If you have trouble using perishable food before it spoils, you’re certainly not alone. More than 34 million tons of food waste is generated in the U.S. each year, and a whopping 39 percent of Americans say they feel guilty about wasting food. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, about two-thirds of household food waste is due to spoilage. So, to help you cut back on wasted food (and inflated grocery bills), Earth911 compiled this list of creative kitchen tools that will help you keep food fresher, longer. If you’re on a tight budget or would rather not buy new, we’ve also provided handy DIY alternatives for each of these fun, food-saving gadgets.
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1. Vegetable Keep Sacks
Did you know that storing some vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, shallots and garlic, in the refrigerator can actually make them spoil faster? Most root vegetables keep longest in a dry place that’s cool but not as cold as the average fridge.
Since most of us don’t have a root cellar, the best way to give root veggies a longer shelf-life is to keep them cool and away from light – which prevents sprouting.
These Orka by Mastrad Vegetable Keep Sacks make it easy to keep your veggies in the dark. Simply add veggies at the top, and remove them from the bottom when they’re ready to use.
DIY Alternative: If you’d rather not buy a new item to preserve your veggies, simply store onions and potatoes in paper bags in a cupboard or pantry. Why paper? Not only are paper bags readily recyclable through most curbside programs, but they’re also more breathable than plastic – which helps prevent spoilage.
Tip: Don’t store potatoes and onions together. As potatoes ripen, they give off moisture and gases that cause onions to spoil more rapidly.