5 Foods You Should Never Buy at the Last Minute

It’s a situation most of us are familiar with: You come home from work hungry for dinner, only to find an empty pantry and refrigerator.

Of course, you can order deliver, or visit your favorite neighborhood. But eating out and ordering in can be expensive, and on busy nights like Friday or Saturday, it can sometimes take forever. Depending on where you live, you may have limited options for foods that don’t hold up well in transit. Needless to say, cooking at home is healthier.

You might think that a quick trip to the grocery store and something to take home would be faster. But if you want to run to the store, it is better not to buy at the last minute. These foods take less time at home before they are ready to eat.

RELATED: 7 Foods You Should Never Buy on Sale


If you’re craving fresh guacamole tonight, you’re better off buying pre-made guac from the grocery store than hard, bright green avocados. They will take a few days to soften at home before they are ready to be sliced ​​and mashed.

On the other hand, if you can find a soft and ripe avocado in the pile, you’re in luck. Dark avocados, which give slightly when squeezed gently and are dark in color, should be creamy and soft when mashed into guac. Fruit that’s still hard and brightly colored is a bad choice for a last-minute meal.

Frozen raw rib meat

Frozen beef can take a full 12 hours to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Although there are shorter ways to thaw meat FDA, such as running it under cold water, and even this method can take an hour or more. Larger cuts of meat will take longer to defrost, so if you’re in a hurry, it’s best to buy pre-portioned portions.

Like frozen beef, chicken and turkey will need more than an hour to completely thaw under running water or in the refrigerator. However, frozen poultry can be cooked from frozen, so expect to add about 50% to the cooking time. FDA guidelines.

heirloom tomatoes

Tomatoes, especially large, thin-skinned heirlooms, are very tender when ripe. As a result, there is a high chance of damage to the delicate fruit on the way home from the store. For safe transportation, choose tomatoes that still need some time to ripen and store them in a drawer lined with dark cloth for a few days so they are sweet, juicy and ready to eat.

unripe green bananas

If your grocery store only sells firm, green bananas, don’t expect to be able to serve or eat them that day. In fact, depending on how green they are, it can take two to three days of sunshine and soft yellow fruit to sweeten your morning oatmeal. Of course, if you wait too long, the bananas will also darken and soften more than you’d like. Of course, you can always whip it up afterwards banana bread!

frozen fish

Quick-cooking seafood such as shrimp and scallops can be cooked directly from frozen, but it’s best to thaw large pieces of fish before dinner. They melt faster than meat or chicken because the meat is more tender. To speed things up, run them under a cold running tap. For a small fillet, running water will dissolve the protein in less than an hour. But if you’re in a real time crunch, it’s best to opt for fresh seafood.

Lizzie Briskin

Lizzie is a trained chef, food writer, and recipe developer for print and digital publications such as Insider, Real Simple, and the Chicago Tribune. Read more about Lizzy