Christmas: the time of over-catering, over-eating, and enjoying leftovers. But there is often a huge amount of food wasted over this period - and we hate that! So here are our tips to ensure your produce and leftover food is kept fresher for longer.
Store it right
The only veggies that should be kept at room temperature are potatoes, onions, garlic and pumpkin. All other vegetables should be stored in the fridge. I like to keep most fruit at room temperature, except for berries and mangoes (how delicious are in-season mangoes from the fridge!). If you buy room temperature eggs from a farmer, it’s fine to keep them at room temperature. But if you buy already refrigerated eggs, store them in the fridge. And don't forget, eggs last looonnnggg past their 'use by' date. So don't just chuck them out, test them first!
When it comes to caring for fruit and veg, the humble paper bag is your best friend. Mushrooms are best stored in paper bags (then refrigerated), and unripe bananas can be ripened in paper bags. But note, leafy greens and lettuces don’t do well in paper.
Plastic is not always fantastic
Plastic can help veggies stay fresher for longer, but it depends on how you use it. Don't keep all your veggies in plastic bags, store most (like carrots, leek, spring onion etc) freely in your crisper. Green beans and tomatoes are best kept in a plastic bag to prevent them from being damaged by other vegetables. Leafy greens are also great in a plastic bag to help stop wilting. But the trick is to bundle all your leafy greens in the same plastic bag to create more air space and prevent them from going slimy. Never wrap the plastic bag tightly around the vegetables.
Also, check the plastic bags every few days. If it is getting too wet inside, it will rot your veggies. I simply take the veg out of the bag, turn the bag inside out and give it a shake to get rid of some of the water, then put the veg back in.
Tricks for herbs
I have tried and tested many methods for keeping my herbs fresh and tasty for longer, and I now have a sure-fire method. Simply trim the ends of the bunch of herbs, pop them in a glass or plastic cup with a little water (don't drown them, just give them a centimeter or two of water), then sheath the top of the herbs and the glass in a small plastic bag and store in the door of your fridge. They literally last for weeks - even delicate herbs like dill and coriander!
Leftovers for all
The trick with maintaining the freshness (and longevity) of your leftovers is to store like with like. Pack starches with starches, veggies on their own, sauces on their own, meat on its own. Undressed salad on its own too. You'll need to keep your leftovers airtight or they'll go bad (and make your fridge stink), but rather than wrap everything individually in plastic wrap, use good quality plastic containers and plastic wrap alternatives like our fabulous sustainable beeswax food wraps.
That's it, really. Then get creative with the leftover food to make great new meals and not waste a bit!
Merry Christmas from Gingerfinch!