3 Common Food Storage Mistakes You’ve Been Making
If you’ve often wondered how to store food properly, guess what? You’re not alone!
Most Singaporean households don’t know how to store their food properly.
- Around 26,000 tonnes of food is thrown away from households even before it is cooked, including expired food and food that is spoiled as a result of improper storage
- 1 out of 3 Singaporeans throw away at least 10% of uncooked and unconsumed food items per week.
Small steps matter!
No matter how small it is, every step matters. Even though you may have made mistakes by overbuying groceries or having to discard food unnecessarily, it’s never too late to start today!
Change is never easy, but we can all take baby steps together. Simple lifestyle tweaks can help us change for the better. But first, we must realise the bad food habits we have been making.
Here are 3 ways you might be wasting food and not realise it:
1. Stop putting everything in the fridge!
We’re sorry to break it to you, but not everything is stored well in the fridge. One of the most common mistakes we’ve witnessed is how people store everyday produce like bananas, potatoes, onions, and garlic inappropriately.
- Don’t put them in the fridge, why?
Bananas: The chilling temperature from the fridge can make the bananas develop black peels, and may not fully ripen. Typically, storing at lower temperatures may help preserve vitamin C content, but not for bananas! Storing bananas in the fridge may also cause aroma loss, changes the texture, taste, and loss of nutritional values.
Potatoes, onions, and garlic: The cold temperature can break down the starches in your potatoes, onions, and garlic into sugars, making them soft and soggy.
- To keep your bananas fresh, you can seal the stems tightly with a plastic wrap at room temperature.
- “Bananas can be frozen for use in baking, but not for eating fresh. It’s best to peel the fruit and mash the pulp with a little lemon juice to inhibit browning, which can occur while the pulp is in the process of freezing. Then put it in a freezer bag.”
- Potatoes, onions, and garlic:
- Keep them dry in a cool, dark place. It’s best to store your potatoes in an open container or open bag where the air can circulate. Too much moisture can cause your potatoes, onions, and garlic to go bad quickly.
2. Not all fruits and veggies can be kept together
Most fruits release ethylene gas, which causes vegetables to ripen faster and potentially hasten deterioration. That is why it is best to separate your fruits and vegetables, especially potatoes and cucumbers which are very sensitive to ethylene gas.
3. Don’t ‘tupperware’ everything!
Don’t keep everything in air-tight-lidded containers. Poke holes in the plastic bags you store them in or keep them in reusable mesh bags. An airtight plastic bag is the worst choice for storing vegetables.
Some vegetables and fruits need air circulation to keep the moisture levels down. Without air circulation, they tend to go soggy and go bad quickly. Here’s a list of vegetables and fruits that requires good air circulation:
- Onions, potatoes, and garlic
- Brussels sprouts - put them in the fridge unwashed and untrimmed in an unsealed top container
- Citrus - store oranges, lemons, and grapefruit in the fridge in an opened container to keep the moisture levels down
Want to know more about proper food storage? Check out our Food Storage Guides now to see the complete guide and instructions.