Food prices are going up, here are saving tips for 2019

Whether you like or not, your groceries are going to be more expensive next year.

Major food giants Mondelez, Hershey, Nestle, Unilever and Coca-Cola. have all announced they will need to hike prices in 2019 to offset higher freight and ingredient costs.

But don’t be alarmed, says Joel Gamoran, host of A&E’s “Scraps” and national chef for Sur La Table, just be more conservative with your food.

According to a recent survey from Morton Salt, more than half of millennials say they waste at least 20 percent of the fresh food they purchase each month, especially in December.

So if you’re looking to offset those higher prices next year and curb your food waste problem, Gamoran says the first step for many Americans is cut back on wasting food, which could save you up to $360 per household each month, according to a Gallup poll.

Here are a few other grocery-saving tips from Gamoran.

1.       Plan ahead.

Clean out your fridge and stock up on key essentials that have a long shelf life. Eggs and winter squash, for example, can last longer than other produce.

2.       Make friends with your freezer.

There’s a reason that chefs love freezers, Gamoran says. He says they dramatically slow down the time it takes for ingredients to go bad.

“If you have fruits or leftovers that could spoil while you’re away, freeze them before you head out. Frozen fruits have a lot of different uses -- toss them in a quick smoothie or puree them and mix with yogurt. When you come back, the best method for thawing them out is to raise their temperature slowly by placing them in the fridge overnight, then reheat them as you see fit.”

3.       Save your herbs.

The biggest problem with fresh herbs is that they usually don’t last long.  The key, says Gamoran, is to use dried herbs and make an herb salt.

“Pick fresh leaves off the stem, place them in an ice-cube tray, top them with olive oil, and store the tray in the freezer.”

4.       Store it right.

“A giant reason why food goes bad during long trips is because ingredients are stored incorrectly. All animal proteins (with the exception of eggs) should go in the freezer, even cheeses. Lettuces, greens, and veggies should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in a paper or plastic bag with holes in it so that they can breathe. Don’t leave an opened bottle of half-finished wine in the fridge for more than a couple of days—it won’t last, so drink the last of it before leaving on a long trip,” Damoran says.

5.       Think before you toss.

Morton Salt’s survey revealed that fresh fruits and veggies -- especially leafy greens, like kale -- are tossed out most often (60 percent). So, if you come home to veggies that are overripe or wilted, make a batch of soup instead of giving them the heave-ho. Wilted lettuce and herbs or overripe tomatoes can be turned into a hearty minestrone or white-bean soup.