How To Make The Vegetables You Buy Last Longer

Buh-bye, wilted lettuce!

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We’ve all been there. It’s the day before payday and all you have in your kitchen is wilted spinach, a few slices of mouldy bread and a weird smelling spaghetti sauce your mum made you last month.

Lucky for us, this can be avoided! All it takes is a few simple hacks, smarter purchases and a small amount of time dedicated to preparation and you can easily prevent sad Sundays where you have to eat Mi Goreng for breakfast. Don’t spend all your hard earned cash on food you ended up throwing away, take the time to become a veggie whisperer and a master of your kitchen.

Put Things In Containers 

Fresh foods that need to be kept cold, like vegetables, do better in containers than in the plastic wrapping they’re put in by the grocery store. Taking some time when unpacking your groceries and putting things like spinach, spring onion and lettuce into food-grade containers will make them last longer. This way, you have more time to chow down instead of having to chuck food out three days after purchase.

Use The Freezer To Store Your Herbs

Because herbs can be so expensive, it’s easy to get sucked into buying more than you need because it works out cheaper. But just like clockwork, 24 hours later your basil is looking sad and your chives are drying up. If you use your herbs fresh, you can extend their life by putting them in water. Or if you add your herbs to cooking, freezing them means they’ll last for months. Freezing your herbs ­– be it alone, in oil or butter ­– will save you mountains of money in the long run.

Research The Best Way To Store Things

Look, I wasn’t keen on spending hours hunting through cooking sites to find out the best way to store 25 different fruit and vegetables either, but I started with learning simple tricks like putting celery in water and keeping onions and potatoes apart. Slowly, just like learning any new skill, I built up my knowledge of knowing what goes where and how to best keep things fresh, and you can too!

Cooking Might Help

If something is almost on its way out, like meat or broccoli, cooking it can give the food an extra few days. It’s a fine line, so be careful, but generally speaking, heating something up will prolong its life. Just make sure you cook it while it’s still eatable because this trick won’t work if the food is past the point of no return.

Soaking Your Veggies In Water

If you have some sad looking silverbeet or soggy carrots, soaking the veggies overnight will help bring them back to life. This tip also works well for pre-cut veggies. So, cut up all your celery and carrots at the start of the week then soak them in water. This tip will keep them fresh all week long.

Avoid “2 For” Deals

We’re all suckers for a sweet deal from time to time. Unfortunately, the “buy one get one half price” type deals with food are tricky. You might not end up using the second item before it’s used by date and the extra item might just go to waste.

So, if you’re just buying the second item because it sounds like it works out cheaper but you don’t have space to freeze/store it or might not have the opportunity to eat it, don’t fall for it. You might feel like you’re saving money now by capitalising on the promotion, but you might be losing money in the long run.

(Lead image: The Simpsons/FOX)