To help cut down on both food waste and costs it’s important to try and keep your groceries fresh as long as possible. Fortunately there are a number of simple, tried and true tricks for keeping food fresh longer, from your bananas to your flour.
Put paper towels with your vegetables
Place a few paper towels in the crisper of your refrigerator to absorb the moisture vegetables create as they chill. The paper will soak up the extra condensation that causes vegetables to wilt.
Leave bunches of bananas together
To keep bananas from quickly browning, leave the bunch as is and wrap the stem in a bit of tin foil. The idea is that wrapping the stems helps limit the amount of ethylene gas the bananas emit which speeds up the ripening process.
Protect your herbs
We’ve already mentioned that soft herbs, including parsley or basil, stay fresh longer when kept on the counter in a glass with about an inch of water (read that post here). However for non-leafy herbs, such as sage, rosemary and thyme, it’s best to wrap them in a moistened paper towel then keep them in a shopping bag in the refrigerator.
Make herbed olive oil
Once your well-kept herbs are finally starting to wilt, chop them up and place them in an ice cube tray. Pour olive oil on top of the herbs and freeze for easy herbed olive oil cubes to have on hand any time. When a recipe calls for oil you can just heat the cube up in a hot pan.
Keep garlic in the dark
Fresh garlic bulbs should be stored in a mesh or paper bag – not sealed in plastic – and kept in a cool place away from sunlight. With plenty of air and a dark environment, fresh bulbs should last for weeks without drying out.
Take just a little bit of lemon juice
Instead of slicing open an entire lemon if you just need a little bit of juice, poke a hole in the fruit with a skewer and squeeze out the juice. This will keep the rest of the lemon from drying out as quickly as it would have if it were sliced.
Wash berries in vinegar
It may sound strange at first, but washing fresh raspberries, strawberries and other berries in a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water will help them stay fresh and delicious for days after their normal shelf life. Of course, you can also turn slightly overripe berries into jam or preserves to ensure they don’t go to waste.
Keep potatoes from sprouting
Normally you don’t want to keep apples (or bananas) with other fruit and vegetables since the apples emit ethylene gas which speeds up not only their ripening, but the ripening of the other produce they’re around. That said, when it comes to potatoes, storing them in a well-ventilated bag in a dark place actually helps prevent the potatoes from quickly sprouting after you buy them. You can still eat your potatoes if they’ve started to sprout as long as they’re still firm, just make sure to cut off the sprouted piece and don’t use the potatoes if they look withered or wrinkled.
Store your tomatoes stem-side down
Tomatoes are another fruit that should be kept out on the counter as keeping them in the refrigerator tends to dry them out and suck away their flavour. To make tomatoes last even longer, try placing them stem-side down on a flat surface.
Freeze your flour
When you buy new flour, seal it in a bag then place it in the freezer for a few days. This will kill any weevils or insect eggs that may be in the flour already.
Keep veggies crisp longer
To keep celery, carrots and radishes extra fresh, chop them up and place them in water in the refrigerator.
Save wine for cooking
We don’t know why you would have leftover wine, but if you have a bit of a bottle that you’re not going to drink up right away put the remaining wine in an ice cube tray and freeze. Like the herbed olive oil, next time a recipe calls for wine just use the frozen cubes.
Cover leftovers quickly
In most cases, leftovers should be packed and stored in the refrigerator within two hours of preparing. Try using Wax Wraps, our non-toxic, reusable beeswax wraps, to safely cover plates, dishes, cut vegetables and more without the chemicals of plastic wrap.
Don’t crowd the refrigerator
Cool air needs to stay circulating in your refrigerator to keep food at the proper temperature. If you stuff the fridge to the brim, then the air can’t circulate which can cause items to either get too hot or too cold.
What tips do you share with others about how to keep food fresh longer?