Simple tips to keep your produce as fresh as possible and make all your foods last longer to not waste food during lockdown or go out unnecessarily to the store!
Firstly its worth investing in fresh produce keeper boxes because they really do work by regulating how much oxygen goes in! They help veggies like zucchini last a few extra days in the fridge. I am afraid they are short in supply and appologize if they inflate the price since posting this if its unavailable or pricier later-pandemic shopping is causing this.
Check out this herb keeper (I use one myself to maximize the storage lifetime of fresh herbs) or use your ice cube tray to freeze anything from leftover fresh herbs in a little olive oil to add to your cooking later (cover the tray so you don’t get freezer taste), or to freeze leftover coconut milk or almond milk or juice, or premade smoothie cubes for meal prep, or fresh turmeric root that you blended (for anti-inflammatory properties), or homemade or storebought thai curry paste. cover the ice cube tray to prevent that freezer-burn taste or use a tray with a cover. just be mindful of your freezer temp. my old freezer ice cube tray compartment isn’t always as cold as it should be for long-term storage. your water should be staying frozen as ice when there.
speaking of- a freezer thermometer is always a good idea, and esp. now. temperature wise 0 degrees Celsius is freezing point but it should be -18 Celsius ideally to retain vitamins and nutrients. learned that in Food Safe 😉
I also find that if your freezer tends to pop open keeping the rubber seal area and where it meets the metal clean, and not slamming your fridge will prevent that from happening as much. some fridge pros even use a bit of Vaseline there or tilt their fridge back a bit. since everyone has been stockpiling clearly, don’t overfill it either, the air at the back must circulate and there must be room at the front to prevent it popping and staying open.
To save cupboard room I recommend using magnetic spice jars on the fridge and save pantry room to organize the food you stockpile.
Also using stackable glass containers rather than mason jars is the best use of small cupboard space in a small kitchen. They are also much better containers for meal prep because who want to eat a stacked mason jar salad where you cant easily mix the dressing and ingredients because the layers are stacked vertically and with no space. Anchor hocking glass containers with lids are great not only as they are BPA-free and plastic-free, but they are durable (they wont warp like plastic and they don’t break easily but of course handle glass with care), oven-safe, freezer-safe and microwave-safe lunch containers and freezer meal prep containers. Oven safe containers can also be used in the Instant Pot but follow authorized IP instructions on pot in pot cooking method.
use airtight containers for most things of course.
keep fresh herbs in a cup with water, the windowsill is a good spot. speaking of herbs, don’t refridgerate basil. to keep storebought basil keep it in a cup with a little water and plastic wrap on top. use within 1-2 days.
or grow windowsill herbs when possible. basil is such a useful one to use in large amounts as a basil plant can be used for basil pesto or my basil goat cheese spread. plus it gives you a nice hobby and some greenery while in lockdown indoors.
place the bottom tips of asparagus in some shallow water in a steady/heavy bowl or ramekin. keep the rubber band they came in so they don’t fall over.
for meal prep cut up carrot sticks and celery sticks and keep them in a jar of water in the fridge to keep them fresh and not drying out through the day as you and your kids snack on them. you will eat more when they are pre-peeled! or easily make this big batch of honey roasted carrots, no chopping required!
ideally yams and pantry items are meant for the pantry not the fridge (but we don’t all have roomin apartment living I get it!)
same goes for bread. the fridge has moisture so it can contribute to molding faster. keep it on the counter in a bread bin ideally, or in the freezer (sliced before of course). I find gf and more healthy breads like homemade breads aren’t as shelf-stable and you will want a bread bin if you bake the bread yourself and therefore don’t have a bag to keep them in.
keep oils such as olive oil in a cool dark place like a cupboard not in sunlight or by the stove.
keep dates that you don’t use within a week or so in the fridge.
keep nuts that you aren’t going to use within 1-3 months, such as almonds and almond flour in the freezer or if they no longer have their dark brown coating such as almond flour keep it in the freezer ideally. keep in cool dark place.
when thawing vacuum sealed fish, cut it open before placing it in the fridge to thaw. seafood unlike meat can actually create botulism when in an anaerobic environment so let some oxygen in because it can be dangerous otherwise.
when reheating food reheat I to the same internal temperature as cooking it. Use a meat thermometer if unsure. another Food Safe tip 😉 and in this day of Coronavirus if getting take out where you don’t know who handled your food, get food you can properly heat up til its steaming. Or cook at home and pickup new cooking skills 🙂
happy cooking and stay safe at home!