Did you know that up to 40% of the average household garbage bin is food? And for the average Australian household, $1,036 of food is thrown away each year.
Every time we throw away food, we’re adding up the amount of money wasted on buying them in the first place. Is it possible to make fresh produce last longer? Try these tips…
Do: Wrap the stems of the bananas in clingfilm when you first buy them and keep bananas together as long as possible. Only snap one off when you’re ready to eat it. This should keep the bananas ripe but not rotten.
Avoid: Separating bananas before eating as this makes the brown much quicker.
Do: Wash berries in vinegar to kill the mold which make them go bad. Or, mix 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and spray on the berries. Soak in fresh water for about 15 minutes and then dry completely before storing in the fridge with some paper towels underneath.
Avoid: Keeping them exposed in the fridge as they can dry up really fast.
Do: Store them on the counter to allow them to ripen to their full potential. Other veggies that shouldn’t live in the fridge include potatoes and onions, although they should be stored in a cool dark place rather than within the sun’s reach.
Avoid: Refrigerating tomatoes as their juicy texture doesn’t survive so well in the cold.
Do: Put an apple in your bag of potatoes. Apples produce ethylene gas, which keeps potatoes fresher and firmer, and ready for mashed potato duty.
Avoid: Keeping apples with other fruits and veggies because the same ethylene gas is bad for almost everything else in the fridge.
Do: Wrap celery in foil as it lets the gas that spoils your celery escape, rather than trapping it like plastic, so the celery stays crisp for a longer time.
Avoid: Keeping celery in the plastic wrapper you get from the supermarket as they will last a week or two at most.
Do: Keep avocados out until they’re ripe (you know they’re there when they give a little when pressed), then put them in the fridge to halt the process. Once you’ve cut them, keep the stone in the remaining half squeeze on a little lemon juice to preserve them even further.
Avoid: Keeping them in the fridge.
Do: Put your onions in tights, yes, the ones that you would normally wear! If you’ve got an old pair that have seen better days lying around, put them in one at a time, knot between each bulb and keep them in a dark, dry place until you need them.
Avoid: Keeping onions in the fridge as lack of air circulation will cause them to spoil.
Do: Line your crispers with a few sheets of paper towels to absorb the condensation that veggies generate as they chill. The paper keeps them fresher for longer, and it keeps your fridge cleaner without any extra effort, because no one wants to spend their hard-earned Sunday wiping up cucumber gunk.
Avoid: Keeping salads in sealed bag without paper towels as this can make your fresh foods wilt much faster.
Spring onions and chives
Do: Chop them up and store in a plastic water bottle in the freezer. When you’re ready to use some, just pull this out and sprinkle into your cooking.
Avoid: Keeping chopped spring onions or chives in tubs as they will collect moisture and spoil easily.
Do: Keep mushrooms in a paper bag as this keeps them clean and dry. If you leave them too long and find they get too dry, give them a quick rinse in the sink and they’ll plump right back up.
Avoid: Storing them in the usual plastic tubs because moisture is a slime sentence for mushrooms.
Do: Treat herbs like a bouquet. Store the rest of the bunch in a glass of water on the windowsill. If you’re hosting dinner guests, you could even put a couple of different varieties on the table in place of flowers. Before they wilt, you can finely chop the herbs, add them to an empty ice cube tray with olive oil over the top and freeze until you need them. To use, just add to a hot pan until the oil cooks down.
Avoid: Keeping fresh herbs in the bag they came in as they will rot very quickly.
Do: Keep raisins airtight as they take years to actually go bad. Store them in the jar and they will be good for a long time.
Avoid: Exposing raisins to air as they can go dry and rubbery.