Hacks to keep your fruit and veg fresh

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Your fresh food can last longer if you know how to store it.
Your fresh food can last longer if you know how to store it.
Stevens Fremont/Getty Images

Are you throwing out food that’s gone off?

If you are, not only are you contributing to the global problem of food waste – about a third of the food produced for human consumption is thrown out each year, according to the United Nations – you’re also effectively throwing a chunk of your hard-earned cash in the rubbish bin.

Here are some handy hacks to help you keep your food fresh for longer.

Fruits that emit high levels of ethylene gas (such as apples and bananas) make other fruits ripen faster. As a rule, always store different kinds of fruit separately, either in their own drawers in the fridge or in separate areas on your countertop.

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Not sure what to do with leftover lettuce? Put the leaves in a container with a few paper towels. The paper soaks up the moisture and ensures the lettuce doesn’t become soggy.

Putting fresh herbs in the fridge in the same plastic packaging they came in results in a mushy mess. Instead, treat your herbs as you would a bunch of flowers – store them in a glass or jar of water on the windowsill.

If you need only half an avocado for your toast or salad, coat the other half with either lemon juice or olive oil. Both protect the cut avo half from oxidation and prevent it from turning brown.

Next time you buy celery, swop the original plastic packaging for a piece of aluminium foil – it allows the gas that spoil the stalks to escape so the celery stays fresh and crisp for longer.

Wrap the stems of bananas in clingfilm when you buy them and remove only when you’re ready to eat one. This should extend the bananas’ shelf-life by three to five days.

To prevent berries from going mouldy, wash them in a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water and allow them to dry thoroughly. The vinegar kills any mould or bacteria before the berries hit the fridge.

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The best way to prevent potatoes from sprouting is to pop an apple into the bag with the spuds. Apples produce ethylene gas that keeps potatoes fresh and firm.

Off with their stems! Although carrots and beetroot are prettier with their leafy tops, the leaves of root veggies absorb their nutrients even after they’ve been picked. Removing the green bits keeps the edible bits fresh for longer.

The best way to store mushrooms is in a brown paper bag. When moisture evaporates from the fungi, the paper bag absorbs it instead of it hanging around and making the mushrooms soggy.

Tomatoes and cucumbers do better at room temperature. In cold temperatures cucumbers can become watery and decay, and tomatoes tend to lose their flavour.

They may look good in a bowl on your countertop but the best way to keep lemons from getting mouldy or drying out is to keep them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.

Sources: greatest.com, self.com, good53.com, lifehacker.com, cosmopolitan.com, gardenista.com, thekitchn.com

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