10 Genius Hacks to Make Food Last Longer
A trip to the grocery store is not everyone’s favorite task, especially when one has a tight schedule to deal with. That is why shopping in bulk is a more welcome hack to such people. But this can also prove not helpful if you have to throw away spoilt food just a few days after purchasing it. Besides, throwing away food is frustrating and costly.
If such a scenario resonates with you, have you taken a moment to assess how you are storing your food? You see, how long food stays fresh has a lot to do with how it is stored. There are many simple ways to store food for it to last longer. We have chosen 10 genius hacks in this regard to get you started.
1. Maintain your refrigerator
This one goes without saying. If your food in the fridge is going bad faster than it should, there is probably a problem with the functioning of the refrigerator. You must keep tabs with how your refrigerator is functioning so that you are in the know when something goes amiss.
Check whether it is maintaining the right temperature or if there is ice buildup in the freezer. Other signs of a faulty fridge would be condensation, hot motor, unfamiliar noise, or water on the floor. If you notice such signs, your fridge could need a replacement of a few parts. If you want to eliminate the problem you should consider parts replacement from a local refrigeration supply shop which you can even replace yourself, once you get them. Refrigeration parts from Cold Air Central, for instance, have sure helped me get my refrigerator back up and running for a long time.
2. Display your soft herbs like flowers
Herbs such as oregano, basil, and parsley don’t last long wrapped in plastic bags like how most of us store them. That is a sure recipe to have them get slimy and wilt much faster even when in the refrigerator. Rather than going through all the hassles of wrapping them, just fill a glass with water and place them there. Place the glass in an open area such as on the windowsill or kitchen counter. Don’t forget to change the water regularly so they stay fresh for longer. Besides, if you insist on storing them on your refrigerator, consider wrapping them with other alternatives to single-use plastic, and in turn, keep your food fresh, and reduce the use of plastic.
3. Place an apple in a bag of potatoes
We all love potatoes when they are fresh and firm for those favorite mashed dishes. It turns out that to make them maintain the firmness for longer and to prevent them from sprouting; all you need is to place an apple in the bag of potatoes. The ethylene gas produced by the apple is good at ensuring that the potatoes remain fresh for longer.
However, this gas doesn’t do the trick with other foods such as fruits and veggies. Be sure to keep them wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge and never in the fruit bowl.
4. Wash berries in vinegar
Berries are quite expensive, so you can imagine how much money you would be throwing away if they go bad in just a few days. Additionally, they tend to go bad much quickly, which is why you should really use this hack to prolong their shelf life.
Mix 1 cup vinegar with 4 cups of water and use the mixture to clean the berries. You will need to double the measuring if you have a large number of berries to wash. Be careful with the mixture so that you don’t affect the taste of the berries. After you are done, place them on a towel and allow them to air dry. Place them in a storage container and the refrigerator when they are completely dry.
5. Let the avocado ripen before refrigeration
Who doesn’t love avocados in their salads or a sandwich? That is why it can be frustrating to be met with a rock-hard fruit, or much worse, spoilt when you are salivating for a scrumptious meal of avocado.
Don’t put the fruit in the fridge when it hasn’t ripened. Allow them to ripen first and then put them in there to slow down the process. When you cut the fruit, preserve the remaining part by squeezing a little lemon juice on it.
6. Line Your Salad Drawer with Paper Towels
Veggies produce moisture as they chill. When this moisture is left to accumulate, it can speed up the wilting of your fresh foods. So the most effective way to keep this moisture from building up and to keep your fresh foods fresher for long is to cover your crisper with several sheets of kitchen rolls. On top of absorbing the condensation generated by the veggies, paper towels also help your fridge stay cleaner for long. This saves you from the hassles of having to clean your fridge every day.
7. Keep Tomatoes out of the Fridge
Tomatoes are versatile fruits that are used across the globe as vegetables. They add flavor and a nice juicy texture to almost everything, from salads to ketchup, soups, curry, dals, to rice. But if you want your tomatoes to retain their flavor together with their juicy flavor for long, don’t refrigerate them. Instead, place them on a counter where they can ripen to their maximum potential. Other veggies that you should keep out of the fridge include onions and potatoes – keep them in a cool dark place away from the sun’s reach.
8. Keep Your Bananas Together
How do you keep your bananas fresh for long? Do you package them into everyday portions immediately you get home from the store? Or do you leave them together as a bunch? The topic of banana storage has and continues to trigger heated debates across many forums and different social media platforms. But food experts recommend storing bananas together as a bunch as the most effective way to keep them fresh longer. In addition to that, you should wrap the stems with a cling wrap to reduce the rate at which the ethylene gas that fast-tracks banana ripening is released.
Fruits like peaches, apples, and avocadoes produce an excess amount of ethylene gas during their ripening process. These fruits often cause bananas to ripen prematurely. So don’t purchase a fruit bowl that comes with a banana hanger above. Instead, buy a separate banana hanger. Hanging your bananas avoids bruising and lowers the likelihood of oxygen getting into the banana flesh, which will speed up the ripening process. Once you use all these tricks, you’ll always enjoy perfectly ripe bananas.
9. Put Mushrooms in a Porous Paper Bag
Mushrooms can stay fresh for up to 7 days if you store them correctly. Put fresh, unwashed mushrooms in a porous paper bag and tie up the bag at the top. Then place the bag in your fridge’s main compartment. The paper bag will keep the mushrooms from getting moist or moldy by absorbing excess moisture. Don’t place mushrooms close to foods with intense aromas and flavors because they’ll soak them up like a sponge. Also, avoid placing other foods on top of the mushrooms. Keep in mind that squeezed, bruised mushrooms look unappealing and tend to go bad faster. Some mushrooms remain fresh in the fridge longer than others.
If you want to keep mushrooms in good condition for over a week, you can dry or freeze them. If you opt to dry them, a food dehydrator or a low-temperature oven will come in handy. Once completely dry, you can store them in an airtight container. If you choose to freeze them instead, cook them first and then put them in the freezer.
10. Keep Onions in Tights
If you have an old pair of tights lying around, you can use it to keep your onions fresh for longer. Insert them one by one, tie between each bulb, and store them in a cool, dry, and dark place. That way, you’ll prevent them from absorbing moisture. You’ll also keep them from sprouting or rotting faster. One study shows that the ideal temperatures for storing onions are 4-10°C.
Putting them in tights ensures there is adequate ventilation and averts rotting and molding. If you can’t find a pair of tights, a netted bag, open basket, or even a mesh bag will be a great alternative. As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t store onions in the fridge. But this applies only to whole onions; peeled, diced, or sliced onions can stay fresh for up to 10 days when stored correctly in a fridge.
Making your food last longer will not only save you money but will also greatly reduce your carbon footprint in the atmosphere. Be sure to use the above hacks to become a champion in preventing wastage that finds its way in the landfills.