Use vinegar and kitchen roll to prevent food from going stale – ‘a world of a difference’

Bristol resident joined 'food club' due to soaring cost of living

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As food prices continue to rise, it is worth trying to make your weekly food shop last as long as possible. As some supermarkets debate getting rid of best before dates on certain products, there are hacks shoppers can do at home to make their fresh food last for weeks.

Gary Lyons, food storage expert from Plastic Box Shop, told that it’s best to give your fresh food a wash immediately when you get home, “and dry it thoroughly”.

He continued: “Then, line an airtight storage container with some dry kitchen towel and tip your produce in.

“Kitchen roll can make a world of difference when storing your fruits and veggies as it absorbs excess moisture that causes food to rot prematurely.

“Most fruits and vegetables can be stored in this way, but soft fruit, like berries, might benefit from leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.”

Gary shared another clever tip to keep berries fresher for longer. He recommended: “Wash them in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water, rinse them, then store them in an airtight container lined with dry kitchen roll.

“The vinegar will get rid of any bacteria that can cause your fruit to go mouldy.”

As for choosing a container to keep your fresh ingredients in, Gary advised trying to “opt for the smallest possible size that your food will fit in”.

“A snugger fit will reduce air exposure and keep your fruit and vegetables fresher for longer,” he added.

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Jason Webb, managing director at Electronic Temperature Instruments (ETI), a digital thermometer manufacturer, which produces food temperature monitors and handheld thermometers for the catering industry, also spoke to about simple food storage tricks.

He said: “It’s time for a rethink about what foods we chill.

“For example, bread should be stored in a cupboard – if you put it in a fridge, it will stale about six times more quickly because at cooler temperatures.”

This is because “starch tends to crystallize and this process occurs roughly six times faster at refrigerator temperatures than at room temperature”.

But as for fresh fruit and vegetables, including oranges and carrots, they “should be kept in the fridge and in their original packaging”.

Jason continued: “Food should be frozen to the core prior to the expiry date – and later defrosted in the fridge and used within 24 hours.

“Food stored in a fridge should ideally be kept at between three and five degrees Celsius, and this should be monitored regularly using a fridge thermometer.

“Too often, we see eggs kept at ambient temperature conditions at retail, but they benefit greatly from fridge storage once taken home.”

Jason stressed that “if food isn’t stored correctly, then the risk of poisoning is increased, or food will simply get wasted”.

“It’s also important to remember that a use by date is the safety marker, and there to protect us,” he added.

“Food with a use by date should never be eaten after that date, so we should try to use or freeze these items before they expire.

“Education is key to help people better understand what produce is safe to eat and when. With greater understanding on food storage, people will also witness fiscal benefits and save one or two trips to the grocery store each week.”

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