Zero Waste

#ZeroWaste Kitchen – Keeping Fresh Food Fresh for Longer.

In this post: Spinach, Bananas & Herbs.

 

I love bulk buying my fruits and veg but let’s face it; I can only eat them so fast and so often, which is why it can be frustrating for many families to keep fresh foods in their fridges all the time. But, there are a few tips you can follow to give your fresh food a little extra freshness.

Spinach

Avoid bags or containers with excessive moisture. Excess moisture will cause the spinach to rot. They will also perish more quickly if stored in a wet plastic bag. Ensure that your spinach is dry before purchasing, and don’t wash the spinach until you use it.

You can store fresh spinach in a clean glass container wrapped with paper towels. Place it in the refrigerator in the crisp drawer to save the greens for up to ten days. Containers will protect the greens from being moved around or crushed like they would in bags. While paper towels will absorb the moisture, and keep your spinach fresh. You can store the spinach in its original packaging or a dry plastic bag if you plan on eating it within a week. This method is fine if you eat the spinach within 3 to 7 days.

If you have a big bulk bunch of spinach, you can always freeze it for later use. With this method, you can keep the spinach for nine to 14 months. First, blanch the greens in boiling water for a minute or two, then cool in an ice water bath for the same amount of time. Drain the tub and squeeze the water out of the spinach by twisting it in your hands. Take about a handful and form the wet spinach into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, storing them in a large freezer bag. Freeze the spinach balls, and defrost for a ready-to-use serving of greens.

If you use your spinach within six months, you can also freeze the spinach without blanching. This leads to a slimy product and is best used in dishes when cooking or baking.

Bananas

Try to choose bananas that aren’t already yellow. Bananas ripen at a rapid pace, and their shelf-life is very short. For this reason, you want to make sure you buy bananas that are on the greener side; this will give you more time to store your bananas before the ripening process occurs.

But what if you need to ripen bananas that same day?

Hang your bananas on a banana hanger; this prevents them from getting bruised and becoming exposed to air. You can also seal the stem of the banana bunch with the plastic wrap they come in or with some tin foil. This limits the amount of oxygen the stem receives and can keep bananas fresh for another week. Do not store bananas in sealed bags – This will cause the bananas to turn brown faster because the ethylene hormone will be unable to escape from the air surrounding the bananas.

Top Tip:
Place bananas in the refrigerator once they are ripe. Now that the ripening process has begun, you can safely delay it with the application of cold temperature. You can also freeze bananas and use them for smoothies, just make sure you peel them before you freeze them.

Herbs

Whether you have fresh herbs at home with plants that need pruning or you buy yours in store, there are a few ways to keep them from going wilty, limpy, or dry after a few days.

1. Snip off the bottom of the stems.
2. Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Better to hold off rinsing them until you’re about to use them.
3. Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.
4. If you are storing the herbs in the refrigerator, cover loosely with a plastic bag. Cilantro loves cooler temperatures and its happier when stored in the fridge. Parsley can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Beware with basil; it doesn’t like it cold. Basil is ideally stored at room temperature and not in the fridge because it is susceptible to damage from cold temperatures.
5. Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolour.

Fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, and other fresh herbs can last up to 2 weeks or longer when stored this way.

You can also freeze herbs and use for stock or sauce making.

Want more tips? let me know which foods are you most interested in keeping fresh for longer.

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