One of the biggest wastes of money for many of us is the amount of food we throw away, so if there are ways to make food last longer we should be doing them. Unless you shop for fresh groceries every day, there’s just no telling how long things will stay fresh, despite the carefully chosen words on the packaging. There are some times you just don’t get around to using produce before it’s on the turn. Why not try some of these ways to make food last longer?
I love bananas but they are one of my biggest bug bears. Not only do they give off ethylene gas that hastens the deterioration of other fruit and veg they are stored next to, but they just don’t last long enough. What is a nice firm banana at the weekend is a floury, cotton wool texture by Thursday. While plastic wrap isn’t one of the ways to make food last longer that works for everything, using it to cover the crown of bananas – i.e. the bit where they meet – can prolong their life by 2-5 days.
Ginger is an excellent source of various nutrients and its cleansing properties have been harnessed in Chinese medicine for centuries. If you’re someone who likes to have ginger root on hand, cut it into reasonable sized pieces and store it in the freezer. It will not only last longer, but it will be so much easier to grate when frozen.
3. Glass Instead of Plastic
Tupperware was once hailed as the kitchen goddess’s savior. No longer. We now know that plastics aren’t the miracle product they once we lauded as. They contain harmful chemicals and they stain. Food will last longer if you store it in jars. Mason jars and Kilner jars are best.
Whilst I was searching for my tips to help food last longer, this is the one that most surprised me. Apparently onions have a real affinity with pantyhose. It seems that if you store your onions in pantyhose, they will last for up to 8 months.
I’d never heard of this one before but I’m guessing it’s kind of the same principle as lemon juice preventing oxidization. Make a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and ten parts water. “Wash” the berries in the solution, then drain and rinse, and put in the fridge. You won’t taste the vinegar because it has been diluted enough. Apparently it can make strawberries last up to 2 weeks and raspberries more than a week.
Here’s another of the tips to prolong the life of food which was new to me. To conserve cheese and prevent it drying out, smear a very light layer of butter on the cut sides. I guess it makes sense, seeing how they are both made of milk.
I loved it when I lived at home and my Dad grew tomatoes because you could always eat them at their very best. There are various ways to deal with tomatoes to keep them for as long as possible. For unripe tomatoes, store them stem side down in a paper bag or in a single layer in a cardboard box until they ripen. If you want to accelerate their ripening, store them with fruit. Ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature – not in the fridge – away from direct sunlight, not touching each other and stem side up. Overly-ripe tomatoes should be kept in the fridge but should be allowed to come back up to room temperature before you eat them.
Some ways to make food last longer involve cooking them first. This is perfectly true for nuts, and not only do they last longer, but they taste better too. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes (they should be toasty brown and fragrant). Store them in the freezer and use as required.
I never gave this a moment’s thought until I read this one. Why is it that all fridge manufacturers design fridges with doors where we put bottles and especially our cartons of milk? Milk is one of our everyday products that is very susceptible to temperature changes and therefore, is affected every time we open the door – and especially if we don’t close it immediately. To keep your milk fresh for longer, store it in a “safe” zone of the fridge.
I loved these tips for making food last longer. Food prices are constantly rising, and our levels of food waste are disgraceful, so I’m glad of any ways to prolong the life of food. How about you? Do you have any favorite tips to share?