Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Introduction:

We’ve all felt the disappointment of opening your fridge with a mission in mind, only to find what you wanted to use is beyond its best. But you just got those herbs! How are they already wilted? It’s a disappointing scenario at the best of times. Then it becomes more distressing when the severity of food waste as a global sustainability issues sneaks into your mind. For most of us, we think of the fridge as this mystical catch-all which will preserve all our foods for consumption later, at our convenience. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the case.

One of the less intended side effects of working in various areas of food-related industries is you can pick up some handy little tips. While I love the cooking advice I’ve gathered over the years, it’s the tidbits on how to make food last longer that I find the most interesting and useful! So here they are, the food longevity tidbits that have made my life easier, and food waste less. 

Carrots, Parsnips or other Root Vegetables:

These can be one of the quickest things to give up in your fridge, wrinkled, dehydrated and floppy. They’re also one of the simplest to extend the life of!

–  Place in tupperware container with a small amount of water
–  Place in a saucer, dish or tray with a small amount of water
–  Wrap them in damp paper towels or a damp cloth

I kid you not, your carrots and root vegetables can last weeks with just a bit of water. Its the dehydration caused by the fridge which what gets them so quickly!

Coriander, Parsley or other Fresh Herbs:

These delicious additions to almost any meal are also the ones most willing to get damaged or wilt away! They just need a bit of cushioning!

–  Wrap them in damp paper towels or a light damp cloth in your fridge

A note on Basil: It hates water and the cold, it will not follow the same rules that other fresh herbs love!

Onions, Red or Brown:

Onions are the next best thing to garlic to smell frying in the kitchen. They’re also something which is mainly harvested from dry summer soil and very 
susceptible to water absorbtion or further dyhdration. You shouldn’t be storing your onions in the fridge as it is but where I got caught out was with cut onions. 
Just because you have cut an onion in half, doesn’t mean it has magically adapted to life in the fridge. 
Wrap it up and keep it stored where you usually keep your onions and use it asap.

Perhaps these were common knowledge for you but for me they made a real impact in reducing my food waste. A resource I cannot recommend enough, especially for people in New Zealand, is the food storage database on the Love Food, Hate Waste‘s program website. Even if you think you’re great at storing your fresh food, have a read, at worse you affirm what you know, at best you may learn something which will help you waste less food!