All you need to know about food storage

6d ago

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It’s no secret that much of the food we buy ends up in the bin. Estimates suggest 1.3 billion tonnes are wasted each year globally, with fruits and vegetables having the highest scrap rates of any food group.

These numbers are even more alarming considering how many people around the world are dying of starvation, and the many more who suffer from deficiency related disease and illness.

How to store fruit at home

Fresh fruit should ideally be stored in the refrigerator or a cold area to extend its shelf-life. Using covered containers can reduce the loss of moisture, which will help further. Storing fresh fruit in a separate area of the refrigerator is preferable as it may otherwise contaminate or absorb odours from other foods.

It's also essential to rinse fresh fruits under cold running water (before eating) to remove possible pesticide residues, soil and/or bacteria. Peeling fruit first will remove even more (but you will lose good nutrients if the peel is edible!).

How to store vegetables at home

If you store your vegetables correctly, it will help to keep them fresh and nutritious. Excess moisture is the enemy of fresh fruits and vegetables, so make sure produce is dry (after washing) before you store it.

Most fresh vegetables can be stored from anywhere between a few days and a couple of weeks. Removing air (oxygen) from the package (known as airtight), storing them at 40°F refrigerated temperatures, and maintaining optimum humidity between 95 to 100% will give fresh vegetables the best chance to keep well for as long as possible. Wrapping or covering fresh leafy vegetables in moisture-proof bags helps to retain the product moisture and prevent wilting.

Root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.) plus squashes and aubergines (eggplant) should ideally be stored in a cool, well-ventilated place between 50°F and 60°F.

Tomatoes (a fruit!) continue to ripen after harvesting and should ideally be stored at room temperature (but can then be put in the fridge once ripe).

Removing the tops of carrots, radishes and beetroots prior to popping them in the fridge will reduce loss of moisture and extend their shelf-life.

Corn however won't taste as good if you keep it in the fridge due to elevated starch content, so it should be stored in a ventilated container, as should peas.

Lettuce and leaves in general should be rinsed under cold running water, drained, packaged in plastic bags and refrigerated.

Fruit storage guidelines

Data taken from Virgina Tech's food storage guidelines for consumers. Time may slightly vary depending on when the food was purchased and what part of the world it was grown.

Vegetables storage guidelines

Data taken from Virgina Tech's food storage guidelines for consumers. Time may slightly vary depending on when the food was purchased and what part of the world it was grown.

Roast veg to save on waste: how to

Why not try roasting any veg that may go bad to save on waste. It will make for a lovely nutritious meal and make you feel good too.

The beauty of roasting veg is its simplicity and flexibility. You can use whatever you have. Things like peppers, sweet potato, parsnips, beetroot, carrots, garlic, onions, squash, pumpkin (not always all at the same time) work really well. Just be mindful that the size you cut will have an impact on cooking time, and that some veg takes longer to cook than others.

Wash veg and cut down to size, place in a roasting tray, season to taste (salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, sage, fresh chopped chili, olive oil), place in a pre-heated oven.

After 15-20 minutes give them a stir and add a tablespoon of honey (optional), take out and serve after approx. 40 minutes (either alone or accompanying something else).

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Comments (6)
  • Good article, we regularly do a tray bake with veggies including herbs and spices to accompany chicken thighs, sausages etc etc.

    6 days ago
    3 Bumps
  • Great article, Darren! Thanks for sharing. Explains why I get sick all the time... I’m doing it all wrong!

    6 days ago
    2 Bumps

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