So you head to the grocery store, do your shopping and head home. You then put your pantry items in the cupboards and your produce in the fridge. A week later you are making a new grocery list because you've either ONE: used up all the food you bought or TWO: you had to throw out food that went bad/moldy or lost its freshness.
I know, I know. Life gets in the way and sometimes you have to spontaneously go out for dinner or do not feel like cooking so you order take out. Now while there is nothing wrong with this, it just means we are letting our beautiful produce in the fridge get older.
What if I told you, you could make your produce (as well as other foods) last weeks to months longer just by storing them in the proper way? YES! IT IS POSSIBLE. & that is what I want to dive into in todays blog post.
In 2017 the national zero waste council did a study that showed in Canada alone 63% of food that could have been eaten was thrown out. What are the main culprits of this food waste you may ask?
Bread & Bakery (9%)
This is a LOT of waste that we can minimize on! So let me show you the easiest, simplest and most efficient ways to keep your food and produce crispier, fresher and tastier longer!
1. Carrots: Remove the tops off the carrots. Then cut into the shape you will use them in and place in a glass container filled with water. Make sure to change the water every 3-4 days to keep the carrots fresh.
2. Broccoli/Cauliflower: Cut into florets or into the cut you will be using for the week. Store in a glass or airtight container. Exposing these vegetables to a lot of access oxygen will cause them to go bad faster so it is best to only open the container when you need them.
3. Cucumber/Zucchini: Keep these vegetables in the crisper because we want to make sure they are away from as much moisture as possible. These vegetables are best to wash right before using or the night before.
4. Dark Leafy Greens: Place on paper towel or dishtowel and roll up, storing into a tight bag. You can also place sturdy greens like kale or collards in a jar filled with water to cover the stems. Just make sure to cover the leaves with a bag and keep an elastic around the jar to keep the bag tight and secure.
5. Onion/Garlic: These can be stored in a cool dark place until ready to use. You can also chop them into the correct size pieces you need and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for anywhere between 3-5 days.
6. Ginger: Unlike onion and garlic; ginger you will want to store in the fridge as soon as you buy it. To keep ginger fresh for weeks (even months) store it in an airtight container filled with water. Make sure the water is completely submerging the ginger and change the water every day to keep it fresh.
7. Peppers: Store chopped up peppers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Store closer to the fridge door and not in the produce bins.
8. Herbs: Wash and dry completely. Store in a glass jar with water (enough to cover the stems) then cover the tops of the herbs in a tight plastic bag! Dont forget to change the water every 1-2 days.
9. Apples/Pears: After washing make sure to dry them completely so no moisture can get into the fruit. Store loosely in the crisper section of your fridge.
10. Berries: Transfer berries to an airtight container with a paper towel underneath to soak up any moisture. Wash only before eating them.
11. Avocado: Store at room temperature then transfer to the fridge when ripe. To ripen your avocados quickly, place them in a paper bag on the counter.
12. Bananas: Store at room temperature away from other produce as this will cause the bananas (as well as the other produce) to ripen faster. If you have overly ripe bananas think about freezing them without the peel or make a nice batch of banana bread.
13. Nuts: Nuts are an important food item to keep in the fridge. This is because all nuts have oils that can go rancid quickly from light, heat and air. Keeping them in the fridge will help them last for anywhere between 6 months to 2 years!
14. Seeds: Seeds are also extremely important to keep in the fridge for the same reasons as nuts. Make sure to always keep seed oils like hemp, walnut or flaxseed oil in the fridge and never buy these types of oils if they are stored on the shelves at the grocery store.
15. Flours: All flours, especially whole wheat is important to keep in the fridge as they are very sensitive to light, air and heat. They will stay good for 1 month outside of the fridge but inside the fridge it can stay good for up to 1 year.
Hopefully these tips will help you lessen food waste and keep your food lasting longer in the fridge so that you can save money and eat better each and every day!
Click here to download a quick reference guide containing the 6 of the most common fruits/vegetables and how to properly store them for optimal freshness! & if you would like to learn 4 super simple and sustainable meal prep tips then you can watch my newest youtube video below!