Experts show how to preserve groceries for 2 weeks, after White House urges people to stay home

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Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 05:54:09-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The grocery stores are packed with shoppers.

“When you got to eat, you got to eat, especially when you’re home bored - you try to space it out but everyone eats when they are bored,” said Brock Baker.

Leaders want people to stock up to limit the number of trips to the store for the next two weeks. They say this can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Shoppers say it’s hard to avoid the grocery store.

“Fruits and vegetables - we run out, and that's the only things that's not sufficient on the counter,” said Jackyln Vickery.

Registered dietitian Ashley Stickley says this is not always true.

“Things like broccoli and squash and zucchini, carrots and celery - those things can last a month in your fridge,” said Stickley.

She says having enough groceries for the next two weeks is all about planning.

“That’s going to help you feel prepared and not stressed when you go to the store,” she adds.

She says hold off on washing your fruits and vegetables when you bring them home.

“For most of them, probably not washing them immediately. I know things like mushrooms and berries, if you wash them immediately and let them sit in the container, they are going to get mushy,” she adds.

If you tend to keep your fruits out on the counter, Stickley says this is probably the best time to remove them and put them in the fridge or in the freezer. She says it’s also a good time to start buying frozen fruits or vegetables.

“Also buying things and freezing them. You can freeze your steak and pork tenderloins,” Stickley adds.

She says the same goes for baked goods.

“It’s a good way to preserve it, so if you have bagels or something like that, you can pop it out of the freezer whenever you’re ready to eat it. That will also last several months in the fridge or freezer.”

She says you should also be open-minded to trying new things.

“Maybe instead of buying just chicken breasts, which a lot of people are buying now, buy a whole chicken. I know every time I go to the grocery store that’s the only thing left.”

To play it safe, she says there is nothing wrong with non-perishables like rice and beans.

“Vegetables... if you want to buy canned vegetables, if you can find the 'no-salt added,' that’s best, but if you can't, that's okay.”

When it comes to dairy, she says the "sell-by" dates on things like milk are there for freshness.

"I’ve often found that our milk will last two days longer due to smell test. It’s kind of what you’re comfortable with, but if your milk looks and smells fine, I think you’re good to drink it.”

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