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How to Make 5 Foods Last Longer in the Fridge

Checking the date on milk
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

According to the magazine “Prevention”, the average family throws away 122 pounds of food per month and wastes $590 a year on stuff that eventually goes bad.  So here are five perishables, and how you can make them last longer in the fridge.

#1.)  Eggs. Most new refrigerators have a special spot on the door for eggs.  But you shouldn’t store them there because it makes them vulnerable to fluctuations in temperature.

If you keep them in their original cardboard container and store them INSIDE the refrigerator, they’ll last 3 to 4 weeks past their expiration date.

#2.)  Milk. The same rule applies.  Milk should be stored in the back of the fridge, where the air stays coldest.  And when you’re at the store, you should buy milk last so you minimize the amount of time it goes unrefrigerated.

#3.)  Lunchmeat. Just make sure you store it in the meat drawer, which is specially designed to keep cold air in.  As long as you don’t forget to reseal the bag every time you use some, lunchmeat should last 3 to 5 days past its expiration date.

#4.)  Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes should always be in the fridge, but large varieties should stay at room temperature until they’re bright red.  Putting them in the refrigerator too early prevents them from ripening.

And don’t put ripe tomatoes near other vegetables in the fridge because they give off ethylene, which can make green veggies go bad.  The same rule applies with apples, which also give off ethylene.

#5.)  Hard Cheese. If you wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil and keep it refrigerated, it should last 2 to 4 months past the sell-by date.

And if there’s a little mold, you don’t have to throw the whole thing away.  Just do what your grandparents did and cut the mold off, plus an extra half-inch of cheese below it.

Other things, like bread, don’t work the same way.  And if one piece is moldy, you have to throw out the whole loaf.

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