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Fuzzy blueberries, chunky milk and wilted lettuce—been there, done that. We’ve all suffered the consequences of improper food storage. Now more than ever, it’s important to make your food last in order to avoid the stress of empty store shelves and toilet paper battles. 

Make the most of your food and your health with these kitchen and storage tips. And, if you’re not sure what to eat tonight, we’ve got a recipe for that. Just keep scrolling to the end of this post.

Anthropologie Atacama Bowl

Make Your Groceries Last Longer

First, make sure your refrigerator is at the proper temperature and your in-fridge thermometer is working properly. Temperatures of 40 degrees fahrenheit or a couple degrees cooler is the ideal setting to prevent food-borne illness and keep your groceries in peak condition. 

How you store your food in the kitchen matters. Here are a few more tips for staying fresh:

  • Wrap greens in a paper towel to soak up excess moisture and prevent sliminess.
  • Keep grains and cereals in an air-tight container to avoid staleness and unwelcome bugs. 
  • Wash produce as needed before consumption rather than right away to prevent mold accumulation on overly damp produce.
  • To preserve freshness, keep dairy products at the back of the fridge where it’s coldest.
  • Wrap banana stems and tops in plastic wrap to prevent them from leaking ethylene gas which cases them—and other fruits—to ripen too quickly.
  • Keep meat on the bottom shelf or in a lipped pan to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Freeze what you don’t need yet!

The Benefits of Cooking at Home

Besides saving money on eating out, and because restaurants are closed anyway, cooking your food at home can save something else—your waistline. When cooking at home, we know where all of our ingredients come from and what goes into each dish we prepare. There are typically less oils and salt in homemade recipes, cutting down on excess fats, calories, and sodium. 

Preparing a home-cooked meal together is also a great way to reduce stress and connect with your family, partner, or roommates at the end of the day. Gathering around the kitchen table over a warm meal you’ve prepared with your own hands can be a satisfying comfort during these otherwise socially distant times.

Ready, set, summer.

Pantry Pasta Soup Recipe

Not sure what to eat for dinner tonight? Try this simple tortellini soup crafted from ingredients you’re sure to already have stocked up in your kitchen. Bon appetit! 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken stock (we prefer low sodium) 
  • One 9-ounce package cheese tortellini 
  • One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed or 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, lightly sauteed 
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • One 1 (14.5-ounce) can of tomatoes
  • Dried basil, to taste 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

Recipe: 

  • Simmer the stock in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the tortellini and let simmer for 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep it from a full boil. Stir in the spinach, garlic, canned tomatoes. Cook for 3 more minutes over medium heat until tortellini is cooked fully. 
  • Season with dried basil, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot in bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Words by Avery Johnson