Somewhere between 25 percent and 50 percent of all food produced in the United States goes to waste, according to “From Farm to Fridge to Garbage Can” in today's New York Times. Sound too high? Take a peek inside your refrigerator and pantry. Chances are there are more than a few items there that will never make it to the table. For a family of four, these perished perishables can cost more than $2,000 a year.
Mark Connelly, deputy technical director for Consumer Reports, was one of several experts interviewed by the Times. “One of the pieces of advice we give [consumers] is to go to a hardware store and buy a relatively inexpensive thermometer,” he says in the story. “Put it in the refrigerator to check the temperature to make sure it’s cold enough.” That will help prolong the life of items stored there.
Eliminating refrigerator clutter is another way to minimize waste. How many times have you discovered a wilted bunch of celery buried at the bottom of the crisper drawer? Some areas of the refrigerator are colder than others so make sure you store your milk, eggs and other proteins in the back where it's the coldest. Check our advice on storing fruits and vegetables, as well as our report on food-storage bags so you can start freezing fresh foods that might otherwise end up in the garbage.
Cold comfort. If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, use our Ratings to find a model that maintains consistent temperatures.
The best thing that's come down the pike about preserving the freshness of food is these vacuum bags that take all the air. I bought 3 lbs of grapes when they were on sale - put half of them in a vacuum bag - left the others out to pick on - the latter were going soft when the vacuumed ones were still nice and crisp - just like the day bought.