There are loads of ways to give your foods longer shelf life.
Make Cheese and Milk Last Longer
Good cheese is expensive. It also gets moldy fast. Mold is fine on blue cheese but less than delectable on cheddar. You can delay the onset by wrapping the cheese in a piece of cheesecloth soaked in whiskey, then put it in a plastic bag. Or wrap the cheese in parchment paper and then foil and keep it in the crisp drawer. To keep the side of a piece of cheese from drying out, rub a little butter on top. To keep milk or cream fresh longer, add a pinch of salt to the carton.
Soften Rock-Hard Raisins
You can prevent raisins from getting hard, or at least slow the process a lot, by storing them in a jar with a tight lid. But you forgot to do that and you only ate a handful before the 15-ounce (425-gram) box hardened into stone. It feels like a shame to toss away that food, inedible though it may be. Don’t scribble “raisins” on the shopping list just yet. You can revive those hardened nuggets. Drop them into a cooking pot and add water until they’re submerged. Bring the water to a coil on the stovetop and then turn the stove off. Let the raisins steep in the water for 10 minutes. Set your colander in the sink and pour your soft-and-tasty raisins into the drain.
Save Not-Yet-Rotten Bananas
When bananas get too ripe to be eaten whole or even to be presentable as slices, they’re still fine for shakes or banana bread. If you can’t use them immediately, peel them and freeze them. Individually in plastic wrap; thaw before using.
Make a Portable Root Cellar
Rather than let your ginger shrivel up in the fridge or watch the carrots turn to slime in the crisper, try storing roots in a pot filled with clean sand. An unglazed flowerpot works well. Cover the roots and pick them out as you need them. Store the pot in a cool, dark place.
Freeze Leftover Tomato Paste
When you just want a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, remove that from the can and drop the remainder by spoonfuls (pretend you’re making cookies) onto wax paper. Put these dollops, wax paper and all, in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, peel them off the paper, drop the paste pieces into a zip-seal plastic bag, and store them in the freezer. Next time you need a little tomato paste, just ad a “cookie” or two to your sauce or soup. There’s no need to thaw them.