is reported to scare off, garlic hates light and moisture. To avoid moldy garlic, store it in a dry dark place at room temperature. A great way to do this is to place it in a paper bag punched with holes to keep air circulating. You can also store garlic in the cupboard on a wire-mesh basket. You can safely store garlic like this for up to 6 months.
Related: Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic
3. Keep Onions Fresh
Onions can be harvested and stored over the winter. They need to be kept dry and aerated. First, you need to cure them. Spread the onions out in a single layer in a warm airy spot. Once they are dry, trim the roots with scissors. Store dried onions in mesh bags. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is to place them in a clean pair of pantyhose and hang them handy for use.
4. Leftover Tomato Paste
If you have any leftover tomato paste, place it on a baking sheet. Depending on how much you use per meal, you can make a different number of portions. Then roll each portion as a candy, put all your “candies” in a Ziploc bag, and put it in the freezer. You will be able to use it for up to 5 months.
5. Bug-Free Dry Goods
Did you know that a bay leaf will deter insects from making your flour supply their home? Beetles, weevils, moths, cockroaches, ants, and flies do not like the smell of bay leaves. Place dried bay leaves in the containers of your dry goods. It works for flour, rice, and pasta. You can also tape fresh or dried bay leaves inside your cupboards and shelves.
6. Freeze Everything That Can Be Frozen
Fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs can all be frozen and used in the offseason.
Whether you have your own garden or you are buying more of these when in season, freezing them is an excellent way to save money and have fresh foods in the offseason. To freeze fresh herbs, chop and create green ice cubes. These can be popped into soups, stews, and sauces.
7. Wilted Herbs
Place your wilted herbs on a baking tray in the oven for a few minutes. Once they are done, place the herbs in a sealed jar and use them each time you need them.
8. Fresh for longer
Ginger, green onions, and radishes will keep longer and will stay fresh if stored in a sealed container, filled with water.
9. Keep your fruits fresh
Add 3 parts water to 1-part vinegar. Wash your berries in this mixture, dry them and then refrigerate. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries will last longer and won’t go moldy.
10. Fresh bread for longer
Put a celery stick inside your bag of bread. Your bread won’t get moldy for more than one week.
Put a pinch of table salt in your milk jug and store it in the freezer. The salt will stop your milk from getting spoiled.
By wrapping the stems of your bananas in a plastic wrap, they will brown much more slowly.
13. Green salad
Store your green salad in a kitchen towel. Put it in a closed container and store it in the freezer. The towel will absorb moisture and your salad will stay fresh for longer.
14. Smart Saucer
You can make a nutritious sauce for pasta with your blender or food processor. Freeze it and it’s ready when you need it. This is a great way to preserve extra tomatoes in season.
15. Try Your Hand at Dehydrating
Here’s another great idea! New dehydrators have several shelves. So, you can dehydrate several foods at once – as long as they have the same dehydration time. The secret’s in the preparation and knowing how long to dehydrate. Most foods can be dehydrated.
16. Get Creative with Appliances
Want to try drying before you purchase a dehydrator? Try these ideas: Use your oven as a dehydrator. Preheat the oven to 145 degrees. Fruits and veggies will turn out crisp and tasty. Dehydrate meat to make jerky at 150 degrees. Use parchment paper for fruit leather recipes.
Try six to eight hours or increase the temperature and dry a shorter time. Make use of your toaster oven as a dehydrator. Set your toaster oven to as low as it will go. Leave the door slightly ajar. Check often.
17. Use the Old Sun Dry Method
Sun-drying has been around for generations. It is time-consuming but easy and cost-effective. Set food in trays on parchment paper in the sun. This drying process can take several days. Cover with mesh to keep insects and flies away.
There are hundreds of ways to save small amounts and surprisingly large amounts of money with little effort. I hope this article gave you a few ideas.
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