The key to fresh taste is knowing how to store food safely and efficiently in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
Love Your LeftoversIn these economically challenging times, there's just no need to waste food. See how to safely store and save your leftovers to maintain both quality and optimal flavor.
- Brand X Pictures
Surprising Expiration DatesIf you'd like to know if that hidden-away bag of beans is past its prime, check out Real Simple's Surprising Expiration Dates guide.
You'll discover the shelf life for 77 of the most common foods and household products including:
• Beer: 4 months, unopened
• Canned ground coffee: 1 month refrigerated, opened
• Ketchup: 4 to 6 months, opened
Cookie Storage StrategiesWhile we understand the urge to polish off cookies in one sitting, there's just no need. Keep cookies at their best by using these simple Cookie Storage Strategies from Cooking Light.
One smart cookie: You can refrigerate or freeze most cookie dough, so you can bake a batch at a moment's notice. You do not need to thaw frozen cookie dough; just bake an additional minute or two.
Freezer FundamentalsMake the freezer your pantry's best friend by using these 27 tips from Real Simple. You'll learn how to wrap, store, and thaw your way to great-tasting frozen food.
Tip #2: Freeze and tenderize. Freeze marinated meats in a resealable plastic bag, then defrost in the refrigerator overnight. The meat will soak up the marinade as it thaws. This is great for tough cuts, which will tenderize in the freezer as well.
How Long Will It Keep?Save money by buying in bulk, then freeze the items that you won't be using right away. For example, snag the supermarket special on milk and freeze for 3 months. Bread will last even longer–3 to 6 months.
To see how long you can safely store a variety of foods in the freezer and still maintain quality, check out our Fill-Up-Your-Freezer Storage Guide.
Easy Freezer MealsIt's easy to save both time and money when you plan ahead. Economical and versatile, try cooking ground beef with onions and garlic, and freeze it to use as a base for other dishes. On cooking day, just heat the base and add other needed ingredients to create quick tacos, sloppy joes, or beef stroganoff.
See Easy Freezer Meals for more plan-ahead cooking strategies.
Pantry PointersTo maintain quality in your pantry, follow the rule of "First In, First Out", meaning that you use the oldest products first and the newest products later. It's best not to store foods near oven ranges, hot water pipes or heating ducts because heat and moisture can cause a food to lose its quality more rapidly. Store foods in tightly sealed glass, metal or rigid plastic containers to help keep out both moisture and insects. Pantry foods will probably be safe beyond recommended storage time, but the flavor, texture, and possibly the nutrient value will be reduced. Use our handy pantry checklist to stock up with essential items.