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The Instacart buying guide to food

Food shopping is an essential task that must take place for every household. Fortunately, Instacart is available to make the job a little easier. You can save time by ordering your groceries through Instacart. To make the best possible use of the service, it's important to know how to select the right food products for your needs.

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Buy your favorite food online with Instacart. Order baked goods, frozen food, pantry, and more from local and national retailers near you and enjoy on-demand, contactless delivery or pickup within 2 hours.

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FAQs About Food

To get the highest quality produce, it's typically best to select loose fruits and vegetables rather than those that are pre-packaged. When apples are picked individually, it's easy to spot soft ones, while you may unknowingly pick up apples that are past their prime when you purchase them in a large bag.

Most fruits and vegetables are at their best when they're plump and firm but not hard. Some fruits, such as nectarines and mangos, should have a little give when squeezed, but you never want to pick produce that's mushy or soft. Heavier produce is usually better, as the extra weight indicates more juice.

Buy only as much fresh produce as you can eat in a week. This is especially true of berries, bananas, tomatoes, peaches, and avocados.

Storing food in the freezer is the best way to prolong its life. Stocking up on frozen foods will help you go longer between shopping trips. While you may trust frozen foods to last indefinitely, it's important to note that even the freezer won't preserve your meals forever. While many items are still safe to eat after years, the quality and flavor will have diminished significantly over this amount of time. Here are some general guidelines on the longevity of frozen foods:
  • Bacon or lamb: 2 months.
  • Oily fish or cooked shellfish: 3 months.
  • Unblanched vegetables: 3 months.
  • Beef, veal, chicken, turkey, venison, pork, rabbit, or cured meat: 3 months.
  • Prepared soups and sauces: 3 months.
  • Prepared meals, bread, and cakes: 6 months.
  • Whitefish: 6 months.
  • Fruit: 6 months.
  • Unsalted butter: 6 months.
  • Vacuum-sealed fish: 1 year.
  • Blanched vegetables: 1 year.
  • Salted butter: 1 year.
  • Ice cream: 1 year.

Selecting the proper cut at the meat counter will greatly impact how your finished dish tastes. First, check the color. Beef should be bright red, pork should look pinkish-red, and chicken should be pink. Avoid any meat that has a gray or brown tinge.

Fat adds flavor to the meat. In red meat, you want some marbling throughout. Fat is white in younger animals and yellower in older animals. A cut from an older animal has a more mature flavor, though one from a younger animal is more tender.

Avoid any packages that have excess liquid or obvious swelling of the plastic. A pool of liquid can indicate that the meat was not stored properly. Bacteria releases gases that cause packaging to swell.

Stocking your pantry with long-lived staples is a good way to safeguard your family against unexpected events. This strategy will also ensure that you can always pull something together for dinner even if you haven't gone shopping recently. Some items can last for years. These foods can be kept for the following times:
  • Powdered milk: 18 months.
  • Beef jerky: 1-2 years.
  • Canned produce: 1-2 years past the "best by" date.
  • Dry pasta: 1-2 years past the "best by" date.
  • Peanut butter: 2 years.
  • Canned or vacuum packaged tuna: 3-5 years past the "best by" date.
  • Dark chocolate: 2-5 years.
  • Honey: Indefinitely.
  • Dried beans or white rice: Indefinitely.
  • Brown rice: 6-8 months.

Organic farms control pests and weeds using natural means such as composting and biodiversity. Conventional farms rely on chemicals to supply nutrients, manage pests, and kill weeds. Organic meat products come from animals that have access to the outdoors, get at least 30% of their nutrition from grazing, and consume organic foods.

The USDA certifies organic food as:
  • 100% Organic: Whole foods or multi-ingredient foods that are completely organic.
  • Organic: Made from at least 95% organic ingredients.
  • Made with Organic: Contains at least 70% organic ingredients.
Save money when you shop at home through Instacart and avoid impulse buying. With your Instacart shopper selecting your items, you'll get everything that's on your list and nothing that isn't.
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