61ºF

How to store your food the right way and save money


The average person doesn't eat 20 percent of the food they purchase. Most of it spoils before they have a chance to eat it. It adds up to about $2,200 in food waste per household every year.

Food spoilage happens when there is a change in the food’s normal state, such as changes in oxygen, moisture, light, microbial growth and temperature. You can tell when food is spoiled by smell, taste, touch or sight.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. wastes more than $160 billion in food every year. So how can you cut waste and keep your food fresh longer? Below are some tips.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says dairy products account for the largest share of food waste at about $91 billion a year.

Unopened butter can last about four months in the fridge, but if stored in the freezer it can stay good for about a year. Because of oxidation, butter that is lighter on the inside than it is on the outside is no longer fresh.

Wrap your cheese in porous material like cheese paper or parchment paper. Cheese is living and needs oxygen to stay alive to taste its best. Avoid tinfoil and plastic wrap, as these items suffocate the cheese and accelerate spoilage.

Another tip, keep your whole wheat flour chilled. High oils in the wheat germ can make it go bad if kept in the pantry for too long. Try storing it in an airtight container in the fridge where it can last two to six months.

You can make your mayonnaise last two to three months past the purchase date by storing it in the fridge door. In the inner part of the fridge, it can get too cold, causing it to separate and leave oil at the top of the jar.

Red spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, and chili powder should be stored in the fridge. This not only allows them to stay fresh longer, but it helps keep their bright red color. 

Once opened, olive oil can go bad in as little as three months, even if the bottle says longer. Fresh olive oil smells like green, ripe olives and has a bright, peppery taste. If it smells like crayons or putty, this means it has gone bad.

Contributors to this news report include: Katie Campbell, Producer; Jamison Koczan, Videographer and Editor.