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Thursday, 28 April 2022

How to make fresh food last longer

Between the pandemic, floods, and the war in the Ukraine, the cost of food is skyrocketing and we’re really feeling the pinch in the fresh food aisle.

Some vegetables, like broccoli, cabbages, potatoes and cauliflower, have increased by 75 per cent in recent weeks and these are the foods we’re supposed to eat the most for their nutritional value.

Even usually fail-safe frozen foods are being impacted as issues at home and abroad disrupt supply chains and ramp up production and energy costs.

As we head into another COVID-19 winter, it’s vital that we continue to eat well and use nutritious foods to boost our immunity.

When healthy foods skyrocket in price, it’s hard to justify the spend but Endeavour College nutrition educator and nutritionist Sophie Scott, who has designed industry-leading courses on nutrition and food sustainability for Australia’s leading natural health college, has some handy hacks for getting the most out of valuable vegetables and making fresh food last longer.

  • Store herbs in a glass of water in the fridge to make them last longer and cut off some of the stems to keep them fresher for longer
  • Use swag bags to store fresh produce. You just wet the bag a little and place veggies inside – they’ll last much longer than if kept in plastic. And sustainable wrap options like beeswax wraps can be used to cover foods like cheese, sandwiches, and cut fruit or even salad bowls and jars, while also reducing the amount of cling wrap you use.
  • Leave grapes and truss tomatoes on the vine until you eat them. When you take the stalk off, you allow oxygen to enter the food and this is how it spoils. Also keep grapes in the crisper drawer, which is the coldest part of the fridge
  • Keep bananas away from other fruit and veg as they omit a gas that ripens things
  • For lettuce longevity, opt for living lettuce with soil and put it in a glass of water, then cut off leaves as you need. Lettuce needs air circulation to stay fresh so take loose leaves out of plastic and place in a colander that has been lined with paper towel. Whole heads last longer than individual leaves in bags and if you need to revive limp lettuce, submerge it in a bowl of ice water for five minutes
  • You can freeze, stew or pickle just about anything so think about stewing soft apples, freezing browning bananas, and pickling cucumbers or carrots that are on the verge
  • Don’t forget the stalks, even if the parsley leaves or broccoli florets are yellowing, chop up the stalks for flavour and extra nutrition in a soup, sauces or omelette
  • If you’ve made a cake and want it to last longer, freeze it in slices
  • If you’ve got half an avocado or apple left over and are worried about how it will keep, cover the surface with lemon juice to prevent it browning
  • Always rotate your food. Place the newest items at the back, this’ll help you remember to use up the food you have already have before it expires. And remember, check your fridge temperature is between 3-4 degrees Celsius to keep food at its best.

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