Some items in our refrigerator just don't survive as long as you think they would, even if kept at ice-cold conditions. Even in the deep chill of the fridge, certain foods are just more susceptible to perish while others will stay fresh for what feels like a lifetime. Some storage tricks and tips (mostly throwing things in the freezer) will help prolong food freshness and can help you avoid throwing out unused leftovers. Sometimes, however, you just got to throw it out!
Free up a little shelf space in your refrigerator. Here are 6 Items in Your Refrigerator You Probably Need to Throw Away.
1.) That Open Box of Baking Soda
You know that open box of baking soda you've had stashed in the back of your refrigerator for the last few years? An open box of baking soda will quickly absorb the pungent odors of your fridge and become ineffective after just a short amount of time. If using baking soda to control odor, you should generally replace the box every month or two. You can cook with baking soda that's up to three years old, however. Just be sure to keep it out of the fridge and store it in a dry pantry or cupboard. The moisture from the refrigerator will change the texture and cause it to deteriorate.
2.) Bags of Lettuce & Greens
Even when kept in the crisper drawer, bags of prewashed greens usually only last about a week or less when kept in the refrigerator. The moisture in the bag can cause the leaves to become soggy and wilted, leaving you with produce that can go bad even before the expiration date hits. Use your best judgment on whether it looks (and smells) safe to eat. Going past the expiration date can also put you at risk of exposure to bacterial growth, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
3.) Open Cans
Any open can or tins in your refrigerator are vulnerable to taking on flavors of other foods and can dry out quickly when exposed to cold air. Transfer any leftovers from open cans into an airtight, resealable container before storing in the refrigerator. This will help the ingredients stay fresh and at their peak for a longer amount of time.
4.) Buttermilk or Heavy Cream
Buttermilk and heavy cream are called for in a number of recipes that often require less than what you just bought at the supermarket. Both are typically sold in half-pint containers, often leaving you with leftovers that don't have to go to waste. Buttermilk and heavy cream are only good for about two weeks after the purchase date, but you can freeze the fresh leftovers in the freezer to prolong the expiration date. Freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays, then transferring to a plastic bag when frozen.
5.) Soft Cheeses
Any soft varieties of cheese, like goat cheese, feta or ricotta will last for only about a week in the refrigerator, so you've got to use them up quickly if you don't want to lose any of the goods. If you're struggling to use them before their expiration date, try to get creative with your cooking. Use them in salads, soups, sandwiches, and pasta sauces, or lay 'em all out and treat yourself to a fancy cheese board.
Once you open a carton of chicken broth, the leftovers are good for only about 4-5 days. For vegetable broth, you can typically expect leftovers to last between 5-7 days. Unless you're using the entire carton for soup, you can use the leftover broth in recipes like mashed potatoes, risottos, or vegetable dishes. You can also store broth in the freezer in an airtight container to prolong the expiration date by about three months.
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