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9 Genius Things You Can Do to Keep Last Week’s Groceries Fresh

Don't let leftover ingredients go off just because you can't use them all at once.

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muffin tinTaste of Home

Freeze broth and sauces in sections

Things like broth or sauce should be tossed within a week of opening the container, but that usually means wasting about half the carton. Stowing the whole container commits you to thawing the rest when you need it, but freezing the broth in a muffin tin makes it easy to take out just what you need. As a bonus, the small cubes thaw faster than a large block of broth would. (Here’s how long you can keep food past its expiration date.)

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Brown sugar in glass jar on wooden tableShutterstock/prasit2512

Mix sugar and marshmallows

Clumpy brown sugar turns a fun baking session into a frustrating battle. You might know that a slice of bread can keep brown sugar from sticking together, but you can also keep marshmallows in the mix to keep your sweetener soft.

Psst! Try these delicious marshmallow-laden recipes.

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Top View Of Hand Holding Open Bag Of FlourPhoto: Shutterstock / Dream Perfection

Toss the flour bag

The paper bag your flour came in could rip and let bugs in. Transfer your flour to an airtight container like a large jar or plastic box, suggests Susan Reid, chef and editor with King Arthur Flour. (You’ve probably been storing these foods wrong.)

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Organic wheat flour in wooden spoonShutterstock / Sebastian Studio

Chill whole wheat flour

White flour is fine in the pantry, but whole wheat flour contains the oily wheat germ, which makes it go rancid quicker. “Whole grain products, from grains to flours, do even better in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, which will also prolong the shelf-life,” says chef Sarah House of Bob’s Red Mill.

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Chopped herbs spread out over a white cutting boardTaste of Home

Freeze herbs flat

Those plastic boxes of herbs won’t keep fresh basil and sage fresh very long. Eliminate waste by freezing whatever you don’t use. Lay your herbs in a zip-top bag with olive oil, spreading them flat like a sheet before you seal it. The thin layer will freeze the herbs quicker than in an ice cube tray, and it’s easy to cut off just as much as you need when you get cooking. (Make sure you never keep these foods in the freezer.)

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Shredded cheeseShutterstock/Africa Studio

Keep shredded cheese clump-free

Most store-bought shredded cheese has additives to keep it from sticking together, but clumps are common if you like shredding cheese yourself. To prevent pieces from sticking, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of cornstarch into a plastic baggie with your cheese shreds, then shake to coat the cheese. The cornstarch will act as an anti-clumping agent, according to the blog Home-Ec 101.

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cheese vaultLisa Kaminski/Taste of Home

Don’t wrap cheese in plastic

Ditch the plastic wrapper your cheese came in—if it isn’t exposed to oxygen, your cheese will dry out quickly. We tested a few different cheese storage methods, learn which one kept cheese fresh.

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Uncooked spaghetti noodle abstract; Shutterstock/KYTan

Don’t rely on the pasta box

Sure, the box your dry pasta came in has a flap to keep it shut, but the cardboard isn’t airtight. Leaving leftover uncooked pasta inside could attract bugs and rodents. Keep pests away by transferring the noodles to an airtight container, recommends the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Photo: Pixabay/yngveleyn

Keep ground coffee fresh

The package your coffee came in isn’t the best for keeping the grounds fresh. After you open the bag, pour the coffee grounds into an airtight storage canister. Pick one that won’t let light in to maintain the coffee’s great taste, suggests the National Coffee Association. (Make sure you never store these fresh foods together.)