Every once in a while, we buy food and often consider getting food in bulk to limit trips to the grocery store. However, we tend to hesitate to buy large quantities as most of us either lack storage space or worry about the food getting spoiled, mostly fruits and vegetables. To help cope with that, in today’s write-up, we shall be discussing the more viable storage hacks that do not take much space and have proven to make food items last for an extended period.
Here’s a list of some brilliant food storage solutions to improve their shelf life, making your life easier:
Preserve Berries by Soaking Them in Water and Vinegar
Berries are said to be a must-have food item as they can be eaten in multiple ways and great for your health. But its drawback is that they start rotting soon and cannot be preserved for too long. However, this hack will keep that from happening. Soak your berries for five minutes in a solution of water and vinegar combined in a ratio of 3:1; 3 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar. After doing so, take them out and pat them dry on some tissues and then store them in a container that is cracked from the top, which allows excess moisture to escape. This hack will allow you to keep your berries, maintaining its freshness for more than a week.
Refrigerate Cheese in Parchment Paper
Cheese is yet another commonly used food item, but most people fail at preserving it. Often, people wrap cheese in plastic, which causes it to suffocate and slowly die inside. Besides, its taste and smell will also change. However, there is a reliable storage option for all kinds of cheese, known as cheese paper. The science behind this paper suggests that it allows the cheese to breathe sufficiently due to the free flow of oxygen. It also helps in preserving the original taste, smell, and flavor of the cheese. Another alternative to cheese paper is using plain parchment paper as it offers the same breathability as cheese paper.
Store Herbs by Freezing Them With Olive Oil
We commonly use herbs to season food, and therefore, it only makes sense to buy them in a relatively larger quantity, but we hesitate in doing so because we find them getting spoiled soon. An excellent storage hack is to chop them, place them in the ice tray, add some olive oil, and keep it in the freezer. However, this method is limited to hard herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano because we usually cook these in the food and, therefore, can be stored in oil. Soft herbs like lemon verbena, basil, and mint are majorly added raw and not cooked, so it is not possible to store them in oil. Besides, freezing them also reduces their flavor.
Prefer Mason Jars Over Plastic Containers
There are several reasons to choose mason jars over plastic containers. They are relatively cheaper, heat-resistant, and easy to store. In addition to that, mason jars do not get stained, unlike plastic containers. They come in various sizes and shapes, making it simpler to manage in all kinds of storage units. You can easily store your meal preps for almost an entire week in these jars. This makes daily cooking a hassle-free job and also keep the food items fresh and free of odor. They are also environmentally friendly and easy to clean. All these features ensure healthy, inexpensive, and safe storage of almost all kinds of food.
Purchase an Ethylene Gas Absorber
In case you are not aware, fruits and vegetables primarily emit ethylene gas, which causes them to rot faster and ultimately reduces their shelf life. We can avoid this by using an ethylene gas absorber, which is readily available on Amazon for as cheap as $10. It is a highly worthwhile investment as it will allow your fruits and vegetables to last longer and fresher. All you need to do is buy one of these absorbers and place it in the refrigerator with other food items. An important tip is that if you keep your fruits and vegetables in plastic bags, make sure that you poke some holes in the bag to ensure the absorber’s effectiveness.
Keep Apples and Potatoes Together
It is a common practice to keep onions and potatoes together. However, studies have shown that keeping these two food items together causes them to sprout and rot quicker. Instead, storing potatoes with the company of apples will do the complete opposite job. Apples give out ethylene gas, and this gas prevents potatoes from sprouting. Due to the same gas, apples can spoil other fruits and vegetables if stored with them. Therefore, it is better to keep apples with potatoes rather than other fruits. In addition to that, make sure that you keep potatoes in the dark and in a cool place to keep them from sprouting.
Store Carrots and Beets in Sand
Sand is known for its moisture extracting properties, making it an excellent storage aid for carrots and beets. These are root vegetables, and therefore, it is highly essential to control its humidity. By doing so, its freshness can be maintained for a longer time, which extends its overall shelf life. You can do so by spreading across 2 inches of sand either on the floor or in a wooden crate; on top of that, place the carrots or beets without crowding them too much. Add another similar layer of sand on top and add some more of them. After all of them are placed in the box, cap it off and keep it in the dark and cold place.
Store Milk in the Freezer
Technically speaking, milk can be stored for about three months, but you will notice that its taste, consistency, and odor has changed after a while. To keep that from happening, you can store milk in the freezer and then defrost it whenever you wish to use it. This will also minimize the risk of growing any kind of bacteria in it. You can also freeze milk by unloading it in ice cubes or a zip-lock bag. In this way, you can also save space in your refrigerator. You can store milk in the freezer in such a way for up to 6 months, which is quite a long time.
Wrap Lettuce in a Paper Towel
All of us have noticed lettuce wilting just after a couple of days. This happens due to the high moisture content in lettuce. You can easily solve this problem by wrapping it in paper towels to absorb moisture and placing it in the crisper drawer to extend its shelf life. In addition to that, make sure that you change the paper towels once they turn soggy. You can also store lettuce in a container as it will prevent it from developing bacteria. By following these tips, you can conveniently store lettuce for about 7 to 10 days without worrying about its freshness or producing bacteria.
Wrap the Stems of the Banana With Cling Wrap
We all enjoy eating bananas while they are fresh and yellow on the outside. Once they turn black from the outside and soggy from the inside, we mostly avoid it. Bananas emit ethylene gas in a large amount, which causes it to ripen quicker. However, bananas can be kept fresh for 3-4 days longer by wrapping their stems with cling wrap paper as most of the ethylene gas exits from the branches. Separate all the bananas and wrap each one individually. If you wish to add bananas in other recipes, then peel their skin, and store them in plastic zip-locks in the refrigerator. This will allow them to last for an extended period.
These were some of the most useful tricks to ensure a longer shelf life of various food items. In addition to this list, here are some more quick hacks to keep your food fresh and healthy:
- Wrap celery and broccoli in tin foil
- Store cottage cheese by placing it upside-down
- Keep egg yolks in the freezer
- Grate ginger and then store in the refrigerator
- Store green onions after chopping them up
- Keep pineapples upside-down
- Store sauces in glass jars
- Store kale in water
- Cut out stems of root vegetables
- Keep avocados in the freezer
- Store asparagus and celery the way you store flowers
It is imperative to manage food storage in the most effective way to minimize food wastage due to rotting. Studies have shown that around 30-40% of household food gets wasted in one year in the USA. These statistics are not healthy, and you can prevent this by bringing about some small changes in your regular storage habits. This will also allow you to purchase food in large quantities at a time without worrying about it getting wasted. The fridge-hacks mentioned above and food storage solutions will help you maintain your food’s freshness and allow you to store them for a much longer time than before.