If you’re stocking up for lockdown or self-isolation for #COVID-19, you need to understand how to make fresh food last longer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us on the back foot. It has arrived in South Africa, and with testing increasing we are seeing the numbers of infected people rise at an alarming rate. From midnight Thursday, we begin a 21-day lockdown.
There is no need for panic as food stores, supermarkets and other essential businesses will remain open and assure us that they will restock when they run out, but the point is really to stay at home; to only go out when absolutely necessary. That is why it is good to have some tips on how to extend the life of your fresh food.
Vegetables Don’t Last Long
Vegetables, even the ones from Woolies, don’t last that long. Carrots, onions, potatoes are long lasting, but the leafy greens, cucumbers, zucchini and most salad ingredients can go bas within days, so if you try to stock up for 14 days to self-isolate, a lot of your veggies will god bad.
There are many factors that affect a vegetable’s life, from the time you get it into your kitchen to the time you prepare it. You can extend its shelf life longer than you think. The right storage conditions play a big role, but there are other ways that you can preserve produce longer, and make the most out of your produce purchases.
You can extend the life of your leafy greens—along with parsley, dhania, green onions, and celery—by trimming just a tiny bit off their stems every few days, soaking them in warm water for about 10 minutes, and soaking again in cold tap water for five minutes.
Everyone wants the best and freshest food for themselves and their family but with the lockdown we need to keep out of the stores and keep our food at home for longer. But don’t stress too much, our mothers and grandmothers knew the secrets to keeping food fresh longer naturally.
Ten Ways to Keep Vegetables Fresher for Longer
- Buy the best quality, freshest veggies you can afford.
- Prepare produce for storage and store it as soon as you get home.
- Remove vegetable greenery/tops.
- Remove excess moisture – paper towels are perfect for this.
- Don’t just place items in the fridge. Plastic bags or kitchen towels can protect them.
- Think about placement in the fridge. (The back of the fridge can often be too cold).
- Store items that you will leave out of the refrigerator, like tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, and fruits in a cool, dry place.
- Roots, greens, lettuces, and herbs can be shocked in ice water and quite literally, revived.
- Check your produce during storage. Change paper towels, trim off wilted or brown parts.
- Be willing to change your game plan.
Cook and Freeze
These ways will help you keep your veggies fresh, but remember you can also cook and freeze or make a minestrone – a great dish when you need to clean out the vegetable draw and don’t want to waste vegetables that are still ok, but not in great form.
After all, the goal is to waste nothing and also save a bit of money.
Store Soups and Stews in Freezers
Making soups and stews at home not only will save you some bucks, but storing them in freezer will make them last longer – up to a month or more. Remember to not add ingredients that spoil fast like milk or cream or yoghurt. Choose only those items that keep the food fresh – like lemon, soy sauce and so on. (Most of our containers work well in the freezer)
Freeze Meats in a Re-sealable Bag
Never let the frozen meat, seafood or poultry stay in the same supermarket wrapping. Remove the wrappings they came in and repack them. Guard them against freezer burn by double wrapping in freezer paper or placing them in a resealable plastic bag.
Here are Ten Tips for Freezing Food Smartly
This may not be as important, but remember to keep foods that expire sooner towards to top and front of your fridge so you’re reminded to use them sooner.
Household Plastic has an extensive Kitchen Department with everything you need to prepare and preserve food.