You may have noticed that your vegetables and other food products go off after just a few days and force you to throw away fresh food before eating it? This will obviously cost you more money. The average UK household throws away £800’s worth of food each year*, which equates to roughly £66 a month.
It is increasingly important for people to be able to make food last longer, which ultimately results in fewer costs and save money. A top 10 food hacks was compiled by to make your weekly shop go that little further and prolong your fresh food’s shelf life.
It is increasingly essential for people to be able to make food last longer, which ultimately results in fewer costs. The Moneyboat.co.uk compiled a top 10 food hacks to make your weekly shop go that little further and prolong your fresh food’s shelf life.
1. Add salt to your milk once opened
Depending on the type of milk you use, once opened, it can last anywhere from four to ten days if kept in the fridge.
However, you can stretch that timeframe a bit further by adding a pinch of salt to the carton immediately after opening, as salt is a preservative and deters bacteria from growing. Make sure to give the carton a good shake and place it in the fridge as soon as possible.
2. Avoid storing your milk in the fridge door
Store your milk in the coolest part of the fridge. The door is, in fact, the warmest part of the fridge as it is furthest away from the cooling system. So, keep your milk at the back, the middle or on higher shelves for maximum cool to lengthen the shelf life.
3. Wrap hard cheese in parchment paper
Ditch the plastic packaging and wrap hard cheese in parchment or baking paper. This allows the cheese to breathe to avoid drying out and prevents any extra moisture and mould from growing. Hard cheese can usually last up to four weeks when stored correctly in the fridge.
4. Vinegar disinfect your veggies to last for up to two weeks
A great way to disinfect your fruits and veggies is to give them a vinegar bath. The vinegar solution should have a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water in a bowl or your clean sink. Empty your produce into the solution and let sit for 15 minutes. Once done, you can rinse and thoroughly dry your produce before moving them into their respective storage containers.
The vinegar solution disinfects, cleans and removes any bacteria from the produce that might break down the food quicker. The solution should not be strong enough that you can taste it on the product afterwards and enables your veggies to last for up to two weeks.
5. Store berries with a paper towel
Once dried, store the berries in airtight glass containers with a dry paper towel. The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture, preventing mould from growing. Changing the paper towel every other day will allow for maximum freshness and shelf life of up to three weeks.
6. Keep your bananas separate from other fruits
All fruits produce a certain level of a gas known as ‘ethylene’. Fruits such as bananas have a higher concentration when they are ready to ripen as it speeds up the ripening process. Some fruits that fall into the high ethylene producing category are apples, peaches, pears, melons and avocado.
Keeping the ethylene-producing fruits, specifically bananas, away from your ethylene-sensitive fruits will prevent excessive exposure to the gas, allowing the fruit to ripen naturally and last longer. Depending on the fruit, they can last from three to five days to a few weeks at room temperature.
To slow the ripening process for bananas, you can wrap the stem in cling film or the slightly eco-friendlier aluminium foil. Covering as a bunch or individually will add a day or two to the ripening process, usually lasting between three to five days (at room temperature).
7. Treat your fresh herbs like flowers
For those who prefer fresh herbs over dried ones, a top tip is to treat them like flowers. Add water to a jar and place the herbs inside with a plastic bag over the top. The water helps keep the herbs fresh whilst the bag is a barrier against any excess moisture.
If your fridge doesn’t accommodate upright jars, you can store your fresh herbs in an airtight glass container (or plastic bag if you prefer) with a damp paper towel. This helps the herbs retain their moisture, so they don’t dry out too quickly and wilt.
Both of these methods can aid your fresh herbs in lasting up to three weeks.
8. Freeze your fresh herbs
If you prefer fresh herbs but find you don’t use them up quickly enough, you can also freeze them. For example, you can store fresh-cut spices in olive oil in ice cube trays and freeze them for perfect portions. Alternatively, use water instead of oil. This method can also be used for fresh garlic and ginger with water.
9. Ice your bread
If you find that your bread has become stale, grab an ice cube and run it over the loaf before popping it into the oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also douse the loaf in water. This adds moisture back into the bread and allows it to become edible once more. The bread should then be used within the day.
A freshly made loaf of bread can last up to four days, whereas a store-bought loaf will last up to one week.
10. Freeze your nuts
Most nuts and seeds have a shelf life of three to six months. To extend their lifespan, they are best stored in cool, dark spaces; although the back of the cupboard is suitable, keeping them in the fridge can help them to stay fresher for longer. If you find that six months is not enough time to nibble your way through your nuts, then you’ll be pleased to hear that they can be frozen – which extends their shelf life to one year.
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