How to Keep Food From Spoiling

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.

Bananas© iStockphoto/Thinkstock

4. Make a portable root cellar.

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.

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