Here's a healthy, money-saving New Year's resolution: Stretch your budget by helping fresh food stay fresh longer.
This list of savvy storage strategies comes from one of last year's most popular food posts on Buzzfeed.com. The original post, compiled from several sources, is long - 27 useful, inventive tips - but here are some of our favorites.
1. Onions hung in panty hose will last eight months. Don't refrigerate onions. Use this method, which keeps them cool and dry, and they will last for months. Cut off the legs from a pair of clean panty hose. Put an onion in the foot, tie a knot, and continue adding onions, tying a knot between each one until the legs are full. Hang in a cool, dry place.
2. Wash fresh berries in a diluted vinegar solution to help them last longer. Cook's Illustrated also recommends this technique. A little vinegar kills bacteria and keeps those expensive fresh berries mold-free for longer. Wash the berries in 3 cups water plus 1 cup vinegar and spin them in a salad spinner lined with paper towels until the fruit is completely dry. Store the cleaned berries in a sealable container lined with paper towels, leaving the lid open a little to allow moisture to escape. Raspberries will last a week or more; strawberries, up to two weeks.
3. Spray leftover guacamole with nonstick cooking spray to keep it from turning brown. The oil forms a protective barrier against the air. This trick also works on half an avocado.
4. Store potatoes with an apple to keep the spuds from sprouting. Bags of potatoes stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place will keep for about three weeks before softening and sprouting, but a single apple in each bag will prevent the spuds firm and sprout-free for two months. Don't believe it? It was tested by Taste of Home.
5. Add a dab of butter to the cut side of cheese to keep it from drying out, recommends TheDailyMeal.com. And don't wrap cheese in plastic wrap, which cuts off air circulation and affects flavor, says theKitchn.com. Instead, wrap cheese in waxed paper, then put it in a plastic food-storage bag to keep it from drying out, yet still allowing some needed air.
6. Preserve fresh herbs by freezing them in olive oil. This not only preserves herbs' wonderful flavor, but freezing chopped herbs in an ice cube tray filled with olive oil creates little herby cubes all ready to add to winter stews, roasts, soups and potato dishes. TheKitchn.com has photos showing you exactly how to do it. This works best with hard, tough herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano - though not delicate, soft ones like dill and basil.
Have some clever food-storage methods you use to reduce spoilage or waste? Add them below in the comments section.
Photo: Alexandre Dulaunoy /flickr