How to Make Food in the Refrigerator Last Longer
A refrigerator is an indispensable appliance in any household to store away our food items.
They include cooked food and groceries and many other things. With grocery shopping being a fortnight activity, the need to store rose notches higher with the COVID pandemic catching us unawares.
But, we have all faced the situation when we take out vegetables, fruits, and other items from the refrigerator to find them wilted, stale, and sometimes destroyed beyond edible. It is estimated that about 40 per cent of its food is thrown away every year in the USA.
The reason for it is pretty straightforward. Storing the food in the fridge is an art that many are not aware of.
Given that, we share some incredible storage techniques that would make the food in the refrigerator last much longer than the usual. Read on!
Refrigerator rules to follow diligently
Following these refrigerator rules increase its efficiency and automatically increases the shelf life of the food items stored inside it.
- Ensure that the temperature of the fridge is always at 40 F or lower. If it is not cooling at that temperature, you should invest in a quality thermostat or replace the refrigerator
- The fridge must never be overcrowded. It hampers proper air circulation leading to the creation of warm pockets in the refrigerator. It spoils the food faster
- Vegetable Crisper in the refrigerator has extra humidity than the rest. It’s best to store leafy vegetables and all other produces requiring high humidity there. The excess moisture keeps them fresh. Few refrigerators have humidity settings as well. If available, you can even set it to high-humidity levels
- Food must never be kept in their packaged container. You must always transfer it to a clean and airtight container before freezing for a longer shelf-life.
Wrap your greens in paper towels while storing
Be it spinach, lettuce, or any other greens; they move from fresh to sad to wilting and slimy in record time.
To elongate their shelf life and keep them fresh and crisp, store them in a clean airtight plastic bag or container with a few sheets of paper towels all around. The paper towel absorbs excess moisture and keeps them fresh.
Remember to change the paper towels in a day or two to stop them from getting destroyed by the moist towels.
Storing fruit and vegetables
Once you have purchased your weekly fruits and vegetables, it best to segregate them while storing. Fruits produce ethylene gas which can cause vegetables to ripen quicker. Keeping them separately will increase their shelf life.
Another tip is to resist washing them before storing. The leftover moisture accelerates their rotting and molding.
Fruits and vegetables that dry out fast should be stored in perforated plastic bags that maintain a moist environment and still keeps the air circulation immaculate.
Storing Avocados halves
We often have half-used avocados that tend to get oxidized easily.
To save them, brush the cut and exposed portion with lemon juice before wrapping it tightly in a plastic wrap. The citric acid of the lemon juice acts as a natural preservative. It should now be placed upside down in the fridge.
You can easily save easily oxidizable fruits and vegetables like apple, banana, etc. by storing in the same manner.
Storing celery, broccoli, cilantro, parsley, etc.
Aluminium foil is a wonderful preserving agent. Wrapping broccoli, celery, cilantro, parsley, etc. in aluminium foil tightly would keep it fresh and crispy for up to a month.
The foil keeps them fresh and clean while allowing any ripening hormone, the ethylene, to escape from its porous surface.
Take care to precut and wash them before storing and wrapping them as tightly as possible.
Be it strawberry, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, they rot quickly.
But a vinegar bath delays their deterioration. Soak them in a solution of one-part vinegar and three-part water for about half an hour. It will kill any bacteria present on it and delay any molding or rotting. After taking out, pat dry them and store them in a clean wrap in the refrigerator.
Remember to keep the measurements right to keep the taste of vinegar out.
You often find mold growing on the cheese. To prevent that, discard its plastic cover and wrap it in a paper towel lightly damped with vinegar. You can also wrap it in parchment paper or wax paper. Its shelf life would increase by a month.
Storing carrots and beets
The leafy green stems of root vegetables like carrots and beets look very attractive, but they tend to draw nutrients from the vegetables and dehydrate them. It leads to their deterioration. Thus, you must cut away all stems and leaves immediately after bringing them home.
They should be cut about half an inch from the top before storing them in the fridge in a plastic bag.
For making carrots last almost a month, immerse them completely in water in an airtight container and then keep it in the refrigerator. Remember to change the water every three or four days.
We often tend to store milk on the fridge gates where they turn sour faster. To make them last longer, transfer them to a glass jug or container from their carton and store them at the back of the fridge, which is its coldest zone.
Try placing tomatoes with their stems down in the refrigerator. It not only prevents the moisture from getting out but also blocks the air from getting in. This way, tomatoes remain fresh for much longer.
We hope you will find our preserving hacks useful. Do you know any such clever, preserving hack? For any comments, suggestions, or feedback, do get back to us. We would love to hear from you.