Tips to combat expensive produce

Vegetable prices are at an all time high at the moment, partly due to the heavy rain and flooding in March and April, and there are no signs of slowing down. As winter come we are expect fewer choice at a more expensive price.

Other than shopping around, what else can we do? Consider the following ideas. Not only that you can save more money and you can reduce more food waste too!

Better Food Storage

Vegetables

  • Potato and onion: Keep them separate; this reduce its rates of sprouting. Keep them separate but in cool, dry and dark places so they last longer.
  • Carrots: Store them in an airtight container. Take them out of a bag. Store them in an airtight container lined with paper towel. They can last 10 times longer stored this way than if you just leave them loose in the fridge.
  • Salad leaves:  Keep your salad leaves such as lettuce in an airtight container or a large ziplock bag. 
  • Asparagus: Store you asparagus in water. Store them upright in a class with water covering the bottom inch of the stems at room temperature for a week.
  • Beetroot: store beetroot in wet towel. Cut the tops and leaves to retain firmness, and store for one to two weeks in an open container in the refrigerator topped with a wet towel.
  • Brussels sprouts: Keep themin an open bowl or container in the refrigerator for one to weeks
  • Cabbage, cauliflowers and celery: store cut in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Keep the outer leaves! 
  • Corn: Keep it in its husk! The natural way to keep the corn nice and fresh!
  • Cucumbers: store at room temperature, not near bananas, melons or tomatoes
  • Eggplant, garlic, pumpkins: Cool, dry and dark places other than the refrigerator
  • Green beans: Store in a produce bag or wrapped in a paper towel in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
  • Herbs: Pretend they are a bouquet of flowers and stick the stems in a glass of water and store in the fridge. Wash and use stems and leaves as needed.
  • Leafy greens: De-stem, then place leaves in a bowl with water and rinse until clean. Dry leaves and wrap in a dish towel, then store in the crisper for a week or more.
  • Mushrooms: Store in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for a week. Wash just before using.
  • Radishes, turnips and parsnips: Cut off the tops and leaves to retain firmness, and store for a few weeks in an open container in the refrigerator with a wet towel on top.
  • Sprouts: Wrap in a paper towel or produce bag and store in refrigerator for three days.
  • Squash, zucchini: Store in the refrigerator for five days.
  • Tomatoes: Do not refrigerate, as they are cold-sensitive. Store them on the counter away from other fruits.

Fruits

  • Apples: Store in crisper drawer of refrigerator, or a cool, dark place outside of the refrigerator.
  • Avocados: Ripen in a brown paper bag at room temperature, move to the refrigerator when ripe.
  • Bananas: Do not refrigerate; keep separate from other fruits and vegetables.
  • Berries: Store unwashed in the refrigerator for one to two weeks, ideally in one layer in a paper bag. Store them in freezer if you want it to last longer (for winter!)
  • Cherries: Store in the refrigerator unwashed for three to five days. Wash before serving.
  • Citrus: Store at room temperature because citrus fruits can absorb flavours from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Grapes: Store in a paper bag in the fridge.
  • Kiwi fruit: Keep at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for a week.-
  • Mango: Store at room temperature until ripe, then move to the refrigerator.
  • Papaya: Store at room temperature until ripe, then move to the refrigerator.
  • Pears: Keep at room temperature. Neighbouring apples will hasten a pear's ripening.
  • Rockmelon: Leave uncut at room temperature, out of the sun.
  • Stone fruit (apricots, peaches): Store at room temperature stem-end down to ripen, or in the refrigerator when already ripe.

Cooking Tips

There are always other ways to look at alternative cooking ideas to save on food waste. That includes:

  • Make vegetable stock out of vegetable peels and scraps
  • Bake cakes, make jams, sauce, Popsicle, smoothies and ice cream, or even shoe polishes with over ripe bananas and other over ripe fruits
  • Turn them into pickles
  • Turn them into different kind of food such as cauliflower pizza base
  • Dehydrate your produce such as herbs, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, kumara, mushrooms and even bok choy and kale. Not only that you could keep it for longer, they make much healthier alternative from store bought potato, kumara or even kale chips.

Need more recipes and ideas to save more money and reduce less food waste at the same time? Visit Love Food Hate Waste for more ideas!