Supermarkets are known for always having fresh looking vegetables on their shelves to help them sell. But, you may know that there are certain things even supermarkets do to prevent spoilage within their stores. A trade fact is to never store Banana’s near other fruits because of the chemicals they release that make other fruits turn.
To be fair to supermarkets, it's not always about how good their fruits look though, as can be see with the recent ‘Odd Bunch Campaign’ at Woolies (who are offering disfigured/oddly shaped fruit and veg at a discount). However, whether you've bought pristine looking or somewhat oddly shaped items, there are plenty of things you can do to continue preserving them once they get home. Spoilage equals money wasted, equals bad value for money, equals time wasted trying to find good deals in the store. So let me tell you about various ways that you can add value to your purchase after you get home.
Ethylene Gas Guardian
The first step to preserving your fruit and veg for longer is by getting yourself an E.G.G. (Ethylene Gas Guardian). This product is relatively cheap at around $15 from Raw-Pleasure for example. The product absorbs ethylene, which is a chemical that most fruit and veg emit. Ethylene causes fruit ant veg to ripen and spoil faster. Whack the E.G.G. into your produce drawer and slow the process down for good.
Grocery Life Span
Spending half and hour educating yourself on how long fruit and vegetables last once you get them home can prevent you buying the wrong amounts of produce. Check out this great list, which represents how long different meats, fruits and veg last when refrigerated and frozen.
Fruit and Veg are delicate forms of food and when exposed to oxygen they will spoil much faster. If you’re planning a big BBQ or large meal for friends and family on Australia Day for example it’s a good rule of thumb to chop fresh produce as late as possible. As soon as you chop or break up fruit and veg you damage its cell composition, which triggers the growth of microorganisms. Chopping mushrooms for a salad for example 30 min’s before you serve will make them turn brown and look aesthetically unpleasing.
I personally whack the bread straight into the freezer when I get it home because it takes no time at all to defrost. A good habit to get into is splitting the loaf, half into the fridge and half into the freezer if you don’t plan on using the entire loaf within the first week of buying. The biggest mistake you can make is leaving the bread out in room temperature, as especially in this heat mould will start growing.
It’s a fact organic food spoils much quicker due to the lack of preservatives used in its harvest. Try planning your shop in line with your meals to ensure you have fresh products for each meal. In the Australian heat even the freshest products can turn within a matter of hours given the right environment. One quick tip even just for the summer could be to buy non-organic products to replace the organic produce that you find yourself continuously throwing away.
Investing in a herb savour can help you preserve your herbs and spices for a much longer period. It accomplishes this by firstly containing the herbs in a sealed space and also keeping the roots partly submerged in water. Pick one up at Kitchenwaredirect for roughly $35.
Utilising Soon to Expire Produce
A great way to save money and not throw away good food is to use them before they turn beyond the point of no return. Using really ripe or bruised apples within an apple pie or crumble is a great option. Whacking a bunch of limp veg into a stir-fry is also a great way to use them up. If you’re stuck for ideas, don’t be shy the Internet won’t bite.
Get into the habit of storing any left over food or un-used chopped produce in Tupperware containers. These handy little plastic tubs prevent air from getting in and out, which helps preserve the food for a much longer period.
Seal Packaged Foods
Foodstuffs that come within a packet such as crisps are much easier to store within their original packaging, so sometimes Tupperware isn’t practical. To preserve these foods once opened is simple, roll the end and stick a clothesline clip on the end to keep it sealed. This ensures those crisps will have the same crunch when you come back to them tomorrow or even next week.
Pre-Cut Fruit and Veg
Time is precious, so sometimes that chopped bag of salad or fruits is quicker and easier. However, if you don’t plan on using all of it within a week generally speaking, they spoil much faster than whole produce regardless of how many Tupperware containers you put them in. To save more money and keep produce for longer, try to avoid these pre-cut products.
If you notice one piece of fruit turning, quickly remove it from the bunch because it will cause the others to turn faster also. Mould spreads quickly so act fast to save money and preserve your produce.
A final word of advice during the Australian summer is to try organising your fridge according to the products you buy. This can really help you keep track of expiry dates. Storing fresh produce within sight is a great way to keep it at the front of your mind, whereas storing processed foods at the back, out of sight that are less likely to have upcoming expiry dates will help save money and prevent overall fruit and veg wastage.