Storage hacks to keep produce and dairy fresh for longer
As the weather gets warmer and everyone has to stay home it is time to apply some tips to keep your foodin good condition
We all hate having food go bad, especially now that we urged not to go to the supermarket or wet market often.
Try these storage and freezer hacks to keep your produce and ingredients fresh for as long as possible, even in hot and humid Singapore.
Paper towels keep leafy veg crispy
It does so by absorbing moisture, as water speeds up the rotting process. Put a few squares of kitchen paper towels into your salad drawer or into a paper bag of mushrooms, chye sim, baby bok choy or salad leaves.
You can even use clean toilet paper - if you have any spare rolls, that is.
Freeze whole rambutan, longan and chilli
The skin protects the fruits (yes, chilli is a fruit) in their frozen state. Flash-freeze by spreading whole fruits onto a baking sheet in the freezer, and when frozen, you can transfer them to an airtight bag or container. They will keep for about a year.
Peel, chop and freeze pineapple and mango
When it comes to pineapple and mango, peel and cut them into chunks, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for six months.
Tropical Asian fruits do get slightly softer when they are frozen and thawed, but they will still taste great in desserts, achar and curries.
Wrap banana in clingfilm
To keep it fresh, you can wrap the banana individually or cover a whole bunch.
If you are keeping them for longer, you can freeze bananas whole, or peel and chop them up first. Freezing makes the banana skin go black but the inside is still fine.
Store chinese celery and spring onion in water
If a vegetable has roots, stand it in a jar of water in the fridge, like a bunch of flowers. Spring onion (also known as scallion or green onion), Chinese celery, Chinese chives, lemongrass, asparagus and celery all stay fresh for longer this way.
Keep bittergourd and cucumber wrapped up
These will last for up to a week wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Sadly, they do not freeze well - they turn into mush.
Wrap lotus root in damp cloth or damp paper towel
After that, pop it into a perforated plastic bag and store in the fridge.
They sometimes come linked together like giant sausages. Do not peel it or separate the links - the cuts start oxidisation, which causes the root to harden and darken.
They should keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge.
You can freeze an avocado for up to six months. To defrost it quickly, run it under warm water, sit it on the counter for half an hour, then slice as normal or blitz it into a smoothie.
Store garlic, onion, ginger and potato in the dark
Put them in the dark because it helps to avoid sprouting. A dry environment is best, so resist the urge to wash these vegetables before you need them.
You can store them in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge, but if you have space, put them in their own paper bag and store in a cardboard box in a well-ventilated cupboard.
Keep cooking oil away from the cooker
Cooking oils are best kept away from light, heat and air to prevent oxidisation, which makes them spoil - especially sesame oil.
So keep oils in a sealed bottle in a cupboard rather than next to the hot cooker hob.
Freeze milk and cream in ice cube trays
We often keep fresh or UHT milk at the fridge door, but that makes them spoil faster because the temperature rises every time the door is opened. Keep milk or coconut milk on the fridge shelf - or freeze them into individual ice cubes to use in recipes and milkshakes.
Turn yogurt upside down
Large tubs of yogurt can go mouldy before you eat it all. Wrap the entire tub in clingfilm, make sure the lid is on tight and store the tub upside down. This creates a vacuum inside the tub that slows the growth of mould.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly (www.womensweekly.com.sg)`