Is feeding your family costing you more than it should? Are you constantly having to throw away mouldy items, and make an expensive dash to the shops to ‘stock up’? If so, you should consider ways of trying to make your food last longer. Luckily, Stephanie from Expert Home Tips is here to share some top ways of extending the life of fresh produce. Follow her tips to start saving money, time and eating healthier today! Refer to my old post on a subject for some more ideas on grocery saving.
1. Store fruit & vegetables as soon as possible
Heading straight home after a supermarket shop to unload your bags is paramount in making your fruit and veg last longer. If this really isn’t possible, pack cool bags packed with ice packs into your boot before you leave. Park in shaded areas, and store the bags out of direct sunlight to keep your shopping fresh.
2. Keep vegetables fresher for longer by removing their stalks
The leafy stalks on your beetroot may look awfully farmer’s market chic, but they won’t do beetroot bulbs any favours. Stalks draw up any moisture from the roots of your vegetables, leaving them dry, dehydrated, and wrinkled. To avoid this, cut any stalks off of veg before storing them. This will help make your vegetables last longer.
3. Avoid storing food in certain areas of the fridge
Depending on how well your fridge functions, you may find some areas are colder than others. It’s not uncommon to occasionally find ice inside, especially if the temperature is too low. Some vegetables, such as salad leaves will quickly turn bad in icy conditions, as they will freeze and go soggy. Bags of mixed salad can be surprisingly expensive, so make sure you store them correctly.
4. How to keep cut avocado & apples from going brown
Avocados are pretty expensive as it is – make sure you get your money’s worth. A simple trick to prevent them from going brown is adding some acidity, in the form of lemon juice. Spritzing a bit of juice over the exposed fruit surfaces will help it keep fresher (and greener) for longer.
5. Why you need to keep your fridge clean
A bit of carrot dryness is bearable, but when fluff starts to appears, there’s no salvaging them. In order to stop fruit and vegetables from going mouldy, make sure your fridge is clean. There’s no need to completely disinfect every day, but once a month, when it’s more-or-less empty before your weekly shop, wipe it down with hot, soapy water. In the meantime, wipe up spills and splashes. This will prevent the transferring of bacteria from fridge shelves to food, so there’ll be less chance of mould growth.
7. Revive salad leaves with this food hack
No need to spend money on salad bags every couple of days. Limp-looking leaves can be revived with a quick, ‘cold bath.’ Cut off any really brown or soggy leaves, fill your clean sink or a large container with cold water, and throw the salad in. Give it a gentle stir and leave to sit for at least twenty minutes. Dry the leaves with some paper towel, and they’ll be fresh and good to eat in time for lunch – no excuse to opt for that burger, then!
8. Throw rotten items away immediately to prevent bacteria transfer
Just as a dirty fridge will lead to bacteria transfer to your fruit and veg, mouldy food will do the same.
Don’t ignore the stench flooding from your fridge on every open – to make fruit and veg last longer, remove any food that goes bad immediately. Fail to do so, and bacteria will spread to your fresh produce.
9. Separate certain fruit & vegetables to prevent them from spoiling
Placing certain fresh produce alongside others could be costing you serious money.
When some foods ripen, they give off a gas called ethylene. Ethylene gas, when in contact with other fruit and veg, causes it to over ripen, turning it soft and spotty. This is easily prevented, it’s a simple matter of separating the ones that give of ethylene, such as bananas, mangoes and tomatoes, from those that are ethylene-sensitive, such as apples, broccoli and green beans. For a full list of Ethylene and non-ethylene-producing foods, take a look at Real Simple’s list.
10. Make bananas last longer by wrapping ends in cling film
Bananas are relatively cheap as fruits go, but they can start to brown extremely quickly. To keep them yellow for longer, wrap the ends (the brown bit where the bananas join) in cling film.
11. Store onions in pantyhose
Onions are one of the cheapest vegetables to buy and also keep fresh, providing you do it right. Store onions in pantyhose, and you’ll be able to use them for up to six months.
12. Make mushrooms last longer by storing them in brown bags
Some vegetables like a humid environment, whereas mushrooms fair better where it’s dry. Store them in a brown paper bag in your fridge, and the paper will absorb any excess water, preventing it from reaching your mushrooms.
14. Store salad leaves in a container with a paper towel
Salad leaves are one of the most difficult things to keep fresh. Although the packets claim they’ll keep for a week, once open it’s a different story.
To make your open salad bag last as long as possible, wash, dry and store alongside a paper towel in an airtight container. Salad leaves don’t take well to humid air. By placing a paper towel in with them, it will absorb all that excess moisture, leaving salad crisp and dry.
13. Make cut vegetables last longer by storing them in water
Cooking for one can be surprisingly expensive. Learn to keep half used vegetables crisp to save money.
Keep cut pieces of root vegetables submerged in fresh water in your fridge to prevent them from drying out.
15. Where to store fruit & veg to make them last longer
Inconveniently, each fruit and vegetable reacts uniquely to different climates. It’s important to get to know what they like best if you want to prolong their shelf life and save money. Some vegetables, such as potatoes and squash, fair best when kept on the countertop or at room temperature, while others, such as berries, may spoil if left here overnight. For a comprehensive list of what fresh produce to store where, head over to the Mint Life site.
16. Wrap celery in aluminium foil to prolong its life
Celery – the one food that takes more calories to eat than it contains. It also seems to brown as soon as you get it home. The trick to tasty, crunchy, fresh tasting celery it to wrap the individual stick in aluminium foil. This food hack has a record of prolonging the life for up to 2 weeks – impressive stuff!
17. Store potatoes with apples to prevent them from sprouting
Turns out ‘an apple a day’ isn’t just beneficial for our health, but our potato’s shelf life too. The ethylene gas that apples give off is thought to prevent your potatoes from sprouting and help keep them fresh for longer.
18. Make berries last longer by rinsing them with vinegar
Berries are full of beneficial antioxidants, but they aren’t half expensive! By washing raspberries, strawberries and other berries in 1 cup vinegar and 3 cups water before storing, they’ll stay fresher for longer.
The acidic taste won’t linger – promise!