We love strawberries in our house but they seem to go off so quickly sometimes? And potatoes! What is with the sprouty bits that seem to appear overnight. I’ve been doing a bit of research into how to keep food fresh so I thought I’d share my findings with you. Some of the tips have really cracked me up… Apparently we should be keeping our onions in our tights. Okay then.
General tips on how to keep food fresh
Ok let’s kick off with general habits we can form to help improve the freshness of our food.
You need to keep your fridge at the right temperature which should ideally be between 3 to 4 degrees. The fridge is cooler at the bottom than at the top so keeping your meat and veg at the bottom is ideal.
Make sure you’re checking dates on the food you’re buying and go for the latest ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ you can find. If you remove a couple of items on the shelf you might find better dates at the back.
Line the drawers in your fridge with paper towels – this will absorb any condensation and keep your veggies crisper and fresher for longer. When your fridge door is opened, items in the door are subject to temperature increases and so these items may have a shorter shelf life. For example, you might want to store your milk in the main fridge rather than the door for this reason.
The other thing you can do to help is to do some prep of your fresh food when you get it back from the shop. If it’s all ready to go you’re more likely to actually use it. For example, I wash my grapes when I unpack, line the bottom of the container with kitchen paper and then place them in the fridge which means they’re there for me to pick at as and when I please.
10 ways to keep fruit and veg fresh
• Keep mushrooms fresher by keeping them refrigerated in a paper bag
• Keep apples separate from other fruit as they will cause them to rot quicker
• Although apples are no good for other fruits, they are great for potatoes – storing them together will prevent your
potatoes from sprouting
• Remove plastic wrapping from lettuce and wrap it in paper towels before putting it in the fridge
• Washing berries in a vinegar solution will dramatically improve their life. Mix 1 part vinegar and 10 parts water – the solution is diluted enough that you wont taste the vinegar. Strawberries should last about 2 weeks if you do this!
• Wrap the stems of bananas in cellophane and keep them together rather than separating the bunch
• Don’t put tomatoes in the fridge. They’re best kept on the counter. Putting them in the fridge will ruin their flavour.
• Don’t store potatoes and onions in the fridge. They should be kept in cool, dark places
• If you notice your lettuce going limp – submerge it in ice water and it will perk back up
• If you need an avocado to ripen, keep it on your counter. If you have an avocado that is ripening too quickly, pop it in the fridge and it will slow down the process
Keeping fish, meat and eggs fresh
• Fish should ideally be kept on ice in the fridge. Fish also generally freezes really well so that’s also an option
• Keep your meat in its original packaging if you intend to eat it 2-3 days after purchase. If you need it to last longer remove the packaging, wrap the meat in foil and keep it in a freezer bag in the freezer.
• Keep your eggs in their original box. If you’re uncertain as to the freshness of the egg you can test them. Fill a glass with water and place your egg in. If it sinks it should be fresh and if it floats it’s probably no good.
Keeping bread and pantry goods fresh
• Don’t keep your bread in the fridge. The moist environment can cause it to go off quicker than if it was to be kept dry on your worktop or in a cupboard.
• Use airtight containers. They will keep your cereals etc fresher for longer. I recently bought these cereal containers I’m really pleased with them (they’re not the most attractive but are winning on practicality) and they have made my cupboard so much neater as well. You can see the perfect example of how to store your dry goods in the kitchen section of Elle’s modern country home house tour.
• If you’ve ever noticed that your salt shaker gets a bit clogged at the end, try popping a grain or two of rice in with the salt and you should notice a big difference as it will absorb any moisture caught in the shaker.
• Have you ever thrown away honey because it looks a bit crystallised and not very appetising? I have. But apparently it doesn’t go off! You can microwave it in small increments and see it thin back out.
So there you have it – hopefully a few tips that might make your strawberries last longer and your potatoes be less sprouty. I’ve put a handy pin together for you so you can print it off and stick it somewhere in your kitchen as a reminder of the tips and tricks and what should go where for maximum freshness.
Do you have any tips on how to keep food fresh? Do you think these things really work? What’s your best fresh food hack?