Using Up Food in the Refrigerator before Leaving Town
Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
You'll be gone several several days for the holidays, vacation, on business, to see family, etc. ... what can you do with the foods that stay behind in the refrigerator? Especially the foods that will no longer be safe or will decrease in quality by your return?
Here are some suggestions ...
- Hard-cook any remaining eggs and use them on salads and in sandwiches (such as in this picture) before you leave. Hard-cooked eggs -- in their shells -- will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week; store in a clean container, not the original egg carton. For directions on hard-cooking eggs, check this article by the American Egg Board.
- Use cartons of yogurt nearing the end of their recommended use period for foods such as smoothies or as a quick fruit salad dressing (as shown in the picture, right). You're limited only by your imagination and your leftovers!
- Toss together chopped fruit with raisins and nuts. Sprinkle with a little orange juice for added flavor and to keep fruits such as apples from turning brown. Add a dash of a spice, such as cinnamon, if you like.
- Raw peppers may be frozen following these directions and onions may be frozen following these directions.
COOK'S TIP #1: You also can freeze small pieces of fresh or canned fruit until solid. This is another way to use up fresh or opened, canned fruit in your fridge. Freeze for a few hours or overnight on a cookie sheet or in shallow metal pans -- place fruit in a single layer. Chop larger fruits like bananas, apricots, etc. into smaller chunks -- about 1/2 to 1 inch. Transfer frozen fruit to freezer bags for later use or enjoy in a smoothie right away! More tray freezing ideas.
COOK'S TIP #2: This salad dressing recipe also works with a similar amount of milk, if you're trying to use up your milk. Yogurt gives a tangier taste than milk. Or, use a combination of milk and yogurt.
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