How many times have you gone to a grocery store, got excited and purchased a host of delicious, exotic ingredients? Of course you have every intention to consume everything – but the life of those organic kale leaves, or those ripe Haas avocados can sometimes have you damned. Here’s six quick ways to keep your fresh ingredients fresher for longer.
1. The tissue trick
Vegetables (especially the leafy type) release moisture once they are refrigerated. This means that in the regular plastic/zip-lock bags that we store them in, the moisture condenses within and makes the vegetables rot faster. Does that explain why your basil and methi wilt so fast? Next time, just put a few tissues in there near the leafy greens. They will absorb the excess moisture, and help keep your leaves crisper for longer!
2. Move away, apples!
Apples release ethylene gas which isn’t good for most of your other fruits and veggies. Store your apples in a separate bag in the fridge and you should see the rest of your produce in your fruit bowls suddenly surviving longer.
3. Ice those leafy greens
Every time you decide to make a salad or stir fry and you notice your lettuce is as limp as it gets, dunk it into a nice ice bath. 5-15 minutes to rehydrate and rejuvenate in an ice bath for any of these leafy greens can take your meal from “Sorry, I tried” to “I’ll be filling my Master Chef application right away”.
4. A glass house for your herbs
Herbs wilt the fastest and in our experience, are the most useful ingredient in the kitchen. To retain their freshness, try storing your herbs in a glass jar. The “bouquet method” is great too – where you treat them like flowers placing them in a steel or glass jar with some water, after having trimmed the stems.
5. To rescue your tomatoes
Tomatoes are actually better off being stored at room temperature than the fridge. The refrigerator tends to reduce the flavour of the tomatoes, steal its juiciness and also takes away its firmness. In the heat of our Indian cities, if you’re a family that buys fresh vegetables every 3-4 days, you’re better off keeping your tomatoes outside the fridge!
6. Awakening for your avocados
Here’s a trick – if you’re trying to get your avocados ready faster, put them on the countertop near some apples or bananas. If you’re trying to save them for a greyer day, the fridge is your best bet to slow the ripening process. But if you’ve already eaten half, and need to save the other half – the best way is to mash it up with some lime and freeze it in an air tight bag (having mashed all the air out).