We are all witnessing challenging financial times amidst the pandemic that has ravaged the world. If it stretches any longer, we shall be experiencing an even worse economic crush in our homes, and affording a meal can be an uphill endeavor.
However, with the shallow pockets, we can afford to stretch the little we have so that it can last us for a much longer while.
Even in times without such crises, it is always wide to spend prudently, and preserve the items bought for maximum usage and benefit since every coin, indeed, must count.
Below are 10 ways to preserve groceries, vegetables, and cereals to last longer in our homes.
- Meat and Meat products
In order to save up to 30% on the costs, you can buy the meat from the slaughterhouse in fairly larger quantities, wash it, salt, and refrigerate in an airtight container or plastic bag. This can last you a month.
Instead of buying from the supermarket, buy from the groceries or the vegetable vendors outside the estates. The supermarket costs are mostly 30% to 40% costlier. Since some vegetables are highly perishable, it is good to have a budget with which you can have your vegetables daily or every two days. The budget can be with the vendor or paid at the end of the month to avoid spending the money on something else.
Wash vegetables like spinach, dhania, or mint under running water and allow them to dry. Wrap them in paper towels