Whether it’s a big storm coming or a public health concern, we often hear about people going to the grocery store to stock up on essentials like milk, bread, potatoes, and meat. With proper planning and storage, you can make those items last longer.
For example, what can you do if you want to stock up on milk but worry about it expiring before you can safely get back to a grocery store? The answer, like so many foods, is simple — you can freeze your milk. You can stock up on your favorite brand of milk and freeze it, by following these steps.
Tips for Freezing Milk
- Consider the space you have in your freezer. If you don’t have room for a number of large milk gallons, think about stocking up on half gallons and quarts of fresh milk.
- Drink some first. When milk freezes, it expands. So, drink enough from each container to leave a little bit of room for the milk to expand safely when it freezes. Leave one to two inches of empty space in each container.
- Thaw your frozen milk in a refrigerator, not at room temperature.
- After your milk is thawed, give it a good shake before drinking.
In addition, many consumers are stocking up on potatoes, and it’s important to make the most of these purchases. Potato farmers, packers, and processors are doing what it takes to keep potatoes supplied to grocery stores and restaurants around the country. Here are some tips from America’s potato farmers on how to purchase, store, and prepare potatoes at home:
How to Shop for Potatoes
- Vegetables are often described as perfect and imperfect. As you are stocking up, imperfect potatoes are just as good. If cuts, bruises or discoloration are present, just cut these off before cooking.
- You can also find dehydrated and frozen potatoes in the center of the store and they require minimal preparation.
- Don’t forget the potato chips, as everyone could use a bit of joy.
How to Store Potatoes
- Do not refrigerate or freeze fresh potatoes before cooking.
- How long do potatoes last? It depends on the conditions in which they are stored. Store potatoes in a cool, dark, well ventilated place, avoiding high temperatures such as below sinks or next to appliances.
- Be sure air can reach your potatoes. Either store loose or in plastic or paper bags with holes.
- Don’t wash potatoes before storing as dampness will lead to early spoilage.
- Check potatoes regularly and remove any that show signs of spoilage as this will spread to the others.
- If potatoes begin to sprout, you can still cook them. Just remove the sprout and cut away any green areas. Of course, you can also use sprouted potatoes as a fun kid activity by placing them in a container of water with the sprouts in the air and watching them grow.
How to Cook Potatoes
- Potatoes can be baked, boiled, roasted, mashed, fried, air fried, microwaved, and grilled.
- Don’t forget that many dishes, such as potato salad, can be made ahead and enjoyed later as long as they are stored in the refrigerator.
- Leftovers can easily be transformed into new dishes; mashed potatoes can become potato pancakes and baked wedges from dinner can be mixed in a scramble with eggs the next morning.
Lastly, many consumers have stocked up on beef products since they will be cooking more meals at home. The Beef Checkoff is offering tips and ideas for batch cooking and leftovers to ensure meal planning is stress-free and packs a nutritious punch. Planning ahead in the kitchen saves time and money, and can also help families reach daily nutrition goals, even when they’re busy juggling a variety of needs and responsibilities.
Check out these easy guides from the experts at Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to get the ball rolling:
- How to Batch Cook Shredded Beef — This quick guide walks you through how to cook a roast in the slow cooker for delicious shredded beef you can use all week long.
- How to Batch Cook Steak — By following these simple steps, you can be set with steak for days.
No matter what you plan to do with your essentials, just remember we are all in this together and only take what you need. In a time like this, we can not be wasting any resources, especially food.