It is such a shame to waste food, no matter whether you have to throw away one courgette or a whole turkey breast. It happens when we store food haphazardly, but it also happens when we buy more than we can eat. How can we prevent the fridge from being invaded by mould or pervaded by the disgusting smell of meat or fish that has gone bad or by the acids released by gassy vegetables?
Is there any way to stop kiwi rotting within 24 hours of buying them? By using a bit of common sense and getting to know some of Granny’s old tips you can put these negative experiences behind you forever: here are 25 tips and suggestions to help your long term food storage.
1. HOW TO SILENCE OILY FISH
Of all the dead things that can lie in your refrigerator, fish is the smelliest. If you do not wish to eat it immediately when you bring it home, you have two options: you can either freeze it or you can gut it, before popping it into a plastic bag and placing it on top of a bowl filled with ice.
2. ALL THE GOODNESS OF FRESHLY SLICED COLD CUTS
Is it a common occurrence for your cold cuts to go dry and leave devastating smells? Try placing speck, bacon or ham in a cloth dampened with white wine vinegar. This also works for salami and other types of salt-cured meat.
3. SUN-DRENCHED TOMATOES
If you want them to ripen quickly for making a deliciously sweet tomato sauce, store them next to apples whose capacity for producing ethylene gas causes other fruit to ripen quickly or even rot. If, on the other hand, you want your tomatoes to stay fresh for longer, leave them attached to the vine and, better still, hang them up.
4. VEGETABLES: AS CRISP AS WHEN YOU BOUGHT THEM
As if you were preparing an aperitif or a raw vegetable starter, cut up your carrots, celery and courgettes and plunge them into icy water. They will be so crisp that you will have to bite into them carefully.
5. RICOTTA CHEESE AND SOUR CREAM
You can never be too careful with dairy produce but if you want to make your ricotta cheese or sour cream last a few hours longer, try placing the container upside down. The air space created in this way should postpone the formation and proliferation of bacteria, because you can do things with ricotta that are just out of this world.
6. BANISH THE SMELL OF OLD BOOTS FROM YOUR FRIDGE
Of course, you should never exaggerate with cheese. It is advisable therefore to consume and buy it in small quantities, but if you really are impenitent cheese eaters, it is preferable to store it individually wrapped in greaseproof paper. It is better to put mature cheese on the top shelves of the fridge to protect it from extreme temperatures, fresh cheese varieties keep better on the lower shelves where the temperature should be around 2-4°C.
7. OUR BROCCOLI FRIENDS
If ever in your life you have let broccoli rot in the fridge you were probably so traumatized as to have eliminated it from your diet, unless cooked by Mum. And yet broccoli is so good for us, you just have to know how to handle it. Broccoli should be used up quickly but if you are short for time, wrap it in tin foil or cling film to prevent the vegetable from breathing. Otherwise it can be frozen: just wash in water and vinegar and boil it before freezing.
8. FREAKY LEEKS
The leek is another sworn enemy of cold refrigerated air. To prevent leeks from rotting rapidly, either make them into a delicious soup immediately or clean them, cut them into slices and freeze them in a plastic bag. They may also be frozen whole in a plastic bottle: just pull them out as required.
9. EVERGREEN DRY THYME
The best way to preserve an oily herb like thyme is to dry it. Hang it upside down until dry and then keep in a glass jar. (photo: comefareorto) 10. PARSLEY GALORE No kitchen should ever be without parsley: it is essential for fish, useful in cheese recipes and a perfect addition to a great number of vegetables. In order to have it on hand at all times, you can freeze it or keep it in the kitchen in a glass of fresh water just like a bunch of flowers.
10. PERFECTLY CRISP ASPARAGUS
In the same way as parsley, stand your asparagus in a glass of water and see for yourself how long it will stay crisp and fresh.
11. POISONED APPLES
Hey guys, apples are not as healthy as they might seem to be: they are in fact healthy carriers of fermentation. Their super-powers come in useful when we want to make certain types of fruit ripen more quickly, such as kiwi or avocado, but bear in mind that when they stand close to peaches, apricots, pineapple or other varieties of fruit and vegetables, they will speed up the process until rotting sets in. Likewise, if there is one rotten apple in the fruit dish, it will affect everything else. Keep apples in the fridge or as a table decoration but store them separately from everything else.
