Shopping in the time of the coronavirus pandemic just got a bit more complicated.
While we already knew we were guilty throwing too much food away, we now have the double-edged sword of probably being forced into a position of buying too much food in one shop.
With that in mind we've put together a list of how to keep the essentials fresher for longer, so you don't waste and you don't have to go out food shopping more than you need to.
From techniques like vacuum sealing, pickling and blanching to honing in on particular foods that deserve some special TLC, here are our top tips for making your food stay fresher for longer.
If you've got any tried and tested family tips on how to make produce last, let us know over at your FB page.
How to Extend the Shelf Life of the Essentials
Not only is pickling a great, tasty and satisfying way of extending the shelf life of fresh produce, it also adds a depth of flavour that can lift almost any dish.
From quick pickling to beetroot and onions find out how simple the process is, anyone can do it, no special equipment needed, just some sealable jars.
Find out just about everything you can pickle here.
Grapes can go bad in under a week in the fridge, but put them in the freezer and they'll last for months. Just wash and dry them, place them on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they're frozen store them in an airtight sealed container in the freezer. When it gets hot outside they're a great frozen sweet frozen treat!
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HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE 💫 We’re loving our new country sourdough recipe. It’s loaded with more wholegrain and reduced levain for prolonged fermentation. It feels so refreshing to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch on something we do on a daily basis. #kitchn
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When you get a fresh whole loaf of bread home, slice it up immediately and wrap the slices in foil or plastic that you're not going to eat that day and stick in the freezer for another day.
Broth, non-cream soup, or pasta sauce
Guilty of leaving forgotten half used boxes, jars or cans at the back of the fridge until they've gone bad? Why not break the habit and transfer the remainder to an airtight container and freeze to keep it fresh until you need it.
If you're not big on using lots of flour, seal what's left in the bag in airtight wrapping and refrigerate to keep it fresh and bug free. For those who use flour even less fequently, it may be more practical to store it in the freezer, where it will keep indefinitely.
Store beans in small, freezer-proof packages in the freezer for up to a month if you’re buying in bulk.
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I grew up with chickens as a child. But our chickens eggs never looked this pretty! It must be so fun choosing laying hens these days. I picked these up from our favorite farm and brewery @sidewaysfarmandbrewery. Carrieann even delivered them curbside. Aren’t they the most beautiful springy thing you’ve seen? If you’re local, go get some, she says her hens are laying 3 dozen a day. . I needed a little rainbow love today. Maybe you did too. 🌈 Sending lots of virtual hugs and love your way. . . . #rainboweggs #fresheggs #eggenvy #happychickens #farmfresheggs #appalaciangrown #knowyourfarmer #farmfresh
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Eggs can usually last in the fridge for 3-5 weeks after they are purchased, but put them in the freezer and they'll last up to a year. To store, simply crack the eggs and beat them, then freeze in an airtight container.
Give leftover wine a little extra life by putting it in the refrigerator (both reds and whites), or transferring to a smaller bottle to limit its oxygen exposure.
Take clean dry cucumbers and wrap in paper towels and tuck inside a plastic bag. It doesn't need to be re-sealable - air circulation is good!
If you have an excess of cucumbers blend them in a juicer and freeze the juice into ice cubes for a refreshing kick to summer drinks and cocktails.
Scatter fresh berries on a baking tray and place it in the freezer (this avoids clumps of berries if frozen together). Once frozen solid, store them in a sealed freezer bag.
Blanch Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like kale or spinach can be kept frozen in the freezer by first dropping the leaves in boiling water for a short period then transferring them to ice water to stop the cooking. After they’re in the ice water, they can be kept in a container in the freezer for up to 10 months.
Put carrots in a perforated plastic bag on a couple of layers of paper towel in the fridge. And they'll last for weeks.
Mushrooms hate moisture. Store your favourite fughi in a paper bag in the refrigerator rather than in a plastic bag to stop them going mouldy so quickly.
Green peppers, broccoli and celery
Increase the shelf life of green peppers, broccoli and celery by wrapping them in tin foil and cutting off the ends - it works a treat.
Keep lettuce crisp and fresh by washing and then spinning dry and storing it in a perforated container (like a colander) in the fridge.
Another useful bit of kit to invest in is a good vacuum sealer. They remove air, seal in flavour and quality, and prevents freezer burn. Perfect for protecting and food made in advance and leftovers, for food going into the fridge or freezer.
Find out more about vacuum sealing here.
Stick onions in the legs of old stockings and tie up like a sausage both ends. Hung up vertically in the kitchen it will definitely add a talking point to your kitchen plus the onions will be protected from the air and last longer.
Ricotta cheese and sour cream
Want to make your fresh ricotta cheese or sour cream last a little longer? Try placing the container upside down. The air space should help delay bacterial growth.
Apples Going Solo
Apples might have super-powers for good when it comes to ripening certain fruits more quickly like kiwi or avocado but they can become worst enemies when placed in close proximity to peaches, apricots, pineapple etc as they give off gases that speed up the rotting process!!
In the same way as parsley, stand your asparagus in a glass of water and see for yourself how long it stays crisp and fresh.
Keep milk on the bottom shelf of the fridge, rather than the door where the temperature fluctuates.
If you freeze milk leave ‘head space’ in the container if you’re freezing it, because it will expand. It should keep well for up to a few months,
Stand them up in the water, like a bunch of flowers or freeze them in ice-cube trays.
Find out how all you need to know about drying, freeze and preserving herbs in oil here.
Re-grow veg from scraps
Why not save yourself the bother of going out atall and get creative growing your own fruit and veg at home? Here's how; 16 fruit and veg you can re-grow from scraps at home.
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I'm not a patient person, but this was well worth the wait. Dehydrated for 36 days at 130° (the last week at 158°) my dehydrator only runs for a Max time of 19.5 hours, so every time I walked past it, I added more time. our whole apartment smells like it 🖤 . . . #chefathome #blackgarlic #timewellspent #garlic #dehydrated #dehydratedfood #gourmia #funky #truecooks #onceyougoblack @gourmia
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Dehydrating foods like garlic, tomatoes and fruit is another ingenious way of extending the shelf life of perishable foods as well as having fun with a new piece of kitchen kit! Find out all the foods you didn't know you could dehydrate here
Store your groceries properly
Find out what should live where and why to maximise the life of your perishables.
Bananas are one of the worst culprits for going bad before you need them. Always remove them from any plastic packaging when you get home and try to hang them on a stand in a cool dry place, you can even try wrapping the stems (the crown) in plastic wrap to delay the ageing process.
Other techniques include wrapping each individual banana in cling film or peeling them and placing them in the freezer in containers.
Cheese lovers are bound to be well stocked up! Make sure you show each individual cheese some love by storing them wrapped in greaseproof paper. It is better to put mature cheese on the top shelves of the fridge to protect it from extreme temperatures, fresh cheese varieties keep better on the lower shelves where the temperature should be around 2-4°C.