As a mum and a wife, shopping for food is one of the most important jobs that I do. Not only is it because I want to prepare healthy meals for my family, but where we choose to shop and what we choose to buy can have a massive effect on our family’s finances. So, bearing all that in mind, how can we make the food that we buy last longer? After all, cutting down on waste is a great way to save money.
OK, let’s start by forgetting about any freezer food that we have bought, they can obviously take care of themselves. The fresh food that I like to keep in my fridge and cupboards as my staple foods, these are the foods that I want to last for as long as possible. I get so annoyed when I am in the middle of cooking a meal and I go to get the potatoes or peppers that I bought just a few days ago, only to find them overripe and past their best.
So, are there any tricks that we can use to stop this from happening? Well, yes, there are. Here are just a few simple tips for storing food that I have always struggled to keep fresh.
Onions have the ability to ripen other fruit and vegetables, so if you were to store them with potatoes, for example, then you would find that the potatoes deteriorate at a much quicker rate than if they were kept separate.
Another tip is something that I have done for years, oops! Don’t keep onions in the fridge. When I thought that I was preserving them, I was actually making them turn into a bitter and mushy vegetable that nobody wants to use.
To help your onions and other vegetables last longer, then, keep onions at room temperature, on their own and preferably out of the sun.
Bananas are a huge hit with kids, especially since the birth of the banana mad Minions! As much as we love being stocked up on these yummy funny fruits, it’s good to bear in mind that bananas can also have the same effect on the fruit around it as onions do. If you keep your bananas in a fruit bowl amongst your plums and oranges, then they will become overripe a lot sooner than you may have planned for. There are actually banana stands* that you can buy to keep them away from your other fruit and veg to help them stay fresher for longer. However, knowing this little fact can also become quite handy if you need to speed up the ripening process of some fruit, ready for the kids packed lunches.
While I’ve never had an issue keeping bananas fresh, I do still find this information really helpful in preserving my other fruits. Plus, bananas don’t ever have to go to waste because once they have become overripe, they are then perfect for baking banana bread. 🙂
Cucumber is another one of those fruits that we always have in, but sometimes becomes soft and squishy just days after purchasing. This boils down to where we choose to store them and, like the onions, cucumbers don’t like being in the fridge. This is a huge shock for me because I have always thought that the coolness of the fridge helps to keep them fresh, oh how wrong I was. They actually hate the cold and so should be kept in room temperature.
Whether you bake your own bread or buy it from the supermarket, bread doesn’t have a very long shelf life. The first thing we need to know here is that getting the most out of your bread really depends on what type of bread it is.
If you bake your own bread, it is a good idea to bake more than one loaf and eat one of them on the day, if possible, and then freeze the other once it has cooled. You can then bring it back to life by warming it up in the oven.
If you are unable to use your bread on the day of purchase, then getting the right type of bag to store it in is vital. If you have a standard soft crusted bread then keeping it in a plastic bag (that is at room temperature) and in a cool dry cupboard will help it to stay fresher for longer. If you have a thick crusted bread then a paper bag will be best and again, keep it in a cool dark cupboard or in a bread bin*.
So there we have it, 4 simple ways to keep your food fresher for longer. It really isn’t rocket science, but once we know these great tips we can hopefully start saving some pennies by cutting down on our waste.
Do you have any tips on how to keep our food fresher for longer?