Nothing hurts more than having to throw out another bag of food or a pile of uneaten (or even unfinished fruit) into your trash can after spending your hard-earned money to buy them.
Especially when you know there are thousands of Nigerians – millions across the world – starving and dying of hunger every single day.
It’s awful to have to throw out spoilt food, and at the same time, it’s a bit impossible to totally prevent food wastage.
However, what’s possible is to try as much as you can to reduce and avoid unnecessary food wastage.
That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to research the 5 most effective kitchen hacks for food storage that’ll make your food last longer and stay fresher.
Whether you’re on a budget and trying to make sure your food supply lasts until your next payday, or like me, you just really hate pouring out your food, learning how to store your food properly will certainly help you reduce unnecessary food waste.
So, let’s dive in….
Do not store your tomatoes in the refrigerator.
Really, it kills their flavor, and the cold environment affects their juicy texture. Instead, you can store them in a basket on your kitchen counter while you allow them to ripen fully.
Similarly, you shouldn’t leave other veggies (like potatoes, carrots, okra, and onions) in the fridge; instead, you should store them in a cool, dry place where the sun won’t reach them.
If you’re like me and you eat a lot of canned foods (like Titus, Sardine, tomatoes, beans, etc.), you should make sure you never leave/refrigerate leftovers in their can.
Trust me; it will affect their taste in a bad way. Instead, transfer them into a separate container first before tidily packing them away in your fridge.
Tubers have a low tolerance for heat. So, you’ll generally want to store your tubers (yam, potatoes, cocoyam, etc.) in a dry, airy place.
But never leave them on the bare floor – it makes them spoil before you even try to cook them.
If you store your new yam on a wooden slab or plank large enough to house your yams, you’ll be able to store them for up to ten weeks. They have a longer shelf life than dry yam, and the worst thing that can happen to your new yam is it will begin to shed off its water and get dryer.
So, you’ve got no cause for alarm.
Just arrange them neatly and pile one on top of another (not too much), and they’ll be ready for the long ride.
Also, always make sure you consume the ones close to spoilage before feasting on the good ones.
The most common grain that almost every family in Nigeria eat every day is Rice.
So, it’s only proper for you to want to keep them away from those treacherous weevils as much as you can.
The first thing you should do is keep your grains away from moisture and heat as much as possible – they are your food storage’s greatest enemy.
The best way to keep your grains away from rodents, pests, and insects is to store them in airtight containers like wooden pallets, plastic containers, or glass jars. This way, you can store them for many months.
Alternatively, you can add dried bird’s eye pepper to some grains like beans to keep away weevils and other pests.
You can store other grain such as Rice, maize, beans, cowpea, etc., in the same way.
If you notice weevils in your Rice, simply spread them under the sun and allow the weevils to walk away or die.
Then, change the container and make sure it is very tight this time around.
The best and perhaps, the only way to store your meat is to put them in your freezer.
Rinsing them thoroughly and packing them in airtight, transparent bags before storing them away in your fridge always does the magic.
But if you live in an area where power is not at all stable, the best you can do is buy the amount of meat you can eat at once…
Or you can a few more then, boil and fry – that’ll keep them edible for 2-3 more days.
And that’s all for now
I hope I’ve helped you reduce your food wastage in one way or another with my kitchen hacks for food storage blog post.
If you have a tip that I left out, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below – you just might be saving somebody’s next meal from going down the drain.
Frequently asked Questions
How long should I store opened canned food?
Like any fresh food, you can still store your opened canned food for up to a few days – a week, max for fruits and vegetables.
Just make sure you don’t store open metal canned food in your refrigerator (especially if it’s acidic like fruits) because that can cause the tin and iron to seep into the food and would negatively affect the flavor. In adverse cases, it might cause health issues.
Is it OK to store onions in the fridge?
Of all foods, onion is one you NEED to keep out of your fridge. Some foods like bread, potatoes, etc get dehydrated (means they lose their moisture/water) when stored in the fridge; this happens with onions too.
If you store your onions properly in a cool dry place, not in the fridge, they can last up to 30 days!
How can I tell if my frozen food is bad?
If your frozen food smells weird, especially after you’ve defrosted it, that’s a sign that it needs to get tossed in the trash can.
Some food like vegetables and chicken will show a change in texture; their once vibrant and crisp-looking texture will appear dull and slimy, they’ll probably still edible but trust me, they won’t taste great.
Can meat go bad in the fridge?
Uncooked meat can stay fresh and tasty for up to 3-5 days (or more if you have a stable power supply in your city) when stored in the refrigerator. If you have any leftovers containing cooked meat, you shouldn’t keep them for longer than 3-4 days.
How long does dry rice and beans last?
If stored in a properly packages, cool, dry place, your beans can last up to a year and your rice, up to three years.