The best ways to store groceries to save money during the cost of living crisis

The best ways to store groceries to save money during the cost of living crisis

From keeping apples in the fridge to eggs in the freezer to pickles in the cupboard, experts have revealed a number of unexpected ways families can save money amid the cost-of-living crisis.

With grocery prices up a record 10 percent year-on-year and the price of staples in supermarkets doubling, many shoppers are now looking for ways to keep costs down.

And the experts from the consumer champions which? say people can save money and reduce waste simply by storing their groceries the right way — like putting apples in the fridge, which allows them to last up to 77 days longer.

Other tips include putting eggs in the freezer for up to six months, but only after they’ve been cracked and whipped before storing them in a container. If you freeze them in their shells, they will explode.

Bread is better placed in a bread bin than in the fridge, as this dehydrates the loaf and leaves people with bland-tasting slices. It can also be used for breadcrumbs, bread and butter puddings, or croutons when they get stale. Additionally, experts said you can freeze bread and then toast it straight from the freezer or put it under the grill.

Mushrooms should also be refrigerated, but they should be placed in a paper bag first to keep them from getting slimy — while pickles will last longer if kept in a cupboard or placed in a bowl on a countertop.

Stone fruit such as peaches, plums and cherries ripen better outside of the refrigerator, which allows the aromas to fully develop. Overripe fruit with no sign of mold can still be used as a topping for porridge or in a crumble.

Once opened, peanut butter can be safely stored in a cupboard as long as it is sealed tightly and has a shelf life of many months, as its high fat content and low moisture content provide favorable conditions for preventing bacterial growth.

Which? Reena Sewraz said: “The cost of living crisis is putting many families under pressure, but many people don’t realize that simply storing food differently can significantly extend its shelf life and save you money in the process. In the case of apples, they could last up to three months longer if you keep them in the fridge, and simple changes like these can be very useful if you’re buying in bulk or don’t plan on eating food right away.

Read below which experts at which? what you can do with your food to avoid going to waste:

PRODUCTS FOR THE FRIDGE

mayonnaise

While mayonnaise does contain vinegar, it’s not enough to keep the egg-rich condiment safe outside of the fridge. Dipping cutlery in the glass or bottle can allow bacteria to grow, but refrigeration limits this.

Pesto

Pesto should always be refrigerated, as the nuts can develop mold and produce toxic compounds called mycotoxins, including aflatoxin. This is a dangerous bacterium that can cause severe liver damage.

remoulade

Remoulade – which is often served with fish and chips – should be kept in the fridge as it contains egg, has low acidity and is high in water, which encourages the growth of microorganisms.

salad cream

Salad cream should be refrigerated due to its egg content — although in addition to brandy vinegar, it also contains a preservative called potassium sorbate, which can help extend its shelf life.

maple syrup

Experts advise that anything over 60 percent sugar means the sugar is acting as a preservative to avoid microbial degradation. However, maple syrup is just below this level, which allows some mold to grow, so it should be stored in the fridge. If it’s stored in the cupboard, mold is likely to form on the lid.

Tomato ketchup

Due to the high vinegar content in ketchup, it can be stored in the refrigerator or on the shelf even after opening. This also applies to brown sauce and barbecue sauce—but if it’s not used regularly, refrigerate it.

Mustard

The type of mustard is important in deciding whether to refrigerate it. While French Dijon mustard has a shelf life of one year after opening if placed in the refrigerator, American yellow mustard is fine if placed in a cupboard.

horseradish sauce

It’s best to refrigerate horseradish to preserve its flavor and color by reducing exposure to heat and light. Horseradish root can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for between one and three months.

jam

Jams can actually be stored in the cupboard once opened, although most brands will label them to put them in the fridge. But experts add that they last much longer when refrigerated, so they’re best kept in the fridge.

