How To Keep Your Food Fresh And Lasting Longer
Did you know the average household throws out a whopping $3,800 worth of groceries each year? The most common reason? Fruit and vegetables going off before they can be used. With these simple tips, we guarantee your food will stay fresher for longer.
How you store your fruit and vegetables is the determining factor of how long your produce will last. Before you begin putting away groceries after you return home from shopping, line the bottom of the crisper drawer in your fridge with some paper towel. This will help to absorb excess moisture and keep your produce fresh.
Consider purchasing some fruit and vegetable storage bags from your supermarket. These degradable bags will prolong the life of your produce by drawing out gases that cause food to deteriorate. You can get a box of 10 for $3. However, some vegetables, like mushrooms, will last longer kept in paper bags. Leafy greens like lettuce and kale should be washed, dried and wrapped gently in some paper towel before they are placed and in a bag as well. Remember to keep herbs, spring onions and asparagus just like you would flowers, in a glass of water as it helps them thrive for much longer.
Bonus Tip: To extend the life of your berries and stop mould and fuzz from growing, wash them in a mix of one part vinegar and three parts water before storing them in the fridge.
But not all fruits and vegetables should be stored in the fridge. For example, tomatoes and avocados should be kept in the fruit bowl until they are ripe and then transferred to the fridge. Otherwise, you are likely to kill their flavour. Potatoes, onions, garlic and squash are other vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated. Instead, store them in a dark cool place, like your pantry, and they will last for weeks. Remember to keep apples out of the fruit bowl. Their ethylene gas is bad for other fruits and can cause them to go off earlier than they should. On the other hand, putting one in with your potatoes will help to keep them firmer for longer. Finally, wrap the stems of the bananas in a bit of cling wrap and only break one off when you are going to eat it. This will prolong the life of your bananas by a few days.
Other tips to avoid food wastage:
Squeeze lemon or lime juice on cut fruit and vegetables to stall the browning process
Leave enough room between items in your fridge for optimal airflow and temperature consistency
Store your dry food in airtight containers instead of their original packaging
Store your flours and rices with a bay leaf in the container. The smell of bay leaf can deter weevils from contaminating your food
Keep milk at the back of your fridge instead of in the door to prolong its life
Turn containers of ricotta or sour cream upside for a vacuum sealing effect, it will help to stop mould from growing
Store eggs in their original carton inside the refrigerator instead of in the door
If you are whipping up a recipe at the end of the week are you are lacking ingredients, you can easily substitute what you have in place of the required ingredient, saving you time and money. If you need spinach, swap it for some kale or why not make a pear crumble instead of apple? This is one surefire way to make sure you aren’t wasting perfectly good produce.
Once food has been cooked and it’s time to store away the leftovers, be sure to write the date on the top of the container. This will give you a constant reminder that it needs to be eaten every time you open the fridge. Not in the mood for plain rice or leftover cooked chicken? Get creative and figure out a way to reuse them in a new dish instead of throwing them away. Chicken tacos anyone?
Here are some other ways to reuse food scraps or produce that is about to go off:
Turn old herbs into a homemade pesto
Put old bananas in the freezer for smoothies or banana bread
Boil up old vegetables to make a broth
Grate old bread to make breadcrumbs
Plant the ends of cut vegetables in the garden to grow
Start a compost bin