10 top tips to make your food last longer
If you are trying to only shop once a week but finding some food does not last then these tips should help you. There is nothing worse than having to pop to a local shop and pay over the odds for something because the one you bought in your weekly shop didn’t last.
Add salt to your milk
Depending on the type of milk you use it often only lasts four to nine days if kept in the fridge. Unless as a family you use milk a lot this is likely to mean that some get wasted every week.
You can make your milk last longer by simply adding a pinch of salt to the bottle immediately after opening it. All you need to do is add a pinch then give it a good shake before putting it back in the fridge.
This technique works so well because salt is a preservative and it deters bacteria from growing. Whilst this sounds strange you really will not taste it and think of the money you will save!
Take your milk out of the fridge door
It is best to avoid storing your milk in the fridge door, however convenient it is to have it there. The door is in fact the warmest part of the fridge as it is furthest away from the cooling system.
The door should be used for things that you wish to chill but don’t actually need to chill for example wine, chocolate and sauces. Instead, keep your milk at the back of the middle or higher shelves to make it last longer.
Ditch the plastic packaging once you have opened your cheese and instead wrap cheese such as cheddar in baking paper. This means the cheese can breathe but doesn’t dry out and also prevents any extra moisture and stops mould from growing. This method works with all hard cheeses but not soft cheeses such as brie.
Hard cheese can actually last up to four weeks. This is great as cheese is expensive so this is truly money-saving when cheese is stored correctly in the fridge.
Don’t forget you can also freeze cheese to make it last even longer. Freeze in blocks the size you usually use or grated.
Use vinegar for your vegetables
A great way to disinfect all of your fruits and vegetables is to use vinegar to remove bacteria. You can do this by using a vinegar dip. The vinegar dip solution should be at a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to cold water. This should be made in either a bowl or a clean kitchen sink.
Empty your fruit and vegetables into your bowl of vinegar and water and leave it for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes rinse and thoroughly dry them before storing them appropriately.
The vinegar dip solution helps to disinfect, clean and remove bacteria from your fruit and vegetables. The bacteria that have accumulated in the store, distribution centre or in your home will break down the food more quickly so removing this helps them to last longer.
The solution will not be strong enough that you can taste it on the foods afterwards and this will mean your vegetables now last for up to two weeks.
Use a paper towel with berries
After vinegar-washing berries, they should be stored in airtight containers with a dry piece of kitchen towel. The kitchen towel absorbs any excess moisture which prevents mould from growing.
Changing the paper towel every other day will keep them as fresh as possible and can mean that they last up to 3 weeks.
Keep bananas separate
This is probably something you have heard before but forgotten and the reason fruit bowls like this exist. All fruits produce a certain level of a gas called ‘ethylene’. Fruits such as bananas produce a higher level of this chemical when they are ready to ripen and it speeds up the ripening process.
Other fruits that fall into the high ethylene-producing category include – apples, peaches, nectarines, pears, melons and avocados.
Keeping the ethylene-producing fruits, especially bananas, away from your other fruits will allow them to ripen naturally at their own speed and therefore last longer.
Depending on the fruit itself, if left to ripen naturally, they can last anywhere from three to five days to a few weeks at room temperature.
To slow down the ripening of bananas you can also wrap the stems in cling film or foil.
Using this method to wrap your bananas together as a bunch or individually adds a day or two on to the ripening process. Usually, this lasts between three to five days at room temperature so adding an extra day or two could help them last until your next food shop.
Put fresh herbs in water
If you prefer fresh herbs over dried ones, a top tip is to treat them like a bunch of fresh flowers. Fresh herbs are so much nicer in recipes but they can be expensive if they do not last long.
To make herbs last longer add water to a jar and place the herbs inside with a loose plastic bag over the top. The water helps to keep the herbs fresh in the same way as you do with a bunch of flowers and the bag prevents excess moisture.
Alternatively, store your fresh herbs in an airtight container with a damp piece of kitchen roll. This helps the herbs to stay moist so they don’t dry out too quickly and wilt.
By using either of these methods you can make those fresh herbs last up to 3 weeks which will make them better value for money.
Freeze fresh herbs
Another way to make fresh herbs last longer is to freeze them.
You can put freshly cut herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays and freeze them for perfect portions. This works well if you often use them with oil.
Alternatively, freezing them in water also works well and avoids all the calories of olive oil if you are dieting!
With water, this method can also be used for fresh garlic and ginger. Be sure to label how much garlic or ginger is in each though if you won’t remember!
Ice cubes for your bread
If your bread has become stale, using an ice cube rub it over the loaf before putting it into the oven for 10 minutes. If it is very stale, however, then use the method below.
Alternatively, you can also soak the loaf in water for 1-2 minutes and then place it in the oven for 10 minutes. This adds moisture back into the bread and makes it taste freshly baked again. The bread should then be used within the day.
A fresh loaf of bread can last up to four days but these methods help it to last longer.
Freeze nuts and seeds
Most nuts and seeds do not last long once opened which if you don’t use them often means they often get wasted and they are not cheap. With these tips, you can make them last 6 months to a year.
To make them last longer, they are best stored in cool, dark places; although the back of the cupboard is perfectly adequate, storing them in the fridge can help them to stay fresher for even longer.
If you find that they still do not last long enough they can be frozen – which makes them last up to one year.
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