Top tips on storing food for longer

During the last lockdown, I set myself the goal of wasting as little or no food as possible and I managed to only throw away one apple, one tomato, two parsnips, a crust of bread and a tablespoon of sour cream.  And this time, I am going to set myself the same goal.

Part of my success is that I only buy what I need and I make sure that every meal is planned, there are no impulse buys in my trolley!  I also get a large proportion of dried and tinned products and see what I can put into the freezer.

But as a vegetarian I need / want a lot of fruit and vegetables in my diet, read my tips below for the best way to store and keep food from going off:

  • Line the vegetable compartment in your fridge with a few sheets of kitchen towel to absorb condensation that vegetables generate as they chill. Moisture makes fresh foods wilt faster so the paper helps keep them fresh. The same trick works in bags of salad leaves.

  • An apple a day keeps sprouted potatoes at bay…keep an apple in your bag of potatoes to prevent your spuds turning into plants. Apples produce ethylene gas which keeps potatoes fresher.

  • Store all fruit, apart from bananas and pineapple, in the fridge as this will make it last longer.

  • Freeze sliced bread as soon as you buy it and only take out what you will need on a daily basis.

  • Cheese can also be frozen.  Why not cut a large chunk of cheese into smaller portions and then only get out what you need.

  • Lettuce can be wrapped in a damp paper towel before going in the fridge which can help to keep it fresher – revive it by soaking in iced water for several minutes if it has become limp.

  • Wrap cheese in paper – baking paper is ideal – rather than plastic film so that it can breathe. 

  • Celery or broccoli can have a longer life in your fridge if you tightly wrap it in foil.

  • Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are notoriously short-lived after they’ve been picked. But if you wash them in a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water before you put them in the fridge, they may live to fight another few days.

  • Store garlic in a paper bag.

  • Let your avocados ripen outside the fridge and then, when you squeeze them and decide they’re ready to eat, put them in the fridge and you can preserve them at the perfection point for longer. 

  • Keep milk in the main part of your fridge rather than in the door, if possible. The temperature in the door fluctuates every time the fridge is opened and milk stays fresher for longer if kept cold at all times!

  • Spring onions can be frozen after chopping. Similarly, celery, carrots and radishes can be chopped and then stored in the fridge in containers of water and will remain fresh for some time.

  • If your mushrooms are on the dry side, soak them in some water to bring them back to life.

Food waste has a big environmental impact so try and use some, if not all, of these tips to make your weekly shop last longer!

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