12. FOREVER YOUNG WITH GINGER
Ginger is a root packed with health-giving properties: it disinfects, facilitates digestion and is an excellent remedy for colds and flu of all types. When you purchase it from the supermarket, cut it into pieces and freeze. In this way it will be less fibrous and easier to grate.
13. I’M BANANAS ABOUT YOU
Appreciated by sports enthusiasts for its high potassium content, bananas make a filling snack but also lend themselves to many delicious recipes. To store them longer, hang them up by the stems which must be covered with cling film but, once the fruit has turned black, it must be stored in the freezer and used up in muffins, desserts or a delicious quick-to-prepare ice-cream. Apart from the fruit, banana peel also has a number of uses so think twice before throwing it away.
14. ICED HERBS
A good way to keep kitchen herbs at length, to ensure that you always have them on hand for adding to your dishes, is to freeze them in ice-cube trays.
15. MILK FOR ALL AGES
Have you always kept milk in the door compartment of the fridge: WRONG! This is the worst possible place in which to keep a sensitive beverage like milk because it is more exposed to the thermal shock caused by the opening and closing of the door. Milk should be stored on the refrigerator shelves, to ensure a longer life.
16. POTATOES WITHOUT SPROUTS
Potatoes continue to be a debatable question: should they be stored with apples to prevent them from sprouting or should the forbidden fruit be forever banished from the earthly paradise? Even today, there are differing scientific opinions on the issue. Storing potatoes in the dark in a paper bag certainly helps them keep longer. (photo: lifehackers.com)
17. ONIONS DRESSED TO KILL
Take your onions and dress them up in your laddered stockings or tights, previously washed of course. Fill the stocking up like a sausage and tie a knot at both ends. Hung up vertically in the kitchen it will add a decoratively rustic note. In this way, the onions will be protected from the air and will last longer. (photo: northernhomestead)
18. TANTALIZING STRAWBERRIES
The next time you want to feast on strawberries don’t let nature fool you! Avoid storing them in the fridge in a paper bag. It is preferable to wash them in water and vinegar (10:1) to eliminate any trace of bacteria and mould so that they will last for about two weeks. (photo: pinterest)
19. AFTER A WALK IN THE WOODS
Fresh mushrooms are a particularly short-lived delicacy, even when kept in the fridge. To make them last a little longer, it is better to wrap them in a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper to dry the moisture and keep the formation of mould at bay (photo: cambiamenu)
20. THE GREATEST INVENTION SINCE SLICED BREAD
It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep bread fresh. The best way to store it is in its own paper bag, placed in its turn inside a plastic bag. Alternatively, slice it, freeze it and use it up gradually, possibly toasted on both sides to make it more digestible. (photo: nutrifree)
21. CRISP CRUNCHY SALAD
Whole lettuces, or the like, last longer than the pre-washed and cut varieties, because the latter comes in plastic bags. Whether curly, bitter, sweet or Belgian, it is preferable to keep salad wrapped in a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper or in a clean cloth to absorb any moisture and keep it dry. (photo: wikihow)
22. COLUMBUS’ EGG
Have you been wondering for years whether the fridge is the right place to keep eggs in, puzzled by the fact that supermarkets store them at room temperature? The answer is that it is preferable to store them in the fridge, better still if kept in their package, protected from thermal shock. (photo: ilfattoalimentare)
23. LONG LIVE GARLIC
Similarly to potatoes, garlic should be kept in the dark as much as possible, where it is not likely to start sprouting. Alternatively, chopped garlic may be frozen or whole garlic cloves may be preserved in oil. (photo: littleecofootprints)
24. FOR DIE-HARD MOULD GROWERS
If you really can’t prevent your fridge from being invaded by alien-looking moulds, a glass or bowl full of bicarbonate of soda placed inside will at least help keep unpleasant smells at bay. (photo:casabenessere)