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Don't Make These Grocery Mistakes

Without even realizing it, you could be making some common mistakes that dramatically shorten the lifespan of the groceries you bring home each week.

Everyone has a system they've devised that works for them, but there are always tweaks we can keep in mind to make things run even more smoothly. When it comes to groceries, I'm confident you're on board with making them last as long as possible and lessening any food waste in your home.

Here are some helpful storage hacks to prolong the life of the items you buy:

Mistake #1: Putting warm food in the fridge.

You might be putting away some leftover soup from the dinner you made, or you could be prepping for the week ahead. Keep in mind that food needs to be at room temperature before popping the lid on it and tossing it into the cold. By adding hot food to the cold environment, you could potentially bring down the overall temperature of your refrigerator, putting your other items at risk.

Mistake #2: Storing nuts on the counter.

You may be tempted to use storage containers like Mason Jars to store your nuts. They're great for organization and look nice, but they do no favors to the nuts you're storing. Nuts stored at room temperature can actually go bad more quickly. They have high levels of unsaturated fat, which can lead to a rancid taste when exposed to light and warmer temperatures. Storing nuts in the fridge or freezer will keep them safe and delicious for much longer--even up to a year in some cases.

Mistake #3: Washing produce too soon.

If you're a meal prepper, you may be used to shopping, unpacking, washing, and storing all of the produce in one afternoon. In some cases, washing the produce as soon as you buy it can cause it to go bad more quickly. The added moisture, paired with airtight containers, can be a breeding ground for mold and decay. Instead, wash right before using, even if you have already pre-cut and stored your produce for meal prep purposes. And in the case you need it to wash ahead of time for convenience, try using a salad spinner to wick out any extra moisture before storing your produce.

Mistake #4: Storing onions and potatoes together.

When you store onions and potatoes in the same place, even a cool and dark spot, you may notice the potatoes don't last as long. Onions emit a gas that causes potatoes to sprout—and then rot—faster than they would if stored further apart.

Mistake #5: Refrigerating your bread.

Keeping bread in the cold may seem like a smart way to prolong its life, but this is actually the opposite. The cold causes the bread's starch molecules to crystallize, which leads to dehydration. This process, called retrogradation, makes bread go stale quickly. Instead, keep the bread in a cool pantry or even in the freezer since these temps don't allow the retrogradation process to take place.

These tips and tricks will not only keep food from spoiling as quickly, but it will ultimately have your meals tasting better, too.

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