Cleaned out the fridge, lately? It’s easy to take the “Toss it all!” approach, but you could preserve tasty food and precious money if you take the time to stand back and analyze the goods (and the bads!)
Certain products seem as if they could last indefinitely, and some of them practically do! For example, honey is one food item with an indefinite shelf life. If your honey forms crystals, pop the portion you wish to use in the microwave. This smoothly melts irregular crystal formations and transforms your honey to its flawless original state. Real Simple compiled a list of expiration dates for foods such as ketchup, olives, and marshmallows. However, I honestly consider this list a little on the conservative side. It probably appeals more to subtle flavor than functional value.
Other foods are even less cut and dry – their shelf life depends on how you care for them. Tomatoes, apples, and bananas are ripened with ethylene – yes, even the organic ones. This is because ethylene is a naturally occurring ripening agent that the fruit releases during reproduction. When bananas arrive in stores, they are still surrounded by plastic filled with ethylene (per photo) and must be aired out immediately to prevent over-ripening. Furthermore, produce stored in the vicinity of bananas tends to ripen faster.
With that said, the key to reducing waste is to buy only the amount you will eat in the next three days at the most. Secondly, products such as The E.G.G. (Ethylene Gas Guard) soak up excess ethylene from your refrigerator – preventing your veggies from going bad so quickly. Also, Evert-Fresh Green Bags work to reduce ethylene and contain your veggies so they last for three to five times longer. Already have rotten stuff? Check out howtocompost.org to make your own rich fertilizer.