Food waste can leave a bad taste in mums’ mouths, but luckily there are loads of easy ways to store fresh food so that it stays crisp and delicious, ready to take centre stage in an upcoming five-star family meal.
Whether you cool fruit down, wrap herbs up or put veggies in a shady spot, we’ve got just the recipe for longer-lasting food. And this means shorter shopping lists and smaller checkout totals are on the menu. Yay.
Here are 32 ways you can keep fruit and veggies fresh for longer. Savings start here!
Cool as a cucumber
Where would we be without refrigerators? These chilly wonders keep food fresh, ready to feed our kids day after day. While not all fruit and veg love the cold, here are some that keep at their best for longer within your fridge’s cool embrace.
Apples: To keep apples fresh for longer, put them in the fridge drawer, unwrapped.
Asparagus: Stand the bunch in a jar of water, covered in a plastic bag.
Beets: Put them in a plastic bag before putting them in the fridge.
Cabbage: Wrap it in plastic and ready for soup, slaw or sauerkraut!
Capsicum: While it’s waiting for a stir fry, keep this in a plastic bag.
Cauliflower: This one lasts best in a plastic bag in the veggie tray.
Citrus: Lemons, limes and oranges keep well in the fridge, sans wrapping.
Ginger: Keep it unwrapped when uncut, then wrap it up when you’ve taken a slice.
Grapes: A perforated plastic bag keeps grapes plump and well, so hold onto the bag they came in.
Green beans: Wrap them in paper towel, then put the package in a plastic bag.
Lettuce: If you have a whole lettuce, put it in a plastic bag until it’s salad o’clock!
And for the inside scoop on more refrigerated foods, read on.
The freezer is a great way to preserve cooked food until you’re ready to use it (for example, making 63 serves of pasta bake for the kids), and the same goes for fruit and veg.
You can freeze most veggies if you blanch them at their peak. Just drop them into boiling water, zap them with ice water, then divide the carrots, beans and more into your required serving sizes.
The same goes for fruit. Just wash each piece, divide them into serving sizes and don’t forget to say, “freeze!”
Fruit and vegetables look great on a plate and also add colour to a room. Nothing beats the tropical flair of a pineapple or the Renaissance tones of some artfully placed pears! Here are some foods that last well at room temperature (and look great too).
Big (and little) reds
In an ideal world, you pick tomatoes straight off the vine and pile them onto a platter to enjoy, still warm from the sun. However, if you’re picking them out of a shopping bag, don’t worry. Pile toms onto a platter anyway, and keep them out of the fridge. (via Food52)
The sweetest thing
Stone fruit, like peaches, nectarines and plums, should be stored at room temperature until they start to ripen. Once they’re soft, they’ll keep in the fridge for three more days (if they’re not eaten first!) (via Mamiverse)
A spiky centrepiece
Whole pineapples can be kept at room temperature, so the whole family can enjoy their delicious aroma and sculptural appearance. Once cut, they will need to chill out in the fridge. (via eHow)
A bowl of plenty
A bowl cut may not be your taste in hair styles, but a fruit bowl suits every family! Avocados, bananas, melons, peaches, plums, tomatoes and pears last well in a bowl, so stock up on healthy food at hands-reach.
Kept in the dark
Some vegetables shun the spotlight and last longer in the dark, so it’s lights out for these ingredients.
Garlic: To keep vampires away and add flavour to recipes, unwrapped garlic prefers a low light spot.
Onions: For lasting pungency, keep onions unwrapped in a dim area.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes: Store spuds in a brown paper bag, somewhere shady.
Pumpkin: Until Halloween, no accessories are necessary. Just put your pumpkin somewhere spooky (aka dark), without any wrapping.
Peas in a pod
Like yin and yang, some unlikely ingredients can form a perfect partnership. So to extend the life of fruit and veg, it sometimes pays to put two foods together.
Broccoli + vinegar
These little ‘trees’ are great for growing bodies. To keep broccoli fresh for longer, wash it in a vinegar/water solution, then rinse well and dry it on kitchen towel. Broccoli lives in the fridge, so wrap a whole stem in cling wrap or keep itty bitty pieces in a container. (via Live Strong)
Berries + vinegar
Berries also benefit from a vinegar treatment. Wash strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in a white vinegar/water blend and don’t forget their rinse and blow-dry! They’ll last longer for little lunches and are best kept, uncovered, in the fridge. (via Momables)
Apples + potatoes
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and they’ll also keep potatoes fresher and firmer. Apples produce ethylene gas, so put one in the bag for happy and healthy spuds. (via Cosmopolitan)
Avocado + onion
Ploughing through a whole avocado can be a lunch-time challenge, so store the other half with a slice of onion. Just put the pair in an airtight container and wake up to fresh avocado on day two. (via thekitchn)
It’s a wrap!
With a little bit of cling wrap, foil or paper towel, wrapped up fruit and vegetables become the gifts that keep on giving (at least for a few extra days).
Bananas + cling wrap
If brown bananas are driving you around the bend, start wrapping up their ends. Separating ‘nanas and cosying up their ends in cling wrap adds three or four days to their shelf life. (via Somewhat Simple)
Salad leaves + paper towel
Wilted salad leaves aren’t exactly appetising, so keep them fresh with a tried and tested ‘bedtime’ routine. Just tuck them up in a container lined with paper towels. Sleep tight, little lettuce leaves! (via the kitchn)
Celery + foil
For some crispy crunch at lunch, wrap celery in foil and stick it in the fridge. It will last longer and bring a shine to your shopping list (no more soggy celery to replace!) (via WikiHow)
Carrots + paper towel
For a buncha munchy crunchy carrots, cut them up, then wrap them in a moist paper towel inside a plastic bag and refrigerate. Or just cut off the carrot tops and bag them in the fridge. Either way, they’re ready for your next recipe. (via Craftsy)
Hard-stemmed herbs + paper towel
Hard-stemmed herbs, like rosemary, thyme, marjoram and oregano like to go for a spin. Wash them in a salad spinner, roll them in damp-ish paper towel, then round them up in plastic bags in the fridge. (via The Pioneer Woman)
Mushrooms + paper bag
Pile your mushrooms into a paper bag (or keep them in the one you brought home from the shops), for firm and fabulous fungi in the fridge. (via Just DIY)
A floral accent
A bouquet of basil or a posey of parsley is a beautiful thing. Plus, herbs stay fresh and last longer with a vase (or Mason jar) to stand in.
Tender herbs, like mint, coriander, dill, parsley and tarragon, bring fragrance to the fridge. Wash them in a salad spinner, cut them like flowers (with stems on an angle) and arrange them in a jar covered with a plastic bag. (via The Pioneer Woman)
A bouquet of basil
For a bench top bouquet, put a bunch of basil in small vase or glass. With a florist cut on their stems (an angled snip), plus water and some sunlight, your herbal display will last for weeks. (via The Chronicles of Home)