Better Food Storage for Less Food Waste
Food waste is a global problem that simply cannot be ignored anymore. It negatively affects climate change, resource allocation, personal finances, and the economy.
However, the AMAZING news is that there are so many easy little steps that we can all start doing- right in our own homes- that will help make a sizeable dent in this massive problem.
Household food waste occurs for many reasons:
Sometimes, we simply over-shop, or over-cater.
Or our healthy eating intentions don’t match our consumption or cooking reality.
Other times, certain foods don’t meet our lofty aesthetic standards.
In other cases, food simply doesn’t stand a chance because of improper storage.
Today’s blog is about the last point- food storage. With simple adjustments like improving the way we store food, we can make a huge impact on how much food is wasted and save ourselves a bit of money in the process. I share today, some of the top tips I have collected along the way.
Food storage top tips:
Purchase some air-tight containers and glass or ceramic bowls and clips: This will ensure that you have enough storage containers on hand. There will no excuse to leave produce in plastic packaging or to rot and get soggy at the back of your fridge or pantry. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a kitchen geek. In the same way that I love using colourful crockery to present my cooked meals in, I also love having good-quality storage containers as well as beautiful bowls to store food in the fridge with. You can also get sealing clips that are colourful and fun, which make them a joy to use.
Don’t wash produce until you are ready to eat it: This includes items such as berries, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms or salad leaves. Pre-washing will cause the produce to be damp and will encourage quicker spoiling. Store fresh produce in the fridge properly and unwashed. Wash a portion of your produce just when you are ready to use it.
Store fruit and vegetables separately: When many fruits approach maturity, they release ethylene. Ethylene promotes the ripening of fruit. Many vegetables are ethylene sensitive. This means that it would be unwise to store fruit and vegetables together in the fridge as the fruit would promote quicker spoiling of the vegetables. Separate drawers or compartments is best.
Store salad leaves properly: Bagged salad is a double-edged sword. We buy pre-washed, cut-up, pre-prepared salad leaves and mixes in order to save time. However, being bagged in plastic means that they spoil very quickly. Leaves and veggies need to breathe, so a muslin bag is best. Don’t have one? Use a pillow case instead. Alternatively, an air-tight container also works well to keep leaves from going rank and slimy.
Freeze your nuts: The oils in tree nuts go rancid very quickly when they are exposed to heat, light and air. You can stop this from happening by storing them in the fridge or freezer in glass containers as soon as you get home. You can get between six and twelve months of life from a big container of nuts, if it’s stored in the freezer.
Store herbs properly: Chances are, recipes will only call for a small amount of the herb bunch you purchase. How many times have you left the rest of the herb bunch in the fridge only to throw it out a couple of days later because it has gone all wilted and shrivelled? Herbs will last for weeks if you wrap them in some damp paper towel before storing them in your fridge. Even better, wrap them up and then store in a sealed container and they will last for weeks. If you know that you aren’t going to be using any more of them any time soon, finely chop and store with oil in an ice cube tray. Pop out a frozen herby-oil block to flavour stir-fries, soups or any other dish, as required.
Not all fruit and vegetables should be stored in the fridge – sometimes, a fridge environment can make certain produce go off quicker. If you want more tips on how to store specific types of produce, this is a really great guide by Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar.
Freeze your foods: When storing things like sauces and soups in the freezer, only fill the container three-quarters to allow room for expansion. Store these in small quantities so the food freezes more quickly, which gives it a fresher taste. This is also a really great basic guide on how to freeze foods.
If I have missed anything, or if you’d love to share a tip that works in your home, I would love to hear about it. Remember team, every little bit helps. Tweak your storage skill-set to make your food last longer and your pocket and our Planet will thank you for it.