We live in a disposable society. Manufacturers plan it this way. Rather than offer the buying public items that will last, we are offered items that are planned to be disposed of. That concept dismays my frugal sensibilities. This section deals with Kitchen & Household. We'll be talking about everything from appliances to food.
Let's start with food.
***To keep cheese from getting moldy, store your cheese in an air-tight container with a couple of lumps of sugar. We purchase large blocks of cheese and divide it into sections. We use waxed paper and tupperware with the sugar stuck in there to keep our cheese fresh.
***Another way to keep your cheese fresh is to use a lightly moistened paper towel...moisten it with vinegar, not water. Store the towel with the cheese. Be careful, don't use too much vinegar or it will change the taste of the cheese.
***You can also freeze your cheese. Some cheese, like Romano and other hard cheeses wll last a couple of years if wrapped tight & right before freezing. Softer cheeses like Brie can last up to a year!
Always store your eggs under cover. Egg shells are porous and will absorb odors and release moisture if they are uncovered.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
To get almost twice the juice out of your lemons, warm them in an oven at low temperature for several minutes. We set the temperature at no higher than 200 degrees. If you have hot water handy, just submerge them in that for about 10 to 15 minutes. If your using a microwave, we warm them for about 30 seconds.
If you won't be using your bananas before they turn, stick them in the freezer. The skins will turn brown, but the fruit will be fine.
APPLES & CARROTS
Apples should be stored as close to 32 degrees as possible as soon as they are brought indoors. We don't have all that much room, so we pack them in a crate with sand and sawdust and stick it in the coolest part of our basement. They'll keep through fall and winter! When packing the apples, don't let them touch each other. It's fairly simple to do with sand or sawdust. Some folks pack them in a styrofoam cooler and store them in the basement. I've never tried this, so I can't swear to it.
Remember to remove any apples that are showing signs of rot.
Another tip- rinse your fresh carrots ASAP and scrub them clean with a good vegetable brush. Dry them immediately and seal them in plastic bags. Stick them in the refrigerator. This stops them from becoming limp.
Don't wash it. Don't wrap it. Store it in the refrigerator this way and it will keep for severa weeks longer.
Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over fruits like apples, bananas, avacados, peaches & pears after they've been cut. This will keep them from turning brown.
Stale raisins? Rinse them well in cold water, then without drying them, bake them in a COVERED dish at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. Watch them closely....they can 'burn' easily. Save the water for another use.
***We love potatoes. If we have less than 5 pounds in the kitchen, I get edgey! So we've become rather good at keeping potatoes. We buy local as ofetn as possible. We live in RI and there are some fine local potatoes in our area.
***If you plan on storing your potatoes or any length of time, the skins need to toughen. The potatoes with thin skins will shrivel and become soft. To toughen up the skins, place them in the sun for four or five hours. Brush off any soil. DO NOT WASH THEM! Store them in a dark, moist place. We use our unheated cellar. They must be kept in total darkness. If these (or any tubers) are exposed to light, they develop that green discoloration which is inedible.
***Store your potatoes with an apple to keep them from sprouting.
***If you're boiling old potatoes, add a bit of sugar to the water to restore some of the flavor.
***To revive soft potatoes, soak them in cold water for an hour.
***To store root vegetables long term, place them in an unheated section of the basement that is dark, cool and well-ventilated. Keep them enclosed in screening to keep out rodents. An easy way to keep humidity high (90 - 95% is perfect) is to splash water from a bucket on the walls when you visit the area. You may want to have a thermometer & a humidity meter mounted in order to keep an eye on conditions.
***CUTTING THE GREEN
Before storing carrots, cut the grees off. This will make them last longer. This also works for beets.
When using part of an onion, use the top half first. The root helps perserve the lower half for use later on.