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How to Stop Wasting Food

7 tips for preserving food – and your grocery budget

En español | The average American family of four spends about $1,600 a year on food they never eat, especially vegetables, fruits and cooked leftovers, according to CleanMetrics.com, a company that promotes environmental sustainability.

Try these tips to extend the life of produce and other foods:

  • Store greens with a damp paper towel in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

  • Blanch fresh vegetables such as asparagus, beans, carrots and broccoli. Dip in ice water, drain, then freeze in one-meal portions.
  • Cook overripe fruit into a compote.

  • Make stir-fry or a nutritious soup from surplus vegetables, pasta and meat.

  • Store leftovers in glass containers so you can see them.
  • Relax a little about expiration dates and "use by" dates. These dates, which are often set by manufacturers or producers, refer to a perishable food's peak quality, not safety. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "After the date passes, while not of [the] best quality, the product should still be safe if handled properly and kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for recommended storage times."
  • Shop more frequently for perishables, buying only what you can use in the next few days.

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