9 Tips to Be a Better Grocery Shopper
Grocery shopping is a vital part of cooking, and there are skills you have to master. These skills will not only help with getting the best out of your groceries, but youâll also be saving time! So, here are our top tips for you to master grocery shopping:
Consider groceries a friend. You must like the ingredient to continue buying it. Photo by Pexels
1. Know the Grocery Store's Layout
Knowing where certain items are located in your local supermarket ensures you know exactly where to go to find it. You're not just wasting your time, but you're also wasting a lot of your energy when you keep going back and forth aisles as you go through your list.
Familiarize yourself with how your favorite grocery store is organized. Know what aisles contain what and how products are grouped so you can go through your grocery list efficiently. Clump together similar ingredients, e.g. canned vegetables, baking supplies, frozen section, and fresh produce, so that you can go in an organized pattern as soon as you enter so it's an easy trek from the entrance to the cashier.
2. Get Your Frozen and Chilled Goods Last
When arranging your grocery list, bunch together your fresh meat, dairy products, and frozen goods at the bottom of the list.
Fresh meat: Meat kept at room temperature for too long can develop smells and might not be so fresh when you get home.
Dairy products: You don't want your butter to be too soft and getting deformed, or worse, making a mess. Fresh milk and soft cheeses also don't fare well at room temperature for too long and may spoil faster when temperatures fluctuate. Most importantly, you don't want to bring home soppy ice cream! Once your ice cream fully melts, there's no getting it back.
3. Don't Squish the Fresh Produce!
Preserve your perishables, and keep easily bruised leafy greens and plump fruits and vegetables on top of your groceries. Don't squish them underneath any heavy stuff!
Reusable bags aren't just good for the environment, they're also very practical. Photo by Pexels
4. Bring Containers
Eco bags and bayongs aren't just eco-friendly options, they're also sturdier. You don't want to lose your groceries to a flimsy plastic bag tearing at the most inconvenient time.
Ice boxes, coolers, and thermal bags are great for your dairy products, fresh meat, and especially fresh seafood! Best hack ever is to keep one of these containers in your car's trunk at all times.
If you're buying a lot of fresh items, best to buy ice to fill your icebox with as well. This will guarantee freshness even after traveling. Seafood meanwhile should be placed in a cool dry place and exposed to air so any live seafood will arrive home in the same state.
Plastic containers, or any freezer-friendly stackable container, will make your life easier when you arrive home and are set to store your buys. These are also better alternatives to single-use plastic bags.
5. Keep the Toiletries Separate
Toiletries, especially detergents, are very volatile, fragrant objects. Place them in the undercarriage of the cart, or maybe even in a separate cart or basket altogether. Make sure theyâre also not packed together with food items, unless, of course, you want soap-flavored food.
6. Don't Be Afraid to Ask
Be friendly with the staff and get through your shopping list faster. Here are tips on why you should:
Make finding specific ingredients easier: Your recipe is asking for a specific ingredient and you've been roaming the aisles for a while now. Stop wasting time and kindly ask one of the people stocking the shelves at the grocery for help. They know (or should know!) these aisles better than you.
Get fresher cuts of meat: If you want to make sure you have a good blend of fat and lean beef in your burger, there's really only one way. Choose your parts and have it freshly ground! Same goes if you want fresher, better sukiyaki cuts. You can even consult your butcher about what kind of cut, and how much fat you need for a specific dish. All you have to do is ask.
Get your fish cleaned: The best way to get the best fish is fresh, but what if you're scared of killing the catfish? Ask for them to butcher and clean the fish for you! You can ask the same for any of your seafood.
The first step to good food? Good ingredients from the groceries! Photo by Pexels
7. Re-Weigh Your Pre-packed Fresh Produce
It's easy to just grab and go, but you can be losing money doing so. Taking the extra step to check its weight will ensure you're getting what you paid for. Produce lose moisture the longer it sits out in the open so double checking also ensures you're grabbing the freshest of the bunch. Although the new prices may not be too far from what's printed, accumulated costs make a difference.
8. Know What to Buy in Bulk
Canned goods and other non-perishable staples are great to hoard. You wouldn't want to go to the groceries just because you ran out of salt or oil! It's better to buy these items in larger quantities also because it'll save you money.
Knowing what you're looking yields better ingredients, better dishes. Photo by Pexels
9. Know What You Like To Get The Best
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You can master all the other skills but still wind up with subpar finds. Let your taste buds tell you which brand of soy sauce you prefer or what type of banana to grab. You have to know what you're looking for! Whether it's knowing the best kind of mangoes, how ripe you should buy your tomatoes, how to spot good meat or bad meat—this knowledge is indispensable.
Keeping these tips in mind might take a little extra effort at the beginning, but the returns are long-lasting. Doing your groceries, after all, is something you'll always be doing, so make your shopping trips more efficient with a little help from us.
This story originally appeared on Yummy.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Realliving.com.ph editors.
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