Lettuce stays crisp longer by washing it, spinning it dry, then storing it in a perforated container in the fridge

Lettuce stays crisp longer by washing it, spinning it dry, then storing it in a perforated container in the fridge

chutney

Chutney usually has a long shelf life because it is made from sugar and vinegar. Although its texture, color or flavor may change, it is still safe to consume if kept refrigerated at all times and the jar is undamaged.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator as they have a high water content. When this evaporates, it can become trapped in plastic and cause them to become slimy — but a paper bag lets them breathe.

lettuce

The best way to keep lettuce crisp for as long as possible is to copy the method typically used in restaurants – wash it, spin dry, and then store it in a perforated container like a colander in the fridge.

apples

Research by the Food Waste Charity Wrap found that apples last between 69 and 77 days longer when refrigerated. Therefore, experts advise people to buy a large bag of apples and store them in the fridge for better value for money.

DO NOT STORE PRODUCTS IN THE REFRIGERATOR

bread

Bread becomes dehydrated when stored in the refrigerator as the cool and dry conditions make it stale. It should be kept in a bread bin instead – but can be used for breadcrumbs, bread and butter pudding, or croutons when stale. Experts say it’s also okay to freeze a loaf or slices, and they can then be toasted or grilled straight from the freezer.

cucumbers

While many keep their pickles in the fridge, this can cause the skin to shrink and the inside to become mushy. So it’s best to keep them in a cupboard or in a bowl on a countertop. If you want to eat a cold, you should put it in the fridge for an hour beforehand to avoid the effects of prolonged exposure to cold.

tomatoes

A ripe tomato will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks, but low temperatures can change its texture and stop the activity of enzymes that give it its flavor. People are advised to place them in a fruit bowl for best results.

potatoes

Potatoes are thought to last an average of 90 days longer in the fridge, although the Food Standards Agency says this can also lead to elevated levels of the naturally occurring carcinogenic chemical acrylamide, particularly if the potatoes are then cooked at very high temperatures. So it is best to keep them in a cool, dark place.

Stony fruits

Stone fruit such as peaches, plums and cherries ripen much better outside of the refrigerator, allowing the aromas to fully develop. However, many people like to eat these when they are refreshingly cold, so are willing to compromise. Overripe fruit with no signs of mold can also be used as a topping for porridge or in a crumble.

bananas

Bananas should turn yellow first on the counter, as unripe bananas have a hard time ripening in the fridge. Experts say brown bananas are good for baking as they can replace an egg in cakes and pancakes.

cake

If you put cakes or other baked goods in the refrigerator, they will go stale faster than if they are kept at room temperature. Additionally, experts say you should avoid throwing away leftover or stale cake as it can be made into brownies.

Potatoes last an average of 90 days longer in the fridge - but it's recommended to keep them unrefrigerated

Potatoes last an average of 90 days longer in the fridge – but it’s recommended to keep them unrefrigerated

peanut butter

Peanut butter keeps for months outside of the refrigerator because it’s high in fat and low in moisture, so it can be difficult for bacteria to multiply. It can be stored in a cupboard as long as the jar is tightly closed.

butter

Butter can spoil when exposed to oxygen, light and heat – and while it lasts longer in the fridge, it can be stored in a covered bowl on the kitchen counter, as the high fat content makes it difficult for bacteria to grow.

eggs

An estimated 13,000 tons of eggs are wasted because they are not used in time – but they can be used after the best before date as long as they are cooked through. They can also be frozen for up to six months, but must first be cracked and whipped, then frozen in a container. Do not freeze them in their shells or they will explode.

chocolate spread

Nutella can be kept at room temperature, making it more runny and spreadable. If kept in the fridge it will harden and render the texture un-spreadable – and then might come off if you let it come back to room temperature.

Treasure

When you refrigerate honey, it hardens to an amber-like consistency that’s impossible to squeeze out of a bottle. It is very stable in cupboards, with honey having even been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs.

onions and garlic

Onions and garlic should be stored in the dark in a well-ventilated area as they can get mushy in the fridge. They can also be shredded and frozen to keep them from spoiling.

wine and champagne

Long-term storage of wine or champagne in the fridge can negatively affect the taste and quality of the wine, so it’s best to keep them in a cupboard. But putting opened red wine in the fridge can make it last a little longer.