Spoilt food is a major source of environmental pollution, not to mention a sheer wastage of your hard-earned money! No need to switch to a dry-food-only diet, as we have got you covered. These 10 food hacks will keep your veggies, fruits, meat, dairy and grains as fresh as ever, all the way up to the last day of expiration!
1. Investing in glass storage containers: Glass containers are generally safer than plastic or fibre containers. When it comes to storing food, it’s always advisable to invest in the best quality containers to keep food healthy and nutritious for a longer time. The best thing is that you can heat and reheat glass containers over and over in ovens, without worrying about any chemical leaching into your food, and they’re more durable too. Hence, your containers won’t dye or smell like burnt plastic or food residue, even after long periods of use.
2. Keeping the appropriate food items in the fridge and not everything: You probably refrigerate things you shouldn’t. Likewise, you probably store some things outside, atop your kitchen counter or in your cabinets or in the pantry, that you shouldn’t. All your ground spices, syrups, jellies, jams, pickles, sauces, marinades, cooking oils, fats, ketchups, dips, water based pre-mixes etc. should be refrigerated, even if the label says not to. If you are adamant and still would like to store any of them outside, keep a tab on mould, separation or a rancid smell, to reject these containers immediately. You can store your bananas and other fruits in the fridge to slow down the ripening process and preserve the taste.
3. Lining the shelves in your fridge with crisper drawers: Crisper drawers prolong the freshness of fresh produce. They have a different level of humidity compared to the rest of the fridge. Aside from being practical, they also add a tinge of personality to the shelves!
4. Preserving herbs in a freezer tray as ice cubes or frozen butter cubes: you can pour extra-virgin olive oil or melted unsalted butter over your herbs. Cover this up lightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. You can remove the frozen cubes and store them in freezer containers or small bags. Label each container or bag with the type of herb and oil to avoid confusion. Alternatively, you can freeze herbs in just water as herb and water cubes to preserve the freshness. The last option is to dry the herbs and powder them.
5. Eating reasonably and deep freezing leftovers in a zip lock bag: Tired if running out of food? A simple quick-cooking technique is cooking extra food and freezing it for future meals. Or, simply prepare food ahead and freeze to enjoy at a later time. A super easy method of freezing foods, including liquids like gravies, soups and stews, is to freeze them in Borosilicate containers or freezer bags.
6. Storing onions and garlics in stockings! If you have just picked the onions and garlics from your garden, cut off the stems/sprouts and let them dry. Now grab a pair of pantyhose or synthetic stockings and cut the legs separately. Stuff the legs with your roots and knot the top. Hang them up in your kitchen and watch your veggies last longer then ever before!
7. Hanging bananas: Bananas begin to ripen as soon as they’re picked from trees. The—ethylene gas begins to release from the stems causing the fruits to ripen. Hanging bananas from a hook makes the gas work slowly and also prevents bruises.
8. Keeping butter in a butter dish: Storing butter incorrectly can spoil it. For instance, exposure to air and light can attract moulds. So keep it in a covered butter dish or butter crock that will protect it from both air and light, at a steady temperature or atleast cool enough to hold its shape, preferably in the fridge.
9. Experimenting with recipes to use every part of vegetables/fruits/meat: To eat healthy and gain complete nutrition, eat every part of a vegetable. Try buying from a local farmer’s market. When it comes to fruits, try them raw first. In the case of herbs, thoroughly wash them in running water and use everything including leaves, stems and even the root for greater flavours. Some vegetables are more palatable when cooked well or roasted, then semi cooked or raw. Try munching new nuts and cooking new legumes and grains to hit the nutritional jackpot!
10. Starting growing a vegetable garden:
It’s never too late to jump into gardening! And nothing’s easier than growing your own vegetables in a pot! It is an incredibly rewarding hobby, so plan and grow your tastiest vegetables ever! You will be amazed by the sweet, juicy flavours and vibrant textures once the produce is ready!
Hope you find the above tips handy! Happy cooking!