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With the rising cost of living, the last thing you want to be doing is throwing away food, but many of us find we have rotting vegetables or gone-off milk in the fridge.
The average UK household gets rid of £800 of food a year, equating to £66 a month.
Now more than ever, we need to cut food waste to help the environment and ease the pressure on our already stretched purse strings.
Moneyboat.co.uk has come up with 10 tips to make your weekly shop go further and prolong the shelf life of your fresh food.
While some might seem a little strange, these tips could help put pounds back in your pockets, reports Wales Online.
1. Add salt to your milk once opened
Depending on the type of milk you use, once opened, it can last anywhere from four to 10 days if kept in the fridge.
However, you can stretch that timeframe a bit further by adding a pinch of salt to the carton immediately after opening.
This is because salt is a preservative and deters bacteria from growing.
But do make sure to give the carton a good shake and place it in the fridge as soon as possible.
2. Store your milk in the coolest part of the fridge
It is also best to avoid storing milk in the refrigerator door.
The door is in fact the warmest part of the fridge, as it is furthest away from the cooling system.
So instead, keep your milk at the back of the middle or higher shelves for maximum cooling to lengthen the shelf life.
3. Wrap hard cheese in parchment paper
Instead of using plastic packaging, wrap hard cheese in parchment or baking paper; this allows the cheese to breathe and avoids drying out while also preventing any extra moisture and thus mould from growing.
Hard cheese can usually last up to four weeks when stored correctly in the fridge.
4. Bathe your vegetables in vinegar
A great way to disinfect all of your fruits and veggies is to give them a vinegar bath.
The vinegar solution should be a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water in either a bowl or your clean sink.
Empty your produce into the solution and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Once done, you can rinse and thoroughly dry your produce before moving them into their respective storage containers.
The vinegar solution disinfects, cleans, and removes any bacteria from the produce that might break down the food quicker.
The solution should not be so strong that you can taste it on the produce afterwards, and it should enable your veggies to last for up to two weeks.
5. Store berries with a paper towel
Once dried, berries should be stored in airtight glass containers with a dry paper towel.
The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture, which will prevent mould from growing.
Changing the paper towel every other day will allow for maximum freshness and a shelf life of up to three weeks.
6. Keep your bananas separate from other fruits
All fruits produce a certain level of a gas known as “ethylene,” but fruits such as bananas produce a higher concentration when they are ready to ripen as it speeds up the ripening process.
Other fruits that fall into the high-ethylene-producing category are apples, peaches, pears, melons, and the avocado, to name a few.
Keeping ethylene-producing fruits, particularly bananas, separate from ethylene-sensitive fruits will prevent excessive exposure to the gas, allowing the fruit to ripen naturally and thus last longer.
Depending on the fruit itself, they can last anywhere from three to five days to a few weeks at room temperature.
To slow the ripening process for bananas, you can also wrap the stem in cling film or slightly more eco-friendly aluminium foil.
Wrapping the fruit as a bunch or individually will add a day or two onto the ripening process, which usually lasts between three and five days (at room temperature).
7. Treat your fresh herbs like flowers
For those who prefer fresh herbs over dried, a top tip is to treat them like flowers.
Add water to a jar and place the herbs inside with a plastic bag over the top.
The water helps to keep the herbs fresh, while the bag acts as a barrier against any excess moisture.
If your fridge does not accommodate upright jars, you can also store your fresh herbs in an airtight glass container (or plastic bag if you prefer) with a damp paper towel; this again helps the herbs retain their moisture so they do not dry out too quickly and wilt.
Both of these methods can help your fresh herbs last up to three weeks.
8. Freeze your fresh herbs
If you prefer fresh herbs but find you do not use them up quickly enough, you can also freeze them.
You can store fresh-cut herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays and freeze them for perfect portions.
Alternatively, water can also be used in place of oil.
With water, this method can also be used for fresh garlic and ginger.
9. Ice your bread
If you find that your bread has become stale, grab an ice cube and run it over the loaf before popping it into the oven for 10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also douse the loaf in water.
This adds moisture back into the bread and allows it to become edible once more.
The bread should then be used within the day.
A freshly made loaf of bread can last up to four days, whereas a store-bought loaf will last up to one week.
10. Freeze your nuts
Most nuts and seeds have a shelf life of three to six months.
In order to extend their lifespan, they are best stored in cool, dark spaces; although the back of the cupboard is suitable, storing them in the fridge can help them stay fresher for longer.
If you find that six months is not enough time to nibble your way through your nuts, then you will be pleased to hear that they can be frozen, which extends their shelf life to one year.
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