Proper Food Storage Saves Money

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Published on: May 14, 2013

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You have started clipping coupons and have managed to significantly trim your grocery bill. You’ve found ways to save on healthy and nutritious foods, for your whole family. You have even found ways to make healthy foods palatable to even the fussiest of eaters.

So don’t undermine all of your hard work with poor food storage.  It may seem like a no-brainer: frozen food goes in the freezer, cold foods go to cold storage, and everything else goes into the cupboards or pantry.

But did you know that the inside of the refrigerator has warm spots? Or that storing cheese in plastic is not the best idea?

Every day we make seemingly minor food storage mistakes that can lead to faster spoilage and greater waste. And, in the worst case scenario, it can jeopardize food safety.

Keep meats, fish, and poultry in the original packaging, whenever possible. Transferring these items from container to another increases the risk of bacterial contamination, or cross contamination.  However, you can put the unopened meat package inside a sealed plastic bag to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods, or onto the refrigerator shelves.

If food does drip into the refrigerator, clean it up immediately to prevent cross contamination.

If you absolutely must transfer meats to another container, like for freezing smaller portions, transfer them as quickly as possible and freeze them immediately.

If you have to transfer different meats, work with one meat at a time and wipe down surfaces to prevent cross contamination.

Keep soft dairy products, like yogurt, milk or cottage cheese, in their original containers. If you transfer a portion to a serving container, do not return the unused portion to the original package. Either wrap the serving container in plastic or throw the unused portion away.

Keep hard cheeses in the original container until you use them, then wrap them in wax paper before putting them inside a plastic bag. If you are storing the cheese for more than a few days, consider storing it in wax paper only. The wax paper will protect the cheese from exposure to air, which can dry it out; but prevent excess moisture, which can cause mold growth.

Do not wash produce until you intend to use it. Washing can leave moisture on the product, causing faster spoilage when it’s stored in the refrigerator.

Store leftovers and used food in air-tight containers and label them with the date that you packaged them.

The door, and the area near the light are the warmest parts of the refrigerator. Only use these areas to store items that do not need to be kept at a more constant temperature.

Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation. And allow hot foods to cool inside the refrigerator, not on the counter top.

Periodically clean your refrigerator and pay close attention to the rubber gasket around the door. That gasket is what creates the seal and keeps your food fresh. Dirt on the gasket can disrupt the seal.

Do not overfill your refrigerator. The cold air needs room to circulate to be most effective.   Conversely, keeping your freezer full will actually help it run more efficiently.

Only use your refrigerator freezer for short-term storage – foods that you plan to use within the month. Use a separate freezer for long-term storage, and open it as little as possible to maintain the interior temperature.

The fact is, there are more ways to protect your food investment than can be listed here. But agencies like the UK Food Standards Agency and the US Department of Health and Human Services, both offer a wealth of food safety information for you and your family.

Pest-Proofing Your Pantry

Categories: guest post, pests
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Published on: May 10, 2013

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Nobody wants to see nasty little insects skittering around their cooking and baking supplies. The very idea is enough to make throwing all those valuable food ingredients away seem like a good thing, although that action would certainly be expensive. A better idea is to repel insects and other pests away from every part of your home and your food storage and prep areas are the best places to begin.

Cockroaches are the most disgusting bug you may encounter in your home. They are also the most difficult to get rid of, so it pays to be fastidious when it comes to preventing their entry. Avoid purchasing anything from a resale store or a yard sale since a cockroach may hitch a ride inside if you do. The nasty critters can also hide in the paper bag used to pack your groceries, so check for them when you unpack at home. Roaches are most common in warmer climates, so you are not likely to have them if you live in a northern area with freezing winters.

It is very important to keep all food areas clean with no crumbs or food waste to attract them. You may have resident roaches without knowing it because they rarely show up during daylight hours. If you do see one, it is highly likely that you have a serious infestation. Cockroaches have developed a resistance to insecticides so your best defense may be sticky traps and gel baits. Since Boric acid is toxic to them, dust it in the areas they are most likely to travel.

