Everyone stocks up on food and fresh vegetables and by the end of the month many households end up with wastage - that could be avoided. According to the owner of Gia’s Kitchen and seasoned cook, Gia Benatar, this is not just because of buying in bulk but because most of us don’t know how to store vegetables at home. Gia has shared her thoughts on how to store and work with vegetables so they remain fresh and tasty for longer. Take a look at her tips below.
Picture: Gia Benatar, Supplied
Separate your vegetables
Ensure your vegetables stay fresh by storing them properly and keeping them separate. For example, putting carrots, broccoli and lettuce in dry separate bags keeps them fresh for a longer time.
Freeze your vegetables
If you overestimated the number of vegetables you need for a particular dish, don’t be tempted by getting rid of the leftovers. Instead, chop those ripened veggies up and freeze them for use on a future occasion. You can freeze items such as green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, strawberries and bananas. Just make sure you blanch them in hot water before you freeze them. Blanching neutralises bacteria present in foods, delaying spoilage.
Pack your refrigerator correctly
When packing your fridge, make sure you separate the meats and vegetables to avoid contamination. Store your vegetables on their own in the crisper drawer so they could last longer. Chopped salad greens can also be stored in the fridge - just make sure you put them in a glass bowl lined with paper towels and wrapped in plastic. This way, they’ll keep crisp for a couple more days.
Remove the vegetable tops
With root vegetables like turnips, carrots and radishes. To keep them fresh you have to pull their tops off as soon as you can to prevent them from drying out. These green tops can also be stored separately and used in salads or as a part of a stir-fry dish.
Remove the moisture from your veggies
When rinsing off your vegetables, make sure to pat them dry before storing them. One way you could do this is by wrapping them in a lint-free kitchen towel or with a regular paper towel which would absorb any remaining moisture.
Store your vegetables in a cool dry place
Don’t place your veggies near the oven, stove or by the window sill. The best place to keep them is on the kitchen counter where they won’t receive direct sunlight. Vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and garlic are best kept in shady areas.