The last thing you need after a long and tiring day at work is to come home and start cooking dinner. Takeout might be a short-term solution but it could prove expensive after a while. For most people, leftovers seem like the perfect way to end the night but what do you do when those are over too?
A planned meal might look like a time-consuming task but it is the perfect way to eat healthily, stay on a budget, and enjoy some quality time spent with your family after work. However, if you don’t do it properly, you will end up throwing huge amounts of food on a regular basis and still go to sleep hungry.
Here are some tips that might help you store your food for longer while still smelling and tasting fresh.
Keep bananas in their peel
Bananas are the perfect snack for children and adults alike and you may think you’re saving time by portioning them for the day. However, these fruits don’t do good at high temperatures for more than a couple of hours, and peeling them off might turn them brown even faster.
If you want to avoid a trip to the supermarket more than once a week, wrap the stems of the bananas in paper or plastic foil after you buy them. Take each banana off only when you’re ready to eat it and keep the rest wrapped up and with their peel on. This simple tip will provide a few extra days of freshness for your fruits.
Store all your produce in the fridge without washing them
Again, you might think you’re saving time by washing all your fresh fruits and veggies before putting them in containers and placing them in the fridge. However, damp produce tends to deteriorate faster so it is best to keep your ingredients exactly the way you buy them from the supermarket or farmer’s market.
Whenever you’re ready to prepare a meal, simply take all the ingredients from the fridge and wash them properly with warm water. Allow them to dry for a few seconds too.
Use vinegar and water
Vinegar is one of the greatest and most popular products for all kitchen-related chores and cleaning tasks.
To keep your berries fresh for longer and prevent them from premature molding, we suggest a solution using one cup of vinegar and three cups of water. Place the berries in a bowl and pour the mixture over them. Allow it to sit for one minute, then rinse and dry the berries thoroughly.
This tip is great for killing bacteria before storing your berries in the fridge and will help you enjoy them fresh for a longer time.
If you’re afraid of your berries catching a taste of vinegar, you can prolong their life by giving them a hot bath before storing them. Add hot water directly in their basket or place the fruits in a container and pour hot water at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for half a minute. Dry them on a towel and store them in the fridge or freezer after.
If properly stored, potatoes can stay fresh for months, saving you an unnecessary visit to the supermarket whenever you feel like eating fries or mashed potatoes. And, if you want to prevent them from sprouting or keep them fresh for longer, make sure to place an apple inside the potato bag.
Apples produce ethylene gas which will keep your potatoes firm and fresh for weeks in a row. The good thing is that if you live in a place with a temperate climate, there are various foods you can store in your storehouse. Potatoes, onions, garlic, and even apples can survive the winter as long as you keep them in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight or freezing temperatures.
Keep them covered in blankets or bubble wrap with some holes in it to allow ventilation and maintain the perfect temperature. Also, make sure the storage room is clean and clear, away from pests or dangerous substances. If you fear unwanted animals getting inside and feasting on your foods, simply place some raccoon traps or rat traps near the bags.
Freeze your fruits and veggies
If you’re on a planned meal diet, the best way to cook a delicious and nutritious meal in no time is to prep your ingredients in advance. Simply chop and slice your favorite veggie mix and place it in a bag, then put it in the freezer. You can freeze anything from onions and eggplants to mushrooms, celery, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, beans, peas, corn or broccoli.
They will last even longer in the freezer if you blanch them in hot water before freezing to neutralize bacteria and germs.
Flour can also be successfully frozen to kill insects and their eggs. Whenever you want to use the flour, take it out of the freezer and put it in a tightly-sealed container, then store it in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. This way you can use the flour even after its expiration date.
Use paper towels
Paper towels are great for prolonging the life of some fruits and veggies, as well as keeping others fresh for longer, even when they are cut.
If you only need half an onion and an avocado for your salad or dip sauce, you can wrap the other half in a paper towel and put it in the fridge. The paper towel will absorb extra moisture and will keep contact with the exterior to a minimum. Some people even suggest squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on the avocado to prevent oxidation.
Don’t throw away soft and mushy fruits or veggies
There are plenty of ways to use those not-so-fresh fruits and vegetables instead of throwing them in the garbage.
Fruits can be cleaned from all spots and used for gems, fruit salads, cakes, pies, and sauce, while vegetables will be delicious on the grill or cooked in the oven.
We also suggest buying enough food to last you through the week and avoiding buying in bulks if you don’t need it. Some products will be sold with great discounts if you buy big packs or bulks but you will end up spending more money if you don’t get to use all these products before their expiration date.