There’s nothing more annoying than opening up a treat you’ve been saving for a rainy day, only to discover that’s turned into something that might have been scraped off the back of a bathroom tap. If you’re anything like me and are completely incapable of measuring appropriate portion sizes, looking after leftovers should be an essential skill. No one wants their food to rot before it can be eaten. In order to avoid disappointment the next time you peer into the recesses of your fridge, we’ve collected a few nifty hacks for making your meals go the extra mile. You can thank us next time you’re not picking the mould out of your bowl.
1. Paper and Fridge Drawers
All too often, fruit and veg sits sadly in a fridge drawer, slowly going soft and gooey thanks to a build up of moisture. In order to stop your produce from turning too quickly, line the bottom of your fridge drawers with paper towels in order to absorb excess moisture. Provided you change the towels occasionally, you’ll find that your ingredients last much longer.
2. Lemon on Avocado
No one wants to tuck into a brown, gnarly avocado, so unwanted halves can often go to waste. Fortunately, an easy way around this problem is to lightly brush the avocado flesh with lemon or lime juice. The acid will help to prevent oxidation, without adversely affecting the flavour of the fruit itself.
3. Cheese and Vinegar
Another acid-based shelf-life solution, this handy hack involves a paper towel, vinegar and a plastic baggy. Dosing the towel in the vinegar, wrapping it around the cheese and placing it in the fridge will mean that your cheddar will last a whole lot longer than it otherwise might. According to the blog “ThriftyFun”, it won’t affect the taste either.
4. Milk and the Fridge Door
There’s no ingredient that has the potential to ruin your day quite like off-milk. One of the easiest ways to prevent your carton from turning too quickly is to make sure you don’t put it in the fridge door. Studies have shown that the subtle yet constant changes in temperature brought on by opening and closing the door can cause milk to turn sour more quickly than it would if placed in the centre of the refrigerator.
5. Apple and Potatoes
Though this might be one of the stranger store cupboard hacks, it’s no less effective. Ethylene gas, which all apples produce, helps potatoes to stay firmer and prevents them from sprouting, so placing a single apple in a potato bag can be a really good idea. However, it’s worth noting that this same gas means that other fruit and veg placed alongside apples will actually decompose quicker than normal.
6. Keeping Bananas Bunched
Banana bunches might be slightly unwieldy, but they are far more resilient if left stuck together. Detaching bananas from the main stem causes oxygen to penetrate the fruit and the entire bunch to turn mushy more quickly.
7. Bread Out
Ordinarily, it’s considered a good idea to keep your food in the fridge if you want to keep it for a long time. Not so with bread. The moist environment in almost all refrigerators will actually cause bread to go stale more quickly, so you’re much better off keeping it sealed on your kitchen surface.
8. Onions and Tights
This might seem like a seriously strange foodie fetish, but it is generally agreed that hanging onions in tights in a cool, dark place helps them to last much longer. Keeping them dry and separate means that the bulbs can breathe, allowing them to stay fresh for up to six months! Just tie a knot above each onion as you stuff them into a stocking.
There’s a fine line between genius and madness. As with anything new, many of these techniques might strike the casual observer as seriously weird. Don’t listen to them. When you’re enjoying onions six months down the line, you’ll be the one who’s laughing.