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Make your food last longer: Tips to prolong their freshness

Meg Farris says there are ways to keep your food from spoiling quickly - and, just as importantly, there are things you shouldn't do.

NEW ORLEANS — With the rise in food prices, you're probably looking for ways to make sure you don't waste food that spoils.

So, social media is flooded with ideas and hacks, but it's best to listen to the scientists, not the latest viral video. To believe the hacks or not to believe, that is the question we put to our expert Dr. Jeff Hobden of LSU Health Infectious diseases and Microbiology. That popular TikTok hack to put your avocadoes in water in the refrigerator to make them last longer is not a good idea.

“That is a dangerous practice. I think this hack was calling for people to leave their avocadoes for like two weeks and that's just ridiculous,” said Dr. Hobden.
Just put ripe ones, uncut in the refrigerator.

Water storage is also being shown with other veggies such as carrots and celery.

“Those are just avenues for things like listeria to grow. Salmonella is the other pathogen.”

Dr. Hobden says there is a reason the bins in a refrigerator are called crispers. Use them. They keep fruits and veggies longer, because they are farther away from the cold, dehydrating air coming from the top, and they lower moisture build up. Wrapping them in foil or a damp tea towel also prevents moisture build up that happens in plastic bags.

For your leftovers, those silicone storage containers can help, but he says there is something better.

“It's the oxygen that spoils food very quickly. Oxygen promotes microbial spoilage. I'm a big fan of vacuum sealing bags,” recommended Dr. Hobden.

To make your food last:

  • Vacuum seal meals, meats, and produce. That pulls out the air and oxygen. It also protects foods from cross contamination in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze foods.
  • Try home canning, freeze drying, or pickling foods.
  • Keep the temperature in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or a little lower. The freezer should be at 0 degrees.
  • Buy seasonal and local produce. It is fresher.
  • Buy “ugly” produce, called “seconds.” They might not be pretty, but they are safe to eat and cheaper.

    And speaking of ugly food, let’s go back to that viral avocado hack.

    “Now brown avocado is just as safe, and nutritious to eat as the green. (It’s) just again, a visual thing,” he said.

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