Of course, you are! We all took the same classes in school – you know the ones, “how to adult”, “how to manage a kitchen” alongside “how to organize your finances”. No? No. Odd how the education system around the world focuses on the brilliance of science, the lessons of history, and the intricacies of math and yet doesn’t prepare us fully for our adult life. Sure, we get our social needs filled, we understand our place in society and how to talk to our peers and elders but yet there is so much we are unprepared for. Such as how to correctly store potatoes so they don’t decide to start a family of their own in your kitchen.
Fruit and Vegetables
It can seem when you buy some fresh fruit and vegetables that if you leave your kitchen for an instant and come back, they have already gone past the ripe stage and are starting to look a bit sad. To keep the life in your fruit and veg a bit longer, they need to be stored somewhere cool and dark – but don’t be fooled into thinking that the right place is the fridge. Bananas, tomatoes, and potatoes don’t do well stored in the fridge and will turn mushy quicker, similarly with eggplant and mushrooms. You’ll want to ensure they are stored somewhere dark, but not damp to prevent mould growth and ideally, use them within a week of purchase.
There are some fruits and vegetables that will do well in the fridge, including apples, asparagus, grapes, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and carrots. Lettuce and rhubarb are also kept better in the fridge and everything should ideally be stored in a ventilated bag.
Wines, Champagnes and Bubbly
You can be forgiven for thinking that simply leaving a wine bottle corked and on the kitchen side is the best method of storage. In fact, if you want to ensure the longevity of your wine (and age it yourself over time) then you need to invest in quality wine storage including a quality-built wine rack and an appropriate area to store your favoured tipples. Your wine (and by extension your wine racks) shouldn’t be stored anywhere it can get too hot or anywhere it is likely to freeze – so the back of the garage and the freezer is a no go either.
You should ideally store bottles on their side or with a slight tilt in a place away from sunlight to ensure that the cork stays moist – a dry cork can shrink and allow air in which will change the taste of your wine. Regular temperature fluctuations can also cause changes in the cork, letting air into the bottle and affecting the taste and quality of your drink.
Bread and Baked Goods
Another delicious essential that seems to wait for you to turn your back before beginning to spot with mould. The thing about baked goods and loaves of bread is that once that ‘use by’ date has passed, mould spores could already be making their way through your loaf hidden away from your seeing eyes. Bread and baked goods do perfectly at room temperature (keep away from the fridge!) and should be kept in an airtight container. You can use a slice of bread to prevent baked goods such as muffins, cakes, and pastries going stale but keep them no more than a few days to ensure you enjoy them at their best. Baked goods can be popped in the freezer on the day of purchase, just make sure you wrap everything properly in freezer bags or plastic wrap.
Food waste is a global pandemic and the more we can prevent throwing away, the better we can become as a society. Although evidence proves that bigger businesses are the main source of food waste, society can still do their bit to ensure less wasted resources in general and a good start is by storing their perishable goods correctly.