As an avid cook who spends a lot of one-on-one time with food, I hate seeing waste. Whether it’s table scraps, cooking scraps, or simply food that’s past its use-by-date, the thought of throwing it away always irks me. After all, had I been a bit more careful there’d have been no waste at all! If only I had been more proactive to store my fresh food properly.
Did you know that experts say the average family throws out nearly 15% of all fresh foods they purchase each year? That’s a staggering amount of waste, and a lot of it is unnecessary. Not only is it wasted food – but money too! Throwing away food that has spoiled, or gone bad, is grocery money wasted. That’s why it’s important to find ways to store fresh food for longer.
Storing fresh food, such and fruit and vegetables properly is an easy way to extend their life and ensure you have the freshest food available when you need it. It also reduces waste which as we know, is money lost and wasted. It’s easy to store fresh food when you put your mind to it, and it’ll also help you meal plan with ease as you won’t have to run to the supermarket to replace soft carrots or green garlic!
Here are seven easy ways that we recommend to store fresh food, to ensure it’s as fresh and delicious as the day you bought it!
7 easy ways to store fresh food
Store your root vegetables properly.
Many years ago, homes had root sellers to store root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots. Although root cellars aren’t that common these days, you can use the same basic idea. Always store root vegetables in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight – but not the refrigerator. An alternative is to store root vegetables in paper bags stored in the cabinet. And never mix potatoes and onions – this causes them to spoil faster!
Cheese spoils easily if not used quickly, or stored properly.
You can wrap cheese in wax paper, or store it in an airtight container, before storing it in the refrigerator. This will allow the cheese to breathe but will not allow excess moisture to reach it. Finally, wrap each cheese separately to stop flavours from mixing.
Like freshly cut flowers, cut fresh herbs need water to stay fresh.
Keep herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley in a glass with about an inch of water, replacing the water daily. Non-leafy herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary keep best if stored in a moistened paper towel in a reusable bag. Store these herbs in the refrigerator. Another great idea is turning fresh herbs into pesto!
Canning fruits and vegetables is a cheap and affordable way to extend their life.
Home canning really is not only easy, but it means you can control exactly what goes into each jar. Meaning no artificial preservatives! Store-bought canned goods can often contain chemical preservatives to maintain freshness. Homemade jelly, jam, sauces, fruit halves or pickled vegetables can be stored for a year or longer.
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredientsJulia Child
A vacuum sealer is a great investment for storing food.
Although purchasing a vacuum sealer is a large upfront cost, vacuum-sealed foods last for months past their normal storage time. They are definitely worth the price when you consider how much food you can save. If you vacuum seal food and then place it in the freezer, your storage time increases even further.
Don’t let sad-looking fresh fruit or vegetables go to waste.
When you notice these are starting to look too ripe, it’s time to get cooking. Find recipes that will use the food rather than letting it go to waste. Your family and friends will enjoy a great meal or treat. And you will have saved money by keeping the food out of the bin.
Finally, if you do find some of the food is too far gone to store or eat, don’t throw it away. Start a compost pile for all leftovers or foods that have gone bad – excluding meat. Composting food will provide nutrition for the soil in a flower or vegetable garden. And help you save even more money at the plant nursery!