With the cost of living crisis worsening, and food prices rising at incredibly fast rates, it comes as no surprise that many households are cutting back on their food shops, trying to save money on their groceries or seeking ways to make sure their shop lasts longer.
Cutting down on food waste is a major aim for households – especially concerning fresh produce which can rot or go off quickly, even sometimes before its use-by date.
This article will outline ten tips that can help to make your regular food shop go further and prolong the shelf life of your fresh food.
1. Freeze Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds typically have a shelf life of three to six months. They should be stored as mentioned on their packets – in cool, dark spaces.
While dark cupboards are appropriate for storing nuts and seeds if they are to be consumed within their use-by period, storing them in the fridge can actually help them to stay fresher for longer.
If six months isn’t enough time to consume them, then they can be frozen. This can help to extend the shelf life of nuts and seeds to a year.
Most nuts and seeds have a shelf life of three to six months. In order to extend their lifespan they are best stored in cool, dark spaces; although the back of the cupboard is suitable, storing them in the fridge can help them to stay fresher for longer. If you find that six months is not enough time to nibble your way through your nuts, then you’ll be pleased to hear that they can be frozen – which extends their shelf life to one year.
2. Freeze Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs usually contain more flavour than dried herbs, but it can be difficult to consume them by their use-by date. It is thus important to remember that you can in fact freeze fresh herbs.
This involves mixing them together in olive oil into ice cube trays and then freezing them. You can then use the ice cube sized portions as and when you require them. Water can be used alternatively instead of olive oil too for fresh garlic and ginger.
3. Ice Your Bread
Bread can get stale quickly, especially when it is not stored correctly in an airtight bag or container. If bread has become stale, you can use and ice cube and run it over the loaf of bed. You must then put the bread into the oven for around 10 minutes.
Doing so will bring moisture back into bread and it can then be consumed within that day.
4. Add Salt to Opened Milk
Cows milk can typically be consumed from anywhere between four to 10 days if stored correctly in the fridge. This time frame however can be stretched by adding a pinch of salt to the milk immediately after opening it.
This works as salt is a preservative and can deter bacteria from growing. Make sure to give the milk a shake straight after and place it back into the fridge.
5. Store Milk in the Coolest Part of the Fridge
Contrary to popular belief, and the ease of doing so, milk should not actually be stored in the fridge door. This is because the fridge door is the warmest part of the fridge as it is the furthest area away from the cooling system.
Instead, store milk towards the back of the fridge on the top or middle shelves for the maximum coolness to lengthen its shelf life.
6. Look After Fresh Herbs As You Would With Flowers
It is important to look after fresh herbs carefully so that their shelf life can be maximised. For instance, a good tip is to add water to a jar and place the fresh herbs inside with a plastic bag over the top. This process works as the water can help to keep the fresh herbs fresh with the bag acting as a barrier against any excess moisture.
Another way of doing so could be to store fresh herbs in an airtight glass container with a damp paper towel inside. Both methods can help to make your fresh herbs last up to three weeks.
7. Store Hard Cheese in Parchment Paper
Instead of using plastic packaging such as clingfilm, you should wrap hard cheese in parchment or baking paper. This is because these materials will allow for the cheese to avoid drying out, as well as prevent any additional moisture and mould.
8. Wash Fruit and Vegetables in Vinegar
A vinegar solution of a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water can be used to disinfect fruit and vegetables. They should be placed into the vinegar solution and sit there for 15 minutes. The fresh produce should then be rinsed and thoroughly dried before being stored away.
The vinegar solution is effective as it removes any bacteria from the fresh produce that may break down the food quicker and it can thus help the produce to last for up to two weeks.
9. Store Bananas Separately From Other Fruit
Bananas produce a high concentration of a gas known as ethylene when they are ready to ripen. Other fruits that produce a high concentration include melons, pears, apples and pears.
These fruits, especially bananas, should be stored away from other fruits so that the other fruits can ripen naturally and thus last longer.
10. Store Berries Away With a Paper Towel
Once dried, berries should be stored in an airtight glass container with a dry paper towel inside. This is because the dry paper towel absorbs excess moisture to prevent mould from growing.
The dry paper towel should be changed every other day to allow for maximum freshness and this can help to extend the shelf life of the berries further.