Kitchen hacks – how to make your meals go further

Get the best out of your ingredients time and time again with these clever food storage hacks

In partnership with IKEA

From making your fresh produce last longer, to storing cupboard essentials in stylish, practical jars, we’ve sourced these brilliant ways to make your meals go further (and often last longer) in our selection of clever kitchen hacks.

Store pulses and grains in glass containers

Always decant beans and grains into glass jars. Glass looks great and lets you quickly see what is inside. Choosing jars with rubber seals helps lock in freshness and protect from humidity and pesky pests. Choose practical jars that can be microwaved, refrigerated and put through the dishwater. Remember to note down the best-before dates before you throw away any original packaging.

Wrap vegetables and fruit in kitchen paper

A handy hack is to wrap vegetables and fruit in kitchen paper, place them in reusable plastic bags, then pop them in the salad compartment of the fridge. Kitchen paper will stop condensation from softening the vegetables, and will also act as a mould-prevention. Make sure you don’t wash produce before it goes in the fridge though – this will make them deteriorate and go limp sooner. Instead, rinse before you eat, even if it’s organic or homegrown.

Make the most of your freezer

Freezing food is just as tasty and nutrient-rich as fresh food. You can even split out different meals to be frozen, and then use them as and when you wish. Just divide out raw meat, fish, bread and chopped herbs into different plastic containers or zip-lock bags. Then you can choose just the right amount to unfreeze for a meal, meaning your food will last a lot longer and less will go to waste.

Store food systematically

By keeping a well-organised food store, you’ll find what you need straight away, and never have out of date items. Keep your most used things such as flour, oils, salt and canned goods at waist or eye level for easy access. Less frequently used items can be stacked on lower shelves, and lightweight items such as cereals and pasta are perfect for high shelves. Although obvious, if you stack essential items with the nearest sell-by-date at the front, you’ll never have any out of date food to chuck away.

Keep bread fresher for longer

Bread has a small shelf-life, but a home-made bread bin is all you need to preserve freshness for longer. Cover your baguette with a clean, dry kitchen towel and place in a paper bag to keep the freshness within. No more premature staleness!

Stop fresh-cut fruit from browning

Ever noticed how your fresh-cut fruit browns up? It is all down to an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase. It causes the oxidisation process, making your recently-cut apples, pears and avocados turn brown at a moment’s notice. Our fix? Fight fruit with fruit! The citric acid in lemons helps keep cut fruit from browning, protecting it from oxidation it the air. Olive oil has a similar effect. Alternatively, place cut fruit in water to reduce any oxygen intake, keeping everything brown-free.

Use a brown paper bag to keep mushrooms dry

Mushrooms last longer when stored in brown paper bags. Naturally, mushrooms contain a lot of water, so when the moisture inside evaporates, the paper will absorb it. Store them unwashed outside of the salad crisper compartment and they should stay fresh for up to a week.

© Inter IKEA Systems B.V 2016

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