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How to Store Fresh Food Properly

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Last week, we discussed tips to save on rising food prices. Whilst I was writing that post, I realized that I cannot write a post on saving without also deep-diving into how to store fresh food properly. Because the fact of the matter is that by storing food properly, it will not go off and last longer, which in turn will save you money on buying food. This is also one of the first lessons we learned in my Culinary Nutrition program. So, let us dive in.

A Word in Advance…

Will cutting up veggies prior to the time of using not mean losing nutrients? To a certain degree yes, some. But – and this is a big one – it will not equal the loss in nutrients that you are likely having by clearing food out and letting it go to waste 😉.

How to Store Fresh Food Properly

When you do your shopping, simply take a few minutes after to prep your produce. It will make your week run significantly smoother and will allow you to be that much quicker when actually preparing meals.

Garlic cloves in a sieve
Photo by Marc Mueller on Unsplash

Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes

All of those can be stored in a dry, cool, place. You are best to place them in a wicker basket (or similar) so that there is some air ventilation going through them. If you want to pre-cut onions and/or garlic for the week, simply place them chopped into two small glass jars. You could even put that into the freezer, that way it will last a lot longer than just a week.

Tomatoes on a vine ready for sale
Photo by Marc Mueller on Unsplash

Tomatoes

Tomatoes do not like the cold. Therefore, they should be stored in a dry, cool, place with some air ventilation ideally as well, and not in the fridge. Try to avoid having them in direct sunlight, as it will mean the tomatoes continue to ripe and become perishable quicker.

Cut open avocados forming a line
Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

Avocado

When unripe, store avocados outside of the fridge, ideally in your fruit basket. Why? Bananas and apples emit ethylene, which allows the avocado to ripen more quickly. Once ripe, store your avocado in the fridge in order to prolong its shelf-life. The cold will stop the avocado from ripening. That way, your avocado will be good for a further ca. 3 days. Once you do have a halved avocado, be sure to leave the pit in and drop some lemon juice on the other side.

Different herbs growing in plant pots
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Herbs

For the likes of cilantro, mint, basil, and parsley fill a large glass with a few inches of water and place the herbs in there. Change the water every two days. You can even screw on a lid (be sure that the herbs have enough space), but I usually keep mine open. For the likes of oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives, sage, dill, and tarragon wrap a damp kitchen towel around the herbs and place them in a plastic bag and let the air out of the bag before sealing. That way, they will not dry out and keep fresh longer.

Salad leaves photographed up close
Photo by Tite Zobaran on Unsplash

Salad Leaves / Spinach

Wash and dry the leaves thoroughly (best done with a salad spinner). Add to a large plastic bag. Add a dry kitchen towel (it will be able to soak up any remaining moisture). Let out any air before closing the bag and placing in the fridge.

Asparagus spears sticking out of a a box
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Asparagus

In Germany, we wrap a damp towel around them and place them in the fridge, that way asparagus does not dry out. Always remember that asparagus should be consumed close to the time you are buying it anyway. You can also trim off the ends and fill a large glass jar with about an inch of water and place them in there in the fridge. Wrap the top in a plastic bag. The asparagus should keep fresh like this in the fridge for about 4 days or so.

Mushrooms and dirt laying on a table
Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash

Mushrooms

Are best kept in whatever packaging they came. Store them in the fridge and perhaps add a dry paper towel to absorb any moisture. You can also dry excessive amounts of mushrooms by finely cutting and keeping them in a dry place until dried and keep in a glass jar, sealed, afterward.

A bunch of carrots with their green on top
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Pepper, Celery, Carrots

These ones can be cut in advance and stored in a glass container filled with water in the fridge. Be sure to change the water every 2 days. That way you have fresh, prepped food always on hand.

A rustic bread on a wooden background
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Bread

Bread is best kept outside of the fridge (the coldness makes bread lose its taste) and away from the oven, hob, or water cooker. Too high temperatures can lead to water molecules forming and mold being on the bread.

Blueberries shot up close
Photo by Melissa Belanger on Unsplash

Berries

Wash, clean, and dry your berries. These are best stored in the fridge with a kitchen towel lining the bottom of the berries. Do not cover them, or if you do cover them leave some room for ventilation. Change the kitchen towel when it gets wet.

And that is it for this week 🥰. I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks for storing food properly and they will help you make your food last that much longer 💕. Comment below if you have picked up any additional tips not mentioned above which have helped you to store fresh food longer! Beautiful cover photo by Latrach Med Jamil on Unsplash.

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