Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Before using groceries:

Before shopping for groceries:

  • Plan to return home right after buying groceries – so you can get cold foods (especially eggs) into the refrigerator or freezer
  • Organize coupons
  • Eat – shopping on an empty stomach usually causes you to buy more than you intended
  • Make a list of items you need, organized by types of foods
  • Take:
    • List
    • Coupons
    • Bags (reusable cloth, plastic and/or paper)
    • Ice chest/cooler with ice in it – to put perishable items in if the store is a long ways from your home and/or you are unexpectedly delayed

While shopping for groceries:

  • Check the sell date on perishable items
  • Look for cheaper items above and below eye level
  • Don’t assume items are cheaper just because:
    • They’re a larger size
    • They’re displayed separately and/or differently
  • Don’t use coupons unless you’re sure you’ll use the item


  • Eggs buy pasteurized eggs – reduced risk of salmonella poisoning


  • Plan to eat within 3 days
  • Ensure display ice is fresh
  • Choose fish which is closest to the ice, e.g., on the bottom
  • For whole fish, eyes should be clear
  • Scales should be shiny and cling to skin
  • Don’t buy fish which smells excessively fishy – probably not fresh
  • Don’t buy fish which smells like ammonia


See Produce


  • Ensure meat is well-wrapped
  • Be wary of meat, especially poultry, which is marinated – sometimes markets marinate older meat to hide its oldness


  • Look for produce which hasn’t been waxed
  • If bagged: weigh it to ensure it is close to the listed weight


  • Try to buy strawberries not too long before eating
  • Don’t buy strawberries which aren’t ripe – they won’t ripen any more
  • Buy strawberries with the green leaf cap in place


  • Check that the stem (pigtail) is in place – if the stem is gone, it’s probably overripe – if the stem is a dark color, it’s probably ripe – if the stem is green, it’s probably not ripe
  • Thump it and listen for a solid sound
  • Consider buying a seedless variety

After returning home:


  • Put in refrigerator right away


Also in this section: Strawberries, Watermelons

  • Don’t store citrus with lettuce, broccoli, etc. – they’ll cause the lettuce, etc. to wilt


  • Ground beef: If the inside of the beef is brown while the outside is pink, be aware that the store is probably wrapping fresh meat around older meat – consider taking it back to the store


  • Try to eat them soon after buying
  • Don’t rinse them or remove the green leaf cap until right before you eat or serve them
  • Keep in the refrigerator at 34-36 degrees F


See Produce


  • Don’t put in refrigerator
  • Place in a cool, dark place


Thanks for reading!