As community quarantines see no hints of abating, it’s important now more than ever to be resourceful. While everything seems to be limited, there are ways to make the most of whatever necessities we have. Follow these simple steps to make your food last longer.

Follow the FIFO rule

The First In First Out (FIFO) rule isn’t only for professional kitchens, you can also make it a regular practice at home. A good tip would be to place newer food items at the back of your refrigerator or pantry while the older ones go to the front. Put fresh food, dairy, and soon-to-expire canned goods and pasta in spots where you can easily grab them. Freezing them can be a good way to improve shelf life. Arranging your food can help you categorize what needs to be used first but make this a moving inventory.

Consume fresh produce first

For fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s better to consume them first before they surpass their peak ripeness and freshness. You can do this by mapping out a schedule and storing them properly. Here are some tips:

  • Store onion and garlic in dark, dry places to prolong shelf life
  • Wash berries in a one part vinegar, three parts water solution to kill bacteria left on the fruit and reduce chances of anything else growing on it
  • Remove roots from vegetables as these can steal the nutrients already present and thus result in early dying out
  • Put leafy vegetables in a kitchen towel to absorb as much moisture as possible
  • Keep bananas in bunches and tightly wrap a plastic cling film around the stalks to keep ethylene (a ripening hormone) from reaching the rest of the fruit
  • Place tomatoes inside the fridge when you want to delay the ripening process. Store them outside—but in a cool place—if you want them to immediately ripen.

Note the expiration dates

A long shelf life doesn’t mean you can forget about a food item’s expiration date. Although it may take a lot of effort, having a food inventory list will help keep things organized, especially now that you have to make resources last as long as you could. Aside from keeping track of what needs to be consumed right away, get creative with how you make your meals. You might even be surprised by the recipes you can come up with using the most random ingredients.

Use more vegetables

Instead of using meat, fill your meals with vegetables. Doing so will yield you more portions and reduce costs. You’re also getting more balanced meals out of your food stock, compared to meat-heavy meals. You can also make the most out of your food by weighing your ingredients and following serving sizes.