8 ways to keep food fresher for longer
There are many easy ways to keep food fresher for longer. Did you know that we throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year in the UK, according to WRAP? And almost three quarters of that is food we could have eaten.
Not only is food wastage bad for the environment, but you’re literally throwing your money in the bin. WRAP also estimates that the average family throws away £730 on food wastage.
We can prevent food waste by taking steps to keep the food we buy fresher for longer. Here’s how.
How to keep food fresher for longer
Super salad saver
Fresh vegetables and salad leaves are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to food waste.
So, if you’re fed up with soggy salad bags being thrown in the bin, there’s an easy trick to keep leaves crisp.
After purchase, empty the salad bag into a container with a lid and place a couple of sheets of kitchen towel on top of the leaves to absorb any moisture.
You can also do this with whole lettuce too. Simply tear off the leaves, rinse and dry before storing in the same way.
Freeze freeze freeze
Fruits or vegetables reaching their final days? Chopping them up for the freezer can extend their shelf life. In fact, storing ginger in the freezer makes it easier to peel and grate.
Except onions and peppers, most veggies need to be blanched before freezing. There are some veggies that just aren’t suitable for freezing either. This includes chicory, cucumber, endive, kale, lettuce, radishes and artichokes. Most fruits can be frozen raw.
If you find yourself wasting a lot of fruit and vegetables, buying frozen in the first place can help you to cut down on what’s heading in the bin.
Put veggies and herbs in jars of water
Veg, such as asparagus, and bunches of fresh cut herbs, like parsley, can be stored in vases of water to keep them hydrated, just like you would with fresh flowers. Just make sure to change the water daily to keep things fresh.
Alternatively, you can wrap the ends in dampened kitchen towel for the same reason.
Vinegar bath for berries
Berries are a firm favourite among the Wellbeing team as they’re packed with antioxidants. However, they are often one of the first items in our fridges to end up in the bin.
Rinsing berries in one part vinegar and three parts water can stop mould developing. White or apple cider vinegar works well here. Make sure to allow the berries to dry on kitchen towel before leaving in the fridge.
Tactically store food
Keep bananas out of your fruit bowl as they emit the gas ethene, which ripens other fruit faster.
Avocados, apples and pears all produce this gas too, so store away from other fruit and veg to help produce last longer.
Don’t forget about dry produce
Flour, pasta and other dry store cupboard essentials tend to have a longer shelf life.
But storing these items in airtight containers rather than their original packaging can help stretch that further.
Move ripe fruit
Keep fruit in your fruit bowl until it has reached the desired level of ripeness, before moving into the fridge.
The cooler temperature of the fridge will help to slow down the ripening process. While it won’t make fruit last forever, it will buy you an extra few days to use them up.
Planning your meals for the week can help to avoid food wastage. Only buy ingredients you need, and take a look at the use-by dates when unpacking.
Prioritise eating food that will go off towards the start of the week, so you don’t end up with soggy salad leaves for dinner by Friday.