It is not uncommon for homemakers to come across rotten vegetables in the refrigerator, moldy bread in the kitchen, or pulpy apples in the fruit bowl. Instances when food went bad and had to be thrown away are too many to be counted. And yet, there isn’t a household across the nation that may not have faced a similar problem.
More often than not, such instances are dismissed with a light hand. Perhaps the produce you picked up from the farmer’s market wasn’t that fresh after all. Or maybe, there’s something wrong with the refrigerator’s cooling mechanism. Not many stop to wonder if the fault isn’t in the way food is being handled, used, and stored by them when, in fact, this is usually where the problem lies.
Thankfully enough problems come with a solution, as does this one. All you need are a few sensible tips and a little bit of care and precaution and you, too, will be able to keep food fresh until such time you are ready to consume it or cook it.
When shopping for perishables, it’s a good idea to take a cooler with you. You’ll be surprised how fast the temperature outside can affect the food inside the shopping bags. You might think it will only take you 10 minutes to get home, but that is enough time for the heat or moisture to work their mischief, that too in ways not immediately apparent. A cooler will help keep the perishables at a desirable temperature till you get home, thereby extending their life.
Once you arrive home, put away foodstuffs in their appropriate places immediately. Here again, leaving them out for a few minutes can affect their taste and freshness. So, refrigerate foodstuffs that need refrigeration and freeze the meats before they get warm.
Speaking of refrigeration, you have a handy friend in the freezer when it comes to storing food. The average person looks at it a place to keep ice-cream and TV dinners, but the truth is there’s a lot more you can do with your freezer. Store herbs in sealed plastic bags, freeze brown sugar to prevent it from hardening, freeze flour for 2 days to get rid of insect eggs. Like I said, it’s a great way to extend the life of most food products. However, be sure you do not overdo it or allow the food items to become victims of freezer burn.
Yet another thing you should do is to buy yourself an Ethylene Gas Guardian (E.G.G.). Fruits and veggies produce ethylene gas which causes them to rot more quickly while also damaging other food items around them. Keep the E.G.G. at the back of the refrigerator and you will be able to enjoy crisper, fresher fruits and veggies all year through.
Finally, make it a point to plan your meals in advance. This is one of the easiest and simplest ways to prevent wastage of food. With a proper meal plan, you will only buy what is absolutely necessary. Additionally, you could take an inventory of the food items in the house and use them to make a few meals, starting with the most perishable items first. Not only will this prevent wastage, you also won’t need to buy things you don’t really need.
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