It’s estimated that Australians throw away nearly $8 billion dollars worth of food a year and sitting right at the top of that figure is fresh produce. There are plenty of things you can do to avoid this waste, including only buying what you need, using a meal planner and being inventive with left-overs, but learning how to make produce last longer in the fridge is also a really smart way to make sure your groceries don’t find their way to the bin before they have even hit the plate.
We have put together a list of ingenious tips to make sure you get the longest life possible out of the fresh items in the fridge. Put them to use and you will save yourself some money in your weekly shop as well as help decrease the tons of food thrown away every year.
1) Fresh herbs are very expensive and incredibly delicate. But if you store them like flowers (in a jar with water), cover with plastic and then refrigerate, you’ll be amazed at just how long you can make them last. You can even store asparagus with this method.
2) To prolong the life of your lettuce in the fridge, pop the leaves in a bowl and slide a piece of paper towel in before covering in plastic wrap. The paper towel absorbs the moisture and will keep lettuce fresh all week long.
3) You can keep celery and broccoli fresh for up to four weeks or more in the fridge if you wrap them in tin foil.
4) Berries are another expensive item that seem to spoil much too quickly. The trick to keeping them fresh is to store them in a single layer, so the juice doesn’t leak out onto the berries below and cause them to ferment and grow mould.
5) Mushrooms do their best work in a paper bag (whether in the fridge or in a cool dry place). Storing them in as plastic bag just traps the moisture and encourages mildew to grow.
6) Go old school and invest in some mason jars – after all, there’s a good reason they are used for preserving! Produce will keep for many days longer in a jar than it would in a plastic container.
7) Keep your milk and other very perishable dairy items on the top shelf of the fridge. The door might seem more convenient but because the fridge-door is constantly being opened and closed, the temperature is less stable in this area.
8) Items like tomato paste or guacamole will last a whole lot longer if your spray the surface lightly with cooking oil before covering and refrigerating.
9) Make sure you clean and disinfect your fridge on a regular basis. Mouldy old food lurking around the corners of your fridge just can’t wait to infect your lovely fresh produce.
10) Last of all; keep an eye on the temperature of your fridge. It should be set at 5-degrees Celsius or below to avoid harmful bacteria.
Panasonic’s range of refrigerators feature vegetable crispers that maintain the ideal temperatures and humidity required for storing fresh produce, plus surround cooling airflow to ensure all items in the fridge are gently chilled without becoming dehydrated.