I’ve been stepping away (or more like leaping away) from processed, boxed foods and bringing in more whole fresh foods, but there has been one side-effect that’s hard to deal with: food wastage. The thing is, an apple will not last as long as a jar of apple sauce… and we often end up with a garbage full of spoiled produce. Enough of that! I’ve put together a few tips to help us keep our food fresher, for longer:
In or out of the fridge? Depends on the fruit!
- Avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop. For sweeter tasting fruit: it’s always best to allow fruit to fully ripen first before storing them in the refrigerator.
- The exception are grapes, citrus, and berries which do not ripen, only deteriorate, and do better refrigerated right away.
- Bananas and apples will speed up the ripening of any nearby fruit – which is a good thing if you need it, but can ruin a bunch if you’re not careful!
I love the idea above of repurposing a magazine rack as a hanging fruit basket to save counter space!
Berries need a little extra attention!
Berries get their own category for being the most delicate (high-maintenance) of fruit!
- Berries (and grapes) have a dusty covering called a “bloom” which is a natural preservative, so best not to pre-wash them before storing away, or they might go bad quicker.
- We’ve all lost a punett to mold, so if you can’t get to your berries in time (2-4 days) – make sure to freeze them!
- A good trick is to freeze them flat first, before putting them in a container. This keeps them from becoming one big berry-ice-block, that you have to smash against the floor to break up. Yeah… that’s happened before!
- Tip: with your strawberries, if you plan to use them for smoothies – don’t cut off the green tops – blend them up too!. They provide vitamins and minerals just like any other leafy green!
- There is a definite divide between people on how they keep their leafy greens. One side has a more hands-on approach: wash, rinse, dry and wrap. The other side believe greens should be left alone: unwashed and put into the refrigerator the same way it arrived.
- Both sides agree that greens need to be fully dry and kept in the refrigerator!
- If your greens begin to wilt or look a bit limp, don’t give up on them! You can refresh them in an ice-bath to eat that day.
- If your supermarket greens & herbs come wrapped in plastic – reuse the same plastic for storage. If you prefer to keep plastic out of the fridge – use dry paper, dishcloths and glass containers.
- Wrap herbs loosely in plastic or paper and place them in the warmest part of the refrigerator (Near the front or in the door)
- Parsley, mint and coriander can be kept in water like a bouquet – just make sure their leaves do not get wet and cover it with a plastic bag or light dishcloth.
- Delicate herbs like Chives, Chervil and Basil can easily turn black – wrap it first in paper or dishcloth and then store it in a plastic bag or glass container.
- Root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, prefer a dry spot, away from moisture. A hard ask in Singapore!
- The image above shows them stored in a basket filled with sawdust to keep them very dry, but you can use any container that provides good ventilation.
- Try not to keep potatoes them in the refrigerator, the cold causes the starches to convert into sugars, giving them an unpleasantly sweet taste.
- Like all your root veg, onion & garlic do best out in a dry spot. I love this idea for keeping them in a repurposed steaming basket – it provides air circulation and looks good!
- If your garlic or onion sprout, the green shoot will have a bitter, unpleasant taste so you can either cut it out, or plant the bulb and let it grow!
Hope that helps you – I know it’s been helping me and I’m excited to say that I have not had to throw out a punett of berries in a very long time now!