Fresh one day, brown, mouldy and wilted the next. Sometimes it seems like you’re throwing away more fresh food than you’re actually consuming, which is a big problem for your wallet and the environment.
But as the world shifts its focus to sustainability a plethora of environmentally friendly products have hit the market to help preserve the food on your shelf and reduce waste. Here are some of our favourite eco-friendly products — all of them available on the Starts at 60 Marketplace — to help you do your bit to help the planet and save you a few dollars in the long run.
Storing foods in plastic wrap or plastic bags from the supermarket locks in moisture, which can create a haven for mould growth. Instead, fruit and vegetables should be washed and kept cool and dry. To ensure any pesticide residue is removed, wash your produce with a two parts water, one part vinegar solution, then wipe dry with a clean tea towel.
As well as creating a breeding ground for mould, plastics contain harmful chemicals that can make their way into your food. While not all plastics are bad, research shows some contain small molecules that can migrate into food as they break down over time. According to research by Choice there are two plastics of concern: Polycarbonate, which is often used to make food storage containers and bottles and may release BPAs into food, and PVC which is used to make bottles, cling wrap and the seals for screw-cap jars, and can release phthalates which have been linked to breast cancer, asthma and reproductive issues for women and fertility issues for men. Research shows BPAs and phthalates are endocrine disruptors, meaning they can mimic the body’s natural hormones and thereby cause a raft of health problems.
A great alternative to Tupperware or cling film is the Silicone Stretch Lid. It creates a vacuum seal that keeps food fresher longer and is made of durable silicone that lasts for years and is recognised as being free of BPA’s and BPS’ (another plastic molecule that may have similar health risks to BPA). The lids are leakproof, stackable and suitable for the fridge, freezer, microwave, dishwasher and even oven (up to up to 200°C).
Ditch the plastic wrap for good with these Beeswax Food Wraps. They’re reusable, re-washable, compostable and breathable, meaning they’ll keep your produce fresh for longer, and are a great way to store leftovers and half-used fruits and veggies in the fridge.
The beeswax wraps from White Magic are 100 per cent organic cotton and contain Australian beeswax, Australian jojoba oil and organic coconut oil.
Make the switch to reusable organic cotton produce bags and you’ll never need to use another supermarket plastic bag again. Whether you take them with you to the shop or switch them over once you get home, the 100 per cent organic cotton is lightweight and includes a drawstring to keep fruit and veg fresh and secure.
The machine-washable bags can be used for purchasing directly from your bulk stores for buying rice, almond meal, beans, pasta, bread, fresh produce, as well as non-food items like toiletries or undergarments.
Bananas (and maybe avocados) are often the worst offenders in our fruit baskets, but this nifty bag provides the perfect amount of insulation and air needed to stop the flesh over-ripening, while the cushioning liner stops the fruit bruising. The banana bag will extend the life of your fruit by up to two weeks and can store up to eight bananas.
Did you know you’re not supposed to store potatoes in the fridge? The cold can turn the starch to sugar, which affects the way the potatoes taste and cook. However, one of the pitfalls about keeping your potatoes in the cupboard is that they sprout faster and often cause the smell of dirt to permeate through your pantry. The best way to knock both these problems on the head is to use a specialised potato bag.
The breathable linen-look fabric allows air to circulate around the potatoes, while the blackout lining blocks light, slowing down the ageing process. Plus, the easy access front flap helps to reduce waste by giving access to the older potatoes first.
Tip: Avoid storing potatoes near onions, as they both emit moisture and gas that cause the other to spoil faster.
These incredibly versatile Silicone Zip Lock Food Pouches are great for food storage but also have myriad of other nifty uses that will help you ditch the plastic and increase the shelf life of your produce. From steaming veggies, marinating or seasoning meats, storing single portions of meals, carrying snacks or even your supermarket shopping, we promise you’ll be using these so often you’ll be back to buy more!
These food-grade zip lock bags are entirely BPA free, Phthalate-free and PVC free and are impermeable, non-porous and leakproof, so they won’t retain any odour and can be used time and time again.
Just like fruit and vegetables, storing fresh bread in plastic will create the perfect warm, damp environment to encourage mould. Instead store your bread in one of these beautifully designed bread bags, which includes a polyethene liner that will also prevent it from drying out and going stale.
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