(This story was published in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been republished from The Quint's archives after the ban on single-use plastic bags.)
As we enter the second week of isolation, we hope you are restricting your trips to the local grocery store and stocking up on essentials smartly, and not hoarding. And to help you reduce your trips to the local kirana, here are some tips to help you extend the life shelf of veggies, dry food and dairy products.
Store your food well, reduce trips to grocery store
Vegetables don’t react well to moisture. So before you dump all the veggies together in the fridge, take some time out to segregate them. Potatoes, onions and tomatoes should be stored separately, and at room temperature, not in the fridge. If possible, put one apple with the potatoes to keep them fresh longer.
Excess moisture can make vegetables wilt faster
Wrap the other green veggies in a paper while refrigerating, the paper absorbs excess moisture, which keeps the vegetables from wilting. And as far as herbs like coriander and curry leaves are concerned, put them in a glass of water and keep it on the window sill. Pro tip - Don’t separate bananas from the stem, wrap the stem in cling film to make them last longer.
Keep herbs in a glass of water on the window sill.
With food like rice, pulses and flour store them in a clean, airtight container. Keep checking the container regularly to make sure there are no unwanted guests like insects and pests.
Store dry foods in airtight containers
Pro tip - Freeze refined flour for 48 hours before transferring it into an airtight container. Flours made from whole grains tend to spoil faster, so after freezing them for 48 hours, refrigerate them airtight containers.
Freeze flours for 48 hours before storing them in containers
With dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, how you can store them to last longer, depends on what you buy. If you are buying carton milk, be sure to check the expiry date, once opened, refrigerate the milk and it’s good to be used for upto a week. If you are buying milk in a packet or from a dairy farmer, it’s better to pasteurise the milk before refrigerating it.
How to refrigerate milk to last longer
Store bought yoghurt should be kept in a fridge and can be used for upto a week. Butter should be stored in its original cover and it can be used for upto two weeks.
Check expiry date before buying dairy products
Now eggs, to make them last longer, store them in the coldest part of the fridge and not in the egg cups on the door. And if you’ve bought processed cheese, keep them in the fridge and you can devour them peacefully for up to four weeks.
Once again, shop smart, store food smartly and most importantly, Do Not Hoard.
How to store eggs and cheese