To Toss or Not To Toss…

Okay, guys, you know me – I come from a family where scrimping and saving and making food last really counted. I’m the guy who will eat the 17-day old pizza stuffed in the back of the fridge because… well… it’s food! It’s valuable! And it’s been in the refrigerator, after all, so it’s gotta be good, right?

Uhhh… NO.

Since I know you guys share my hope for never wasting food, I thought this info was important to pass along – I know I’m not the only one trying to make food last beyond it’s safe point. Check out this list to make sure your kitchen is a safe zone!



Don’t worry, leftover pie is still on the good list! You just want to be sure to cover it and put it in the fridge as soon as you’re finished – meaning it shouldn’t sit out more than 2 hours. This goes for all leftovers, actually – Chinese food, too!

Fruits and Veggies

Use freshly-cut fruits within two or three days and vegetables within four or five days. The best way to store fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, grapefruit, potatoes and other produce is unwashed with the skin, rinds, or peelings intact. So wait to cut or peel fruits and veggies until you’re ready to eat and you’ll extend the life of your produce.

Almond Milk

Yep, this stuff DOES sour. The Unopened box can sit on your shelf for much longer than the 7-10 day warning – but once you open it and refrigerate, you’ll want to keep pretty good track of how long it’s been in there. Ten days is a good time frame so if you’re not sure you’ll use it all up in time, go for the smaller carton.


The USDA recommends using these guys within a month of the packaging date. To be extra safe, try not to go past three weeks – and how do you tell when eggs have gone bad? They start sass-talkin! Eeeesh, okay, sorry about that one. Seriously, if you’re in doubt, here’s a good test of freshness – submerge the egg in water. A fresh egg will sink and stay on the bottom of the bowl. A week-ish old egg will bob but still stay on the bottom. An egg three weeks old will stand on its small end and a bad egg will float.


Store nuts in the freezer (in freezer bags or containers) and sit back and relax for a year! If you store them in a room temperature cupboard, you’ll want to eat ‘em up in about 3-6 months.

Baby Food

To keep your little guys safe, there’s a couple things to know about jarred baby food. First, once you open the jar, refrigerate and use within 24 hours. Also, rather than spoon food directly from the jar to your baby’s mouth, transfer the amount of food your kiddo will probably eat into a new bowl and feed the cutie-pants – then top the jar of remaining baby food and refrige. This prevents cross-contamination. Plus, you get to use all those adorable baby plates piling up in the kitchen cabinets!

What’s your best food storage advice?



Photo credit: Wasserstrom, Thinkstock, Banoosh, WishfulChef, iStock, GiggleNutshop


Gourmet Dad
  • Kathleen O

    As a transplant recipient, I have to be especially vigilant. I am ultra sensitive to bacteria and germs due to a suppressed immune system. Something that may be fine for the average person can easily make me sick. I shop often for items that are fresh and purchase in small amounts except for things like carrots, onions, potatoes that last a bit longer. I am also currently cutting most animal proteins out of my diet since my immumosupressants drive up my cholesterol. I am now leaning towards eating plant proteins so I’m taking in more chick peas, lentils, etc. and working with my transplant dietitian.

  • Jun Alapag

    Yes Dean i know where you coming from. And you are right:” You ‘are not’ the only one”.

  • Leslie Barnett

    I read recently that once you have cut open an onion, it is best to use all of it or toss the left over. I feel wasteful doing that, even though the article stated onions can easily pick-up bacteria after they have been cut open. Although I do use zip lock storage bags, I only refrigerate any leftover onions at most two days. At the very least, the freshness would be gone by then anyway.

  • Katherines Corner

    Great post.I always use F.I.F.O. ( First in First out) and Date rotate ie-yogurt dated June 5 in the front of the shelf yogurt date June 15 behind. etc.

  • Katherines Corner

    oops type o-sorry ie, not le, LOL

  • Dean McDermott

    That is such a great strategy – thank you for sharing, Katherine!

  • Dean McDermott

    Haha, thanks for having my back Jun!

  • Dean McDermott

    Kathleen, thank you for sharing your experience with me. I will come up with a post that features recipes that incorporate the plant proteins :)

  • Dean McDermott

    Good plan, Leslie!

  • Kathleen O

    I’d love to see some recipes featuring quinoa, chickpeas, or lentils. Yummy! So far I have not been a fan of tofu.