Panic buying already a distant memory? Well, it was an excellent lesson in ‘waste not, want not’. Now more than ever, we are being encouraged to be resourceful and to use up what we already have in the cupboards before we slink off to the supermarket. This pleasant side-effect of the current lockdown measures has been welcomed by the economically minded, but where to start if your basil constantly turns to sludge and your mushrooms get covered in fuzz within a blink of an eye.
Storing food This may seem obvious, but how you store your food can have a big impact on the food you waste. Store food correctly, and it will not only last longer but it will taste better too. If you keep your tomatoes in the fridge for example, they will taste of almost nothing. Keep them in the fruit bowl however, and they’ll be juicy and sweet. Ever wondered why your potatoes begin to sprout new life within days of purchasing, even when kept in a cool, dark place? Well, if you also happen to store your onions in that same cool, dark place, then we may have found the culprit. Follow my simple guide below to get more out of your fruit veg and to put a stop to mindless wastage…
Cool, dark and dry Potatoes / sweet potatoes / shallots / onions / garlic. Potatoes and onions need to be kept away from each other as they can both cause each other to spoil. Bananas: Get the bananas out of the fruit bowl and remove any plastic packaging. Keep away from other fruit. If ripe, transfer to the fridge to prevent from over-ripening. Squash / pumpkin: Keep cool but not refrigerated.
Room Temperature Apricots / kiwi fruit / mango / melon / nectarines / passion fruit / peaches / pineapple / plums. Basically all fruit with the exception of berries. Tomatoes: Tomatoes don’t like the cold, so keep then out of the fridge. Treat them like a fruit and keep in the fruit bowl. Avocado: This is a tricky one, as most imported avocados ripen in transit so they’re ready for us to eat straight off the shelves. If your avocado is under ripe, keep it in the fruit bowl and transfer to the fridge when it becomes softer. If you’re in a hurry to ripen your avocado, put it in a paper bag with a banana for 48 hours. Bananas give off high levels of ethylene which will help your avo ripen faster. Basil: Trim the stems and keep in a glass of water at room temperature and consume quickly.
Refrigerate EVERYTHING else Artichokes / asparagus / aubergine / beetroot / berries / broccoli / brussel sprouts /carrots / cabbage / cauliflower / celery / cherries / courgette / cucumber / figs / French beans / grapes / kale / leeks / lettuce / peas / peppers / radishes / rhubarb / spinach / spring greens / spring onions / sweetcorn / turnips. Mushrooms: Store in the fridge, either in original packaging of a in a cloth bag. Fresh herbs (excluding basil): Keep herbs like you would keep flowers. Trim the stalks and place in a jar with an inch of water at the bottom in the fridge. Alternatively, wrap the herbs in damp kitchen towel and store in the fridge, in a plastic bag with a few punctured holes in. Speaking of herbs, if you’re interested in growing your own at home, then check out Dr Rachel Petheram’s online course with Learning With Experts to really get the most of your herbs.