Friday, April 24, 2009

Under the Kitchen Sink

We all have that habit of storing harmful chemical underneath the kitchen sink. I think we do it because it's how we grew up and it's the space that doesn't quite have full storage capabilities. This is the one area in the kitchen missed during spring cleaning. Remember to go through all of the old bottles and chemicals to see if the product is still good. Also ensure of correct disposal of those items. Harmful chemicals shouldn't be poured down the drain or dumped in the garbage. Check with your local waste management on proper disposal.
Once you've cleared out the cabinet, invest in an expensive storage container, similiar to the one linked. It's a great way to store your product and easy to pull out when you need something. Happy Cleaning.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Here is part two - storing vegetables.

Remember the key is to buy what you would use within a week to ensure minimal waste. Plus vegetables tend to be picked days if not weeks prior to them hitting store shelves.

Asparagus - Keep the rubber band around the spears and use an old Mason jar with a couple tablespoons of water on the bottom. This will be easy to keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Preference is to use the spears within a week.

Basil - Keep at room temperature for 5 days, placing them in a juice glass similar to having fresh cut flowers. Basil can also be used as a decorative element to a kitchen window or counter with the vibrant green leaves.

Beets - I like to keep in a brown paper bag in the crisper part of the refrigerator for about a 1 week.

Broccoli - Dampen a paper towel and wrap around the root and place in the crisper for 2 weeks. Suggested that it be used within a week to capture the ideal freshness.

Brussels sprouts - Take a square plastic container, dampen a paper towel to line the bottom and place the sprouts on top, the brussels sprouts could last up to a month but prefer to use within 2 weeks.

Carrots - Skip buying the huge bag of pre-cut and trimmed carrots and instead choose fresh carrots with the stems attached. These can be left on the counter for a couple of days or trim them and place in a open container for 2 weeks. Again stressing that freshness escapes after 2 weeks.

Corn - Leave in the husk and place in a basket in a darker part of the kitchen or place in the fridge for 5 days. Remember that frozen corn is also a great alternative if your using it for soup, stew or just a simple side dish.

Cucumbers - Leave in the plastic bag from the store but remember to cut holes in order to allow air flow. Store in the warmer part of the fridge. There is nothing like a cool cucumber for a refreshing snack.

Lettuce - Keep in a lettuce crisper for about a week.

Onions - If you have the option, store in a drawer or cabinet at room temperature. Some say they last up to a month, but I like to use them within a week.

Peppers - Keep in a cool part of the kitchen or in the warmest part of the refrigerator in order to avoid the pitting on the skin.

Potatoes - Like onion, keep away from light and in a cooler part of the kitchen. Do not refrigerate.

Tomatoes - Always keep tomatoes out of the refrigerator! Keep in a decorative bowl on the kitchen counter but away from apples and onions.

Hope some of these tips help save you money and enjoy the vegetables at their peak!

Friday, April 10, 2009

How long should I keep that?

There was a time when going to the grocery store on a daily basis was common. You would only buy the necessities for that day or two. Now visits to the grocery store are more spread out and with the trend to bulk buy it's important to know just how long cereal or bread really should last. Remember, don't stock pile unless you know your going to use the goods in the next 6 - 12 weeks. More money is wasted today than ever before because of incorrect storage or over buying. Don't get sucked into buying that 25 pounds of flour because it's so cheap unless your a baker and skip the 3 large bottles of mustard unless your having a family reunion. Be smart with your purchases and you will end up saving money in the long run.
Here are some tips on food storage.

Bread - 14 days - Refrigerator, 2-3 months - Freezer
Flour - 1 Year - Pantry
Pasta - 2 Years
Pies - 3 days - Refrigerator, 4 months - Freezer
Waffles - 4 days - Refrigerator, 1 month - Freezer
Crackers - 3 months - Pantry
Soup Mixes - 1 year - Pantry (I just found one in my pantry from 2005!)
Coffee - 2 weeks - Pantry, 2 months - Refrigerator
Honey - 1 Year - Pantry
Mayonnaise - 2 Months - Pantry, 2 Months - Refrigerator (opened)
Nuts - 4 months - Pantry
Peanut Butter - 6 months (unopened), 3 Months (opened) - Pantry
Brown Sugar - 4 Months
Tea Bags - 18 Month - Pantry

Look for the upcoming article when we dive into Vegetables and Fruits!