Nutritionists are always pushing fresh, minimally processed and ideally organic produce. However, we know it’s completely demotivating when the higher-priced, healthy food doesn’t last as long. So, here are some simple hacks to make sure your food stays as fresh as possible and some storage myths busted once and for all.
Let’s keep it simple, the longer the food has travelled to get onto our plates the more chance of contamination, many miles can happen from field to fork. An affordable and easy way to remove dirt, waxes, pesticides and bacteria is to wash your fruit and vegetables with 10% white vinegar and 90% water. Another wash is ¼ cup baking soda, 1-part lemon and 4-parts water as these are natural antimicrobials. Make sure to clean the sink thoroughly and then simply soak for 10-20 minutes. Remember not all fruit and vegetables have the same thickness of skin, so soak carefully taking skin type into consideration. Prioritising buying ‘The Dirty Dozen’ which is a list updated annually of the best fruits and vegetables to buy organic is the best way to save money and lower risk of consuming unwanted pesticides.
Although refrigeration is a marvellous invention, we can definitely ‘over-refrigerate’ and there are some fruits and vegetables that we can keep out of the fridge as thrive in room temperature. These include tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, avocados, guava, kiwi, mangoes, melons, nectarines, papaya, citrus fruits, bananas and berries. Once ripe they're okay to put in the fridge to attempt to extend their life further.
Often overlooked, but a very easy way to make some ingredients go a couple of extra days longer is to make sure they are wrapped appropriately. For instance, cheese thrives in paper or wax as allows it to breathe but not dry out. Mushrooms live well in a paper bag too. When it comes to lettuces and herbs, treating them delicately is key. An easy to remember hack is to treat herbs like flowers, stick them in a little water to keep them nourishing themselves. Wrapping in damp kitchen towels is also a way to keep them from wilting. We all want to do our part for the planet so considering using reusable bees wax paper is a great alternative to single-use plastic and foil.
Batch cooking is the most proven way to make the most out of a recent fresh food shop and reduce food wastage. Refrigerating makes sure you retain the flavour and nutrition, it’s also extremely time and cost-effective. Sunday is a popular day to both meal plan and batch cook for the week ahead.