Inflation is prompting jarring price hikes at grocery stores across the nation. On my most recent trip to buy food for the month, I was startled by the sharp increase on even the most basic of goods like eggs, milk and bread. And don’t even get me started on the cost of other meats like chicken and ground beef; even the traditionally cheaper cuts are getting up there.
Due to these cost increases, I’ve been seeking out ways to get creative when it comes to making the most of the food I buy from the store. And one of those ways was reaching out to an expert in the industry to get tips on food preservation so I can make my groceries last longer.
“The things that you struggle with in food preservation are things that degrade food, and oxygen is a big thing,” Ash Fulk, executive chef at Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group in New York City, told me. “At home, you can use a FoodSaver, which will take out all the oxygen. Oxygen is going to decompose food. It allows the bacteria on the outside of the food to grow, so the less oxygen there is, the less bacteria you’ll have.”
He also recommended using storage containers that will significantly reduce the oxygen food are exposed to, so they can last longer.
“Any container that can take the oxygen out is the kind you want, and those are the ones that are going to help preserve food,” he said.
But aside from focusing on the types of containers or bags you store your perishable goods in, Fulk said the biggest tips for preserving food are to simply cook it, and incorporate meal planning into your life so you have less food waste.
“If you’ve got green beans and they’re looking like they’re about to get a little wonky, cook them or pickle them. You’ll get a few more days out of them. Turn them into something and just be sure that nothing ever goes in trash,” he said.
Below, we rounded up several items to help with maximizing your groceries and making them last longer than the amount of time it takes to check out at the store.
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Zwilling vacuum sealing starter set
This beginner-friendly meal prep set includes a pump, a medium container, a large container, two medium bags and two small bags. The small rechargeable pump makes a great alternative to a regular horizontal countertop vacuum sealer since you can tuck it away in a drawer or cabinet when you’re done using it. The brand claims that using this system will keep your food fresh up to five times longer than not vacuum sealing it.