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Six Tips: Extend The Life Of Your Groceries

steve loya / Flickr
 

steve loya / Flickr

Most of California's water is directed to agriculture, so when we throw away food we're essentially wasting water. Experts say 25 percent of the water used to grow food ends up in a landfill.

Here are a few tips from Christine Bruhn, former director of the Center for Consumer Research at UC Davis, to extend the life of your groceries.

Check the temperature of your refrigerator. Make sure the thermometer is set to 40 degrees or colder. Foods will deteriorate faster both in quality and safety when it's warmer.

Keep dry food cool. Keep goods like crackers, chips and canned items in a pantry, rather than a hot garage.

You can eat packaged snacks past the labeled date, within a reasonable length of time. The date indicates quality not safety. If the package is oozing or leaking it's time to throw it out.

There's latitude on the"sell by" date on pasteurized dairy products. Milk and yogurt are safe to eat 8-10 days past the "sell by" date, as long as they are kept cool. Yogurt is especially safe to consume after the labeled date because it contains probiotics, or friendly bacteria. 

Keep eggs refrigerated and handle them with clean hands. You can eat them up to two weeks past the "sell by" date. 

Don't mess around with meat and produce expiration dates. Those foods are highly susceptible to bacteria. This is especially important for luncheon meats and pre-packaged produce like bags of lettuce, both of which should be eaten within 3 to 4 days of being opened.