1. Make cheese and milk last longer.
Good cheese is expensive. It also gets moldy fast. Mold is fine on blue cheese, but less than delectable on cheddar. You can delay the onset by wrapping the cheese in a piece of cheesecloth soaked in whiskey, then put that in a plastic bag. Or wrap the cheese in parchment paper and then foil and keep it in the crisper drawer. To keep the side of a piece of cheese from drying out, rub a little butter on it. To keep milk or cream fresh longer, add a pinch of salt to the carton.
2. Soften those rock-hard raisins.
You can prevent raisins from getting hard, or at least slow the process a lot, by storing them in a jar with a tight lid. But you forgot to do that, and only got to eat a handful before the 15-ounce (425-gram) box hardened into stone. It feels like a shame to toss away that food, inedible though it may be. Don’t scribble “raisins” on the shopping list just yet— you can revive those hardened nuggets. Drop them into a cooking pot and add water until they’re submerged. Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop and then turn the stove off. Let the raisins steep in the water for 10 minutes. Set your colander in the sink and pour your softand- tasty raisins into it to drain.
3. Save the not-yet-rotten bananas.
When bananas get too ripe to be eaten whole or even to be presentable as slices, they’re still fine for shakes or banana bread. If you can’t use them immediately, peel them and freeze them individually in plastic wrap; thaw before using.
Rather than let your ginger shrivel up in the fridge or watch the carrots turn to slime in the crisper, try storing roots in a pot filled with clean sand. An unglazed flowerpot works well. Cover the roots, and pick them out as you need them. Store the pot in a cool, dark place.
5. Freeze the leftover tomato paste.
When you just want a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, remove that from the can and drop the remainder by spoonfuls (pretend you’re making cookies) onto wax paper. Put these dollops, wax paper and all, in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, peel them off the paper, drop the paste pieces into a zipseal plastic bag, and store them in the freezer. Next time you need a little tomato paste, just add a “cookie” or two to your sauce or soup. There’s no need to thaw them.