Rising food prices have forced Britons to think of ways of making their food last longer, such as storing products in places one might not have thought of before. Various food experts shared their advice on how to ensure fruit, vegetables, bread, and other ingredients last past their sell-by date.
Bread can go stale quickly, especially in warmer temperatures, however, food experts have warned not to keep the product in the fridge.
Jason Webb, managing director at Electronic Temperature Instruments (ETI), a digital thermometer manufacturer, said: “It’s time for a rethink about what foods we chill. For example, bread should be stored in a cupboard.
“If you put it in a fridge, it will stale about six times more quickly because at cooler temperatures, starch tends to crystallize and this process occurs roughly six times faster at refrigerator temperatures than at room temperature.”
As for fruit and vegetables, which can also go stale at a fast rate, these should be kept in the fridge and “in their original packaging”, according to Jason.
The expert continued: “Food should be frozen to the core prior to the expiry date – and later defrosted in the fridge and used within 24 hours.
“Food stored in a fridge should ideally be kept at between three and five degrees Celsius, and this should be monitored regularly using a fridge thermometer.”
Jason recommended keeping a product that is often kept in the cupboard in the fridge instead.
He said: “Too often, we see eggs kept at ambient temperature conditions at retail, but they benefit greatly from fridge storage once taken home.
“If food isn’t stored correctly, then the risk of poisoning is increased, or food will simply get wasted.
“It’s also important to remember that a use by date is the safety marker, and there to protect us.
“Food with a use by date should never be eaten after that date, so we should try to use or freeze these items before they expire.
“Education is key to help people better understand what produce is safe to eat and when. With greater understanding on food storage, people will also witness fiscal benefits and save one or two trips to the grocery store each week.”
Gary Lyons, operations director at The Plastic Box Shop, also offered his advice on storing food, as well as preparing some ingredients for storage – again enabling them to last longer.
He said: “When you get your fresh food home, give it a wash, and dry it thoroughly.
“Then, line an airtight storage container with some dry kitchen towel and tip your produce in.
“Kitchen roll can make a world of difference when storing your fruits and veggies as it absorbs excess moisture that causes food to rot prematurely.
“Most fruits and vegetables can be stored in this way, but soft fruit, like berries, might benefit from leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.”
Gary had a clever hack for keeping berries fresh for longer, saying: “Wash them in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water, rinse them, then store them in an airtight container lined with dry kitchen roll.
“The vinegar will get rid of any bacteria that can cause your fruit to go mouldy.”
The storage expert added: “When choosing a container for your fresh ingredients, try to opt for the smallest possible size that your food will fit in. A snugger fit will reduce air exposure and keep your fruit and vegetables fresher for longer.”