Summer Fruit Salad (Crowded Kitchen)
Here are a few tips to make fresh produce last longer, to avoid food waste. A third of all fresh food is thrown away (enough food is thrown away worldwide to feed all the world’s starving people). The end of the post also has tips on how to make fresh bread last longer.
The main reasons why fresh produce goes off is:
- Buying too much (supermarkets could help by selling one apple, as opposed to a bag of them).
- Ethylene gas. This is the gas that fruits give off, and makes things go mouldy.
- Not storing fruits and veggies properly.
Tips to Make Fresh Produce Last Longer
- Check the temperature of your fridge. Your manual should say how cold it should be. Make sure that it’s the correct temperature for safety. Did you know you should also store cantaloupe the same way as meat (wrapped and away from everything)? Due to salmonella risks.
- A stacked freezer is okay, but you should let air circulate your fridge. Have a little clear-out every couple of days. Keeping a small jar of open baking soda or leftover charcoal water filters in the fridge, helps to prevent odours.
- Generally the bottom fridge shelves are cooler, so go for the most perishable foods there (if you live with someone who eats meat, store it here as it’s colder and won’t drop juices down to the veggie’s shelf below).
- Most fridges and freezers can’t cope with very cold outside temperatures. So try not to store white goods in a garage or shed.
- Let hot food cool, before putting it in the fridge. Otherwise it warms up the fridge, and also could be a food safety hazard, by breeding bacteria
- Try to keep produce dry. Only rinse or wash mushrooms and berries etc, just before use.
- Asparagus is ‘similar to a vase of fresh flowers’. As soon as you buy it, trim the stems and pop them in a vase of water, then store in the fridge.
- Store carrots and celery in a tub of water in the fridge, change the water every day or two.
- Keep produce away from apples, pears, potatoes and bananas, to make them last longer. However if you have something you want to ripen quickly (say some rock-hard pears), put them next to these fruits, to speed up ripening.
- Wash salad leaves, soak in cold water for a couple of hours. Then dry in a spinner and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
Organic Spice Produce Saver Sheets
These organic spice produce saver sheets are made by The Freshglow Co. With over 2000 positive reviews, this has been called the best kitchen invention ever. The founder uses her Indian grandmother’s knowledge to create sheets that you simply add to bowls of fruit or salad produce, to make it last longer, using Indian spices. You can buy these in Australia (and a similar item in UK from Eddington’s).
A great way to reduce food waste, these sheets were years in perfection and keep fresh produce up to 2 to 4 times longer. Plastic-free, just drop a sheet into your fridge crisper draw, fruit bowl, carton of berries or bag of greens. Then the sheets compost when done. ! pack of 8 sheets is a 2 month supply, so pays for itself in around week, by reducing food waste.
Where to Buy Vegan Food Wraps
You’ve likely seen those beeswax food wraps everywhere, but did you know that you can also buy vegan versions? These tend to be made with pine wax, they are flammable, so keep them away from naked flames and heat/ovens.
This DIY Reusable Food Wrap Kit has all you need to make your own vegan food wraps. Made in the UK, it contains 3 cotton squares for waxing, instructions, a wooden spreading spatula and a wax bar (made from candelilla wax, pine resin and jojoba oil). You can also buy a wax refresher bar.
Vegan Wax Wraps are sold in a set of 3, of various sizes. The perfect alternative to clingfilm, tinfoil and paper.
Reusable Food Covers
These food covers have interesting messages on, to inspire less food waste.
Or get these write on, wash off bowl covers that come with a pink or blue washable pen, so you can write the contents, who made it and when it has to be used up by.
Reusable Food Covers are made from cloth, usually cotton or linen. These just cover bowls in place of clingfilm or tinfoil, to help keep food fresh. These come in several pretty designs.
How to Make Fresh Herbs Last Longer
To keep fresh herbs fresh, snip off and compost any wilted leaves. Soft-stemmed herbs should be placed in a little water, and stored in a glass jar in the fridge (not at the back where colder temperatures could be too much for them). For thicker herbs with stems (like rosemary), just wrap in a cotton damp cloth and also store in the fridge. Fresh basil should be stored in a little glass of water, outside the fridge. If you buy those pots of herbs from supermarkets, give them a little spray of water, but not too much and store away from direct sunlight.
OXO GreenSaver Herb Keeper ensures proper airflow and controlled humidity, by holding herbs gently away from the side walls, in this unique basket. It has handles for easy removal, and opens wide from the hinged centre, to protect herbs as you add and remove. Add water to the bottom, to keep herbs hydrated. Fits neatly on fridge shelves, and is narrow enough to fit most fridge doors. Sold in two sizes (for small bunches or long-stemmed herbs).
Apeel offers plant-based protection to make food last longer. Oxygen stays outside and moisture stays inside. This tasteless and odourless plant-based product can make produce last twice as long. It slows spoilage and works with global suppliers with both organic and conventional produce. It uses materials that exist in the peels, seeds and pulps of veggies and fruits.
Switch to Reusable Food Covers
Reusable food covers are the zero waste alternative to disposable ways to cover food, like clingfilm (a very toxic form of plastic) and aluminium foil (if used, choose a brand made from recycled foil like If You Care (also in an extra strong version) is made from recycled foil in a cardboard box, if you use it).
Often if you make too much food or cut an apple or onion in half, you need to cover the food, to stop it going off. You could of course very simple solutions (cover it with a plate!) But if you need extra help, here are some zero waste solutions. The main ones are cloth covers (often with plant wax to keep food fresh) and silicone (these covers look and act like plastic). Although they are made with oil (and sand), they are food-grade (and easily recycled).
Be careful, as some ‘natural food covers’ have plastic lining, which means that microplastics would break off in the machine, when laundered. If used, do so in a microplastic catch bag.
Tabitha Eve Reusable Food Covers are made from stretchy cotton, in unique gorgeous designs (Olive Branch or Dragonfruit). Sold in a set of 3, they are suitable for small Pyrex bowls and most cereal bowls. a unique design. Sold in a set of 3,
Tabitha Eve Reusable Bowl Covers are so pretty, and ideal for a rustic kitchen. Choose from Natural or Duck Egg Blue.
Silicone Food Storage Solutions
This set of 6 silicone food covers is designed to last for years. Food-safe, the covers stretch to fit square or round contains, and can also fit over a salad bowl, pumpkin or even a watermelon. Wash before use in warm soapy water (dishwasher-safe, but avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbing brushes, soaking stains in a solution of baking soda). Ensure they are dry before nesting them back inside each other.
Silicone Food Huggers are ideal to snugly fit over perishable foods, ideal if you’ve only cut half a cut onion, apple etc. Also perfect for half-consumed drinks. Dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe.
This Mini Silicone Bundle is good to store leftovers, or carry snacks. Includes 2 different-sized pouches and 6 stretch lids.
The Silicone Super Bundle includes 3 of each size, with the same 6 super stretch lids.
Around the World
Stasher is a global brand of reusable silicone bags, with unique leak-free seals. Safe for the dishwasher and freezer, do not turn these bags inside out, as it will degrade the strength of the bonded edges (to deep-clean, use a an eco bottle brush). For odours, soak in 50/50 warm water & white vinegar (not food-grade) bath for a few hours. Let the sun bleach out stains.