Tired of spoiled strawberries, green potatoes and wilted leaves? Or do you want to find out the secret to longer lasting tomatoes?
At Asda, we're very conscious about combating food waste. In fact we've introduced our popular Wonky Veg Boxes to help do just that. But did you know that as a nation, we still waste (wait for it) a colossal 7m tonnes of food a year?
It doesn't have to be this way. With a few simple storage tweaks, you can lengthen the life of your groceries, reduce landfill, and save on food bills and those stinky black bags. To help, we've rounded up 10 handy hacks for keeping your food fresh. They're so easy that you'll soon be wondering how you ever survived without them.
Ever opened a bag of salad leaves only to find out next day that they've wilted? Pre-packed leaves wilt because moisture gets trapped in the plastic that they're stored in.
Thankfully there's an easy way to combat this – with a little bit of kitchen roll. Either wrap any leftover leaves in kitchen roll and refrigerate, or if you don't want to remove them from the bag, simply add some paper towels to help absorb excess moisture as they chill.
Finally, you can easily bring any limp leaves back to life by plunging them in cold water. (Hint: This trick also works well on peppers!)
Sods law means that while berries are one of the most expensive fruits, they also spoil the quickest – which is why it's important to preserve them. You can do this easily by washing berries in a solution of water with just a bit of vinegar (1 part vinegar to three parts water), before drying and popping them in the fridge. The vinegar kills off the mould spores and bacteria that turn berries fuzzy.
When you think they’re about to go off, most berries (strawberries excluded) also freeze and defrost well. Wash, dry and separate each berry onto a flat surface in the freezer for 20-30 mins. Once frozen individually, you can store them all in a freezer bag together.
Eggs aren’t refrigerated in store because the temperature is constant there, but you can’t guarantee such things at home. Instead, it’s best to keep eggs in the fridge, away from other foods.
Not sure if your eggs have gone off? Do the water test. Just fill a bowl with cold water and place your eggs in the bowl. If they touch the bottom they're safe to eat, but if they float to the surface, they're no longer fresh and shouldn’t be consumed.
There's a reason greengrocers use paper not plastic bags to hold their wares, and it’s not tradition. It’s actually to stop moisture ruining their veg.
In particular, moisture is a slime sentence for mushrooms – so immediately take them out of their plastic tubs or bags and store them in paper bags instead and they’ll last a lot longer. No paper? No worries. Just use kitchen roll instead.
Of course, mushrooms can also dry out if you're not careful, but please don’t chuck them out as they’re still good to eat. All you have to do to bring them back to life is blast them with a quick rinse in cold water.
The no. 1 rule with tomatoes is do NOT store tomatoes in the fridge. This kills their flavour and juicy texture – they thrive in hot Mediterranean countries, don’t forget! Instead, keep them away from other fruits, on a counter somewhere warm or near natural light, such as on a windowsill 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.
To make veggies such as carrots, celery and radishes last longer, it's all about the prep. As soon as you get them home, chop them up before storing them in water in the fridge. This should keep them crisp for a long time, and bonus point, you can just grab one out to munch on whenever you fancy it!
If you’re not into all that prep, another tip is to remove the plastic and wrap them in aluminium foil instead. The foil lets the gas that spoils your veggies escape, rather than trapping it in with them like plastic does.
Apples (and potatoes)
Apples are a funny one, as they have more of an effect on the fruits and veggies you store them with than themselves. This is because Apples give off a lot of ethylene gas, which is basically the gas that causes foods to spoil – so keep them out of the fruit bowl.
All that is, except for potatoes, which actually love ethylene gas – in fact, it actually helps to keep them from turning green! So put at least one apple in your bag of potatoes to help them last longer.
The trick to making bananas last the whole week is to separate them from each other, before wrapping their stems in Clingfilm. This is because the ethylene gas bananas release as they are ripening is mainly released from the stem. If allowed to escape, it will spread down the banana, speeding up the process if they're all bunched together.
Had some Cheddar but not using it for a while? Rather than allow mould to settle in, rub butter on the cut parts of hard cheeses to prevent them from drying out. Genius!
The process of covering foods in fat for protection against mould works well with other foods too, such as rubbing exposed butternut squash flesh with vegetable oil.
Fresh herbs are probably the worst kinds of offenders when it comes to food waste. In fact, they tend to go off as soon as you open the packet! The trick here is to treat fresh herbs like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, after all, they are plants! Immediately take herbs out of their packaging and instead store them in a glass of water on the windowsill so they can catch some light. Bonus point: you can make this look pretty too with some choice vases.
When they're finally on the turn, freeze them as part of olive oil ice cubes. Then you can just add them to a hot pan and wait until the oil cooks down when you need them.
Remember, food should not be eaten after the 'use by' date, but it can be eaten or frozen right up to it. For more info and advice, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com and share your food storage tips by using #goodliving on social media.