11 Proven Tips to Store Food and Cut Down On Waste

Jill Holtz

April 3, 2018

strawberry vinegar wash

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It’s a known fact that most households waste food, and wasted food is wasted money. So here 11 Proven Tips To Store Food And Cut Down On Waste:

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It is frustrating when you end up having to throw soggy salad leaves or unused meat from your fridge or larder. Here are some tips to help you store food and hopefully save some money.

Tips To Store Food And Cut Down On Waste

#1. How To Avoid Meat Freezer Burn

frozen meat

Freezer burn is when your meat gets encased in ice crystals and becomes inedible when defrosted. To avoid meat being ruined by freezer burn, create a DIY vacuum seal in your freezer bag using either the Water Trick or the Straw Trick. You’ll need a sealable freezer bag and either a straw or a bowl of water.

The Water Trick

Submerge the bag with your ingredients in water. The pressure from the liquid will push the air out of the bag and make the plastic fit to the shape of the items inside. Just ensure no water gets into the bag while you are submerging it, and dry the bag off before you put it in the freezer.

The Straw Trick

Press as much air as possible out of the bag by hand, then put a straw into the corner of the bag, seal the bag around it, suck out the air from the straw until the bag collapses around the meat. Then pull out the straw and finish sealing the bag.

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#2. How To Stop Berries Going Off In The Fridge

strawberry vinegar wash

Berries are our breakfast fruit of choice in our house and we go through a few packs of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries when they are in season. But it’s frustrating when the berries start to go off.

Before you put them in the fridge, make a bowl up with a solution of water and apple cider vinegar, 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water. Put the berries in the bowl and then rinse in a colander or sieve.

Pat the berries dry before putting them back into the container they came from, the containers usually have holes which help keep air circulating around the berries in your fridge. Some people recommend putting paper towels into the berry container first.

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#3. How To Stop Bread Going Stale and Mouldy

mouldy bread

To stop bread going stale and mouldy by putting a stick of celery into the bread bag. The bread absorbs the moisture from the celery which stops it drying out and going mouldy faster.

If you do end up with stale bread (but before it goes mouldy!) then whizz the bread slices in your blender or Nutribullet to make breadcrumbs and freeze them. They are great for adding to burgers or coating home made fish fingers or goujons.

A tip for your celery: wrapping your celery in aluminum or tin foil keeps it crisp and fresh and helps stop it from going soggy and limp.

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#4. How To Keep Cookies From Going Hard


Third world problems, I know, and some people like them hard to dunk in their tea, but here’s how to keep cookies from going hard, just add a slice of bread to your cookie jar or container.

The cookies will absorb moisture from the bread, keeping them soft longer. White bread is best, as it won’t transfer any flavour to the cookies.

You might also enjoy reading 8 Easy Cookie Recipes You Can Do With The Kids

#5. How To Stop Milk From Going Sour

milk bottles in fridge

The trick here is to add salt to your milk to stop it going off. Just add a pinch of salt to your milk container, the salt preserves the milk and keeps it from spoiling as quickly.

It’s also a good idea not to store it in the fridge door as that’s further away from the cold element.

But if your milk does end up souring, then don’t throw it away, here’s an easy recipe for some homemade soda bread, perfect for an after-school snack warm from the oven!


  • 450ml plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bread soda
  • 300-600 ml sour milk (or buttermilk)


  1. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the sour milk, start with 300ml and keep adding more if required.
  2. Use your hand like a claw and stir the mixture until it mixes together into a rough ball.
  3. Turn it out onto a floured surface and pat it into a round shape. Cut a cross into the top of your loaf and put it onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 mins at 250C / 480C then for a further 20-30 minutes at 200C / 390F. Check your loaf is done by tapping the bottom and if it sounds hollow it’s ready.
  5. Cool on a wire rack before serving. It’s best eaten that day but can be used next day.

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#6. How To Stop Bananas From Going Brown

brown bananas

Some people swear that putting bananas into the fridge keeps them from going brown. But this is a handy hack to stop bananas from going brown.

You wrap plastic e.g. the grocery bag the bananas came in around the stem of the bunch of bananas. The plastic prevents ethylene gas, which is naturally produced naturally in the ripening process, from reaching other parts of the bananas and ripening them.

You can also try wrapping each banana’s stem separately since bananas will ripen at different rates on the bunch. Just separate each banana and wrap plastic around its stem.

Of course, if you do end up with brown bananas, then try this recipe for Banana Cake to use them up.

#7. How To Keep Lettuce From Going Soggy In The Fridge

salad leaves

This must be one of the most common foods that people waste, throwing away half eaten bags of salad leaves when they’ve gone slimy. And salad leaves in bags cost more to start with than a head of lettuce so you’re throwing even more money away!

To keep your lettuce or salad leaves from going soggy, here are two methods:

  1. Wrapping the leaves in a tea towel before putting them back in the package.
  2. Or use a plastic container lined with paper towels; put in your salad leaves then add another paper towel layer on top. There’s a bit more room for the leaves to breathe than if they are squished in a bag.

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#8. How To Keep Your Cut Avocado From Going Brown

cut avocado

My brother gave me this tip – when you cut your avocado e.g. to use it for guacamole keep the stone with the avocado flesh, as the stone stops the avocado from going brown.

You can also brush avocado halves with lemon juice or olive oil, both of these keep a half-cut avocado protected from oxidation from the air.

Or an alternative method is to put a fresh slice of onion next to a cut avocado, the sulphur released by the onion stops the avocado from oxidising.

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#9. How To Keep Sugar From Drying Out

brown sugar jar

Stop your sugar from drying out and clumping by adding a marshmallow to your sugar container. The moisture in the marshmallow will stop the sugar from drying out and going hard.

You might also enjoy reading Using Weekly Meal Plans to Save Money

#10. How To Keep Lemons For Longer


Store lemons in the fridge in a plastic bag. Refrigerating them in a zippered plastic bag makes them last up to 4 times longer than if they are just out on the kitchen counter.

If you end up with lemon halves then either freeze the halves and use them later to make homemade lemonade or slice them and freeze the slices to pop into drinks.

#11. How To Stop Potatoes From Sprouting


Prevent your potatoes from sprouting by adding an apple to the potato bag – apples produce ethylene gas, which keeps potatoes fresher and firmer, and less likely to sprout.

Also removing your potatoes from plastic and putting them into a brown paper bag or potato cloth sack and storing them in the dark will keep them from going off and from sprouting longer.

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Over to you now. Have you tried any of these hacks to store food and keep it fresher for longer? What has worked for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

11 Proven Tips To Store Food And Cut Down On Waste

Like this? Share it with your network!

Like this? Share it with your network!

Published On: April 3rd, 2018 / Categories: Food and Recipes / Last Updated: January 13th, 2022 / Tags: , , , /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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