Food prices are on the rise again.

After the relative stability of the last ten years, this past November (latest finalized data analysis I could find) packaged food makers began increasing prices last year to cover the rising cost of raw ingredients.

Specific examples include:

  • Oscar Mayer lunch meats
  • Capri Sun juice pouches
  • Wheat Thin crackers
  • Fig Newtons
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Twislers
  • Natures Own breads
  • Sunbeam breads
  • many others.

Here are a few proactive steps you can take to increase the shelf-life of your foods and thereby stretch your grocery store dollar (as well as increasing food safety).

1. When running your errands, make the grocery store your last stop. Perishable foods should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours when the temperature outside is more than 90 F.

2. make the refrigerated and frozen food section one of your last stops in the grocery store.

3. Refrigerate meat and poultry as soon as you get home.

4. Keep your refrigerator and freezer door closed as much as possible when putting away groceries so the food will chill rapidly.

5. Keep insulated thermal bags in your car for transporting frozen food from the market.

6. Bacteria grow best between 40 F and 140 F. So, keep your refrigerator between 32 F and 40 F.

7. 0 F and below is recommended for your freezer.

Placement Tips.

1. Don’t put eggs or milk in the refrigerator door. The temperature fluctuates more there.

2. Put raw meat or poultry on the bottom shelf the keep their juices from dripping on and contaminating other foods.

3. Avoid overfilling the refrigerator. Cool air must be allowed to circulate to keep food at the proper temperature.

4. Store fruits and vegetables in separate drawers. Fruits give off ethylene gas that shortens the shelf life of vegetables.

5. Overwrap meat and poultry packages. Heavy duty foil over the store shrink wrap can extend the useful life of our meat and poultry.

6. Go lean. Lean cuts last longer than fatty meats.

7. Freezing vegetables. Drop your vegetables in boiling water (blanching) before freezing them stops the enzyme that hastens deterioration.

8. Avoid freezer burn by eliminating as much air as possible from the food packaging.

Much of this information may be obtained from the USDA Food Safety page.

What are your tactics for increasing the range of your food dollar?

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at (elementaltruths.blogspot.com).

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