Here's how to preserve groceries longer as White House warns some to avoid store, pharmacy for next 2 weeks

NEW YORK -- As the United States prepares for a tough week in the COVID-19 pandemic, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said people who live in certain regions of the US where cases are starting to ramp up should spend less time at and send fewer family members to the grocery store and pharmacy for the next two weeks.

While many grocery store staples have an expiration date or sell-by-date, experts like Consumer Reports' Amy Keating told Good Morning America that by utilizing your freezer, you can extend the life of kitchen staples like leafy greens, eggs and bread.

"All the different dates, those are all related to the food's quality and not safety," Keating said.

First of all, Keating said eggs will last in the fridge for three to five weeks after their purchase date. However, eggs can be stored in the freezer for about a year if you beat them and put them in an airtight container.

If your grocery store is out of frozen veggie staples, Keating said you can blanch leafy produce before freezing--drop it in boiling water for a short amount of time, then transfer it to ice water to stop it from cooking.

Keating said blanched greens will last up to 10 months in the freezer.

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For those spring and summer berries just starting to come into season, Keating said to remove the stems and put them in a paper-towel lined container to keep them from getting moldy.

"Just prior to eating them, wash them," Keating said. "Don't wash the whole batch and store them in the refrigerator. They're only going to spoil that much quicker."

Finally, Keating said bread will keep in the freezer for up to three months, but she recommended either buying pre-sliced bread or slicing it before putting it in the freezer.

"You want to make sure that it's pre-sliced so that you're not thawing and refreezing it," Keating said. "You're taking exactly what you need."

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Coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx emphasized that certain regions can make an "extraordinary" difference in flattening their curves the next two weeks.

Of course, Keating said to use common sense when judging the food in your fridge: when in doubt, throw it out.

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