There are many other beetles and moths of various sizes that will enjoy feasting on your foodstuffs if you do not take proper precautions to prevent it. Storing items such as cereal, flour, dried fruits, rice, nuts and even dog food in containers that can be tightly sealed is important. Large glass jars with lids that seal tightly are best for food storage, but plastic tubs that can be sealed tightly also work well.

Some people report they have eliminated insect problems by storing these items in the freezer. This not only prevents pests from getting into the bags and boxes, but it also kills any weevils or bug eggs that are already in the packages. This prevents any bugs that are present from infesting adjacent containers. Of course, make sure to inspect the contents before using the product and dispose of anything that is contaminated.    And of course, if the above methods don’t work, there is always the option to call an exterminator.

Tips for Buying Organic Food on the Cheap

Categories: cheap, organic food
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Published on: May 8, 2013

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Many people love buying organic food, but the high price tag usually stops them from doing so. However, with a bit of planning, you can enjoy healthy organic foods without going overboard on your food budget. In the following article we look into a few tips for buying organic food without breaking the bank.

Do Your Homework

By doing some research, you will come to realize that you have many choices with organic foods within your community. You just have to look in the right direction. When starting out, begin your research by looking into organic organizations and associations within your state.

Join a Co-op

A food cooperative is a member-owned business that makes groceries along with other products available at a cheaper price to its members. Most of the products that you find in co-ops are organic since a great percentage of their produce is generated from “local family farms”. Is it easy to join a co-op? Absolutely. All you need to do is sign up, usually pay a fee and you’re ready to go. As a co-op member, if you volunteer to work then you might be eligible for some additional discounts on any product you buy.

Buy in Bulk

Regardless of where you’re shopping – whether it’s at the supermarket or at an organic foods store, buying foods in bulk is a nice way to stay on the budget while getting what you want. For example, go straight to their respective bulk containers when buying: nuts, lentils, grains and beans. However, make sure that your kitchen has a cool and dry storage place so that the dry foods can be stored comfortably for a few months. Don’t forget to do the math before you buy anything in bulk – it can get expensive constantly buying in bulk.

Grow Your Own

Are you serious about using organic food on a regular basis? If yes, then plant on your own organic food! It’s not rocket science to grow your organic food. You’ll find that the seeds can bought from your neighborhood health food store or even from the local “seed-saver” community. You don’t have to start big. Begin small since radishes, carrots and beets are fairly simple to grow. If not these, then sprouts and green onions work great too, as they can be easily grown in your windowsill.

Shop Online

It’s okay if you cannot find a good local source for the kind organic food that you’re looking for. You can always get on the Internet and shop for it online. If you can buy common medicines on the Internet from places like the online canadian pharmacy, then why not organic food? In fact, you may be able to find even better variety on the web when it comes organic foods.With just a bit of research you’ll be able to find affordable organic foods that let you shop within your food budget. Remember, as long as you’re shopping wisely, you’re on the right track.

Tablespoon vs. Teaspoon

Categories: tablespoon, teaspoon
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Published on: December 30, 2012

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A tablespoon and a teaspoon are both units of measurement used commonly in cooking.

A tablespoon is the larger of the two with 3 teaspoons being contained in a single tablespoon is commonly abbreviated in recipes as TBS.

A teaspoon is the smaller unit of measure and it is commonly abbreviated in recipes as tsp.

Mini cinnamon rolls from crescent rolls

Categories: cinnamon rolls, dessert, recipe
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Published on: December 22, 2012

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There was a bit of a sale on Pillsbury crescent rolls and we had to get through some of the tubes of dough before they went bad so I put together this recipe

 

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Mini cinnamon rolls from crescent rolls
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Unroll crescent rolls and apply thin layer of melted butter
  3. Sprinkle on sugars and cinnamon evenly across butter.
  4. Divide into 4 rectangular pieces (natural existing lines)
  5. Roll each segment (widest end) into a roll
  6. Use kitchen shears to cut rolls about ½ inch and add to cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 7-8 minutes or just until golden.
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