There’s nothing healthier than lush, fresh produce. And there’s nothing more discouraging than having it spoil before you can eat it – which as any resident of the UAE knows, is a particular hazard of living in our warm, humid climate. You spend your time selecting the perfect fruit and vegetables at the supermarket, only for them to start going soft within a few days.
In fact, the average person in UAE generates 5.4kg of waste a day, and food amounts to 40 per cent of the average household bin – wasting not just food but also money.
Since most of the food that we throw away is refrigerated, here are top 5 tips from home appliance brand Beko, to help keep your produce fresh longer when refrigerated, while saving money and reducing waste:
Organize your fridge correctly
Top Shelf – The top shelf is the warmest part of the fridge compartment and best for pre-prepared foods such as yogurt, cheese and sauces. If there’s space, keep milk here too – it’ll keep for longer than it would in the door rack where it’s warmed by hot air whenever the door is opened.
Bottom Shelf Freezer or other Freezer – This is the coldest part of the fridge, so keep raw meat, fish and poultry in its sealed packaging, or place it in sealed containers to store here.
Door racks – The temperature in the door racks can fluctuate because they’re exposed to the warm air of the kitchen when the door is opened. The door racks are a good place for condiments, eggs, jam and fruit juice. A lidded compartment is ideal for keeping butter and margarine extra cold but spreadable.
Keep perishables fresh and crisp
Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes veggies to rot. Also, check your refrigerator specs - some refrigerators come with humidity controls to retain moisture which will help certain vegetables last longer, some could even give you up to 30 days longer storage time.
Don’t smother anything
Fruits and vegetables need air to stay fresh, so storing them in closed containers or plastic bags will only make them spoil faster. If you’re storing produce in a plastic bag, be sure to perforate it first.
Save the nutritional value of meat and fish
Food not frozen or stored properly tend to lose a lot of nutritional value due to the fact that its cell structures deteriorate quickly. Especially true for meat and fish, many perishable goods require adequate cooling so keep meat and fish frozen. Plus, there’s less risk of raw juices dripping onto ready-to-eat foods.
Prevent smelly food from tainting other foods
Keeping an open box of baking soda in your fridge will prevent odours from strong foods such as onions and garlic tainting other produce. Other natural odor removers you can leave open in your fridge include a dish of dried coffee grounds (the coffee smell goes away quickly, and takes other odors with it), a cup of white vinegar, charcoal briquettes, or even a bowl of oats!
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