Cooktop Cove: Master chef shares 14+ tips to keep food fresh for longer
By Jessica Jacobs
Are you sick and tired of food that goes bad before you had a chance to eat it? Food waste is a big problem, especially as the average household wastes around 20% of the food that is bought. On top of that, you need to weigh food safety against food budget to ensure you aren't putting your family at risk with spoiled food.
Luckily, there are a lot of food storage and preservation tricks that can save you thousands a year. Many of the tips in the list below are super simple and take almost no time to do. The best part is that you'll get longer lasting produce for everyone in your household to enjoy.
1. Make sure your fridge is at the correct temperature
You want to make sure your fridge is cold enough to keep food fresh without freezing it. The recommended temperature is 38-40°F. For increased accuracy, get a fridge thermometer.
2. Roast tomatoes
Have you noticed your tomatoes starting to wrinkle? Get an extra week with tomatoes by roasting tomatoes and storing in a container filled with olive oil. Refrigerate.
3. Add butter to cheese
Rub the cut edges of your cheese with butter. This keeps hard cheese from drying out.
4. Avocados
Keep your avocados on the counter until ripe. This usually takes two or three days, depending on their state when you bought them. When they soften a bit, store them in the fridge to keep them from going bad. If you are storing half an avocado, make sure to wrap in an airtight bag before putting in fridge.
5. Keep herbs fresh with a jar and water
This is a trick many restaurants use and it is very simple. Snip about half an inch off the ends of the herbs to freshen up any dried ends and place them in a glass, vase, or even mason jar filled about halfway with cool water. Then cover the leafy part of the herbs with a resealable bag. Don't use plastic wrap, as it will squeeze the herbs too tightly together. But as the water will continue to feed the herbs and keep them fresh, the plastic bag will keep air from getting to them, which can dry them out and cause them to wilt.
6. Get long-lasting berries
Prevent berries from getting moldy and soft. Mix one part of vinegar with ten parts of water. Rinse your berries in this solution before putting in the fridge. This method will allow your berries to last at least 1 week longer.
7. Wrap lettuce with a damp paper towel
Before putting in fridge, wrap lettuce with a damp paper towel. If you see leaves wilting, try to revive it by soaking the lettuce in ice water for a few minutes.
8. Store onions in pantyhose
Onions can stay fresh for up to 6 months if properly stored in a cool, dark place. Buy some clean pantyhose, and place whole onions into the feet. Tie a knot with the pantyhose between each whole onion. Repeat until you fill the entire pantyhose. Hang up in a closet, pantry, or kitchen wall. (Yes, this can be decor!)
10. Store cucumbers in sealable container
Cut your cucumbers into about 1/4-inch slices. Stack the slices in a sealable container. Then, place a folded paper towel on top of your cucumbers and put a lid on your container. Store your cucumbers upside down (so that the paper towel is on the bottom). The towel will soak up extra moisture.
11. Keep guacamole fresh with water
Put guacamole in an airtight container and add some water at the top before sealing and leaving in fridge. This might sound strange but the water acts as a protective shield against oxygen. You can keep the guacamole in the fridge for 3 days. Once you are ready to eat it, take the guacamole out, dump out the water, and mix it up before serving.
12. Store green onions in jar
Simply store green onions upside down in a jar with water. You can leave this jar on your kitchen counter. This method will triple the lifespan of your green onions. The green onions will keep growing, so simply snip off when you need to use them.
13. Keep celery fresh with aluminum foil
Don't store celery in the plastic bag it came from. Instead, wrap the entire celery head tightly with aluminum foil before storing in fridge. This will allow the celery to stay fresh for up to 3 weeks.
14. Keep bread fresh in the microwave
If you don't have a bread box, don't worry. Store bread in a sealed Ziploc bag and store in the microwave instead. Plus, this method requires no kitchen counter space!
15. Store cottage cheese and sour cream upside down
Be sure to store source cream and cottage cheese containers upside down in the fridge. This process creates a vacuum, making it harder for bacteria to grow.
16. Wrap banana stems
Keep bananas fresh for longer by wrapping the stems. This process slow down the release of ethylene gas.
17. Freeze milk
Milk lasts longer when frozen. Alternatively, if you are storing milk in your fridge, keep it in the main section of the fridge rather than the door as it's colder there.
18. Store potatoes with apples
Avoid storing potatoes with onions as it will make them last less long. Instead, store potatoes with apples to prevent early sprouting. This is because apples give off ethlylene gas. For long term storage of 2-3 months, be sure to keep potatoes in a cool, dark place.
Copyright 2016 Cooktop Cove