Monday, July 25, 2011

Now what?

If you're like me, when you find a new hobby or interest, you dive in head first.  You get every book ever written about it, read every review and article available online, buy all the latest and greatest equipment and talk to everyone you know that has any connection to your latest passion.  You then promise yourself that you're going to dedicate yourself to your new found love until you've learned everything there is to know about it and mastered every skill.

I've done this many times... like when I wanted to learn Italian.  I had to go to the bookstore immediately to buy one of those programs that promises fluency in any language as long as you follow their plan.  I spent 2 hours looking at all of the options.  I finally chose one, brought it home, listened to the cd's for a week and never listened to them again.  Then there was the time that I was going to start my own business and had to buy 4 books on how to write a business plan.  I got half way through each book but never wrote a sentence of an actual business plan.

My most recent experience with this was when I started reading about nutrition.  I read about organic foods, super foods, foods that are anti-inflammatory, foods that contain anti-oxidants and everything in between.  The next time I went to Whole Foods and the Farmers Market, I bought every new food that I had read about or that sounded healthy, was grown locally or promised to provide me with much needed vitamins and minerals. 

Needless to say, we ended up with far more food in our fridge than we could possibly eat in a week.  I was just so excited about trying all of these new healthy foods that I repeated what I had done in the past whenever I had a new interest... I bought anything and everything related to it.  The difference with this situation is that food will spoil.  So, now what?

In order to avoid having to throw out all of this excess food, I had to find a way to store it until we were ready to eat it.  I came across this helpful list from Janice Revell (cofounder of in Fitness Magazine.

You can also save money and trips to the store with these tips and tricks from Rebecca DiLiberto’s Penny Saving Household Helper. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to keep food at its best.

1. Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables to rot.

2. To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags, in the freezer. When you need them, they’ll be easier to chop, and they’ll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan.

3. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta, or rice will help repel bugs.

4. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter or margarine on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard cheeses sealed in wax.

5. When radishes, celery, or carrots have lost their crunch, simply pop them in a bowl of iced water along with a slice of raw potato and watch the limp vegetables freshen up right before your eyes.

6. Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them – they spoil less quickly in a bunch.

7. Put rice in your saltshaker to stop the salt from hardening. The rice absorbs condensation that can cause clumps.

8. Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – you can store it in the freezer for up to six months. Pack the butter in an airtight container, so it doesn’t take on the flavor of whatever else you’re freezing.

9. In order to make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, place the container upside down in the fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil.

10. Believe it or not, honey is the only nonperishable food substance, so don’t get rid of the stuff if it crystallizes or becomes cloudy. Microwave on medium heat, in 30-second increments, to make honey clear again.

11. Prevent extra cooked pasta from hardening by stashing it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerating. When you’re ready to serve, throw the pasta in boiling water for a few seconds to heat and restore moisture.

12. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will stop it from hardening. But if you already have hardened sugar on your shelf, soften it by sealing in a bag with a slice of bread – or by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.

13. If you only need a few drops of lemon juice, avoid cutting the lemon in half – it will dry out quickly. Instead, puncture the fruit with a metal skewer and squeeze out exactly what you require.

14. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float. is a  great resource as well.  You just plug in the food you want to know about and it will give you tips on storage and tell you how long it will last in a variety of situations.

While I still think it's important to be curious and interested in new things... when it comes to food, it's best to be thoughtful and plan ahead because even though your Rosetta Stone Italian language CD's may last forever... your tomatoes won't.

~Have a Healthy Day~

1 comment:

  1. these are great tidbits of advice, especially for people living/cooking/eating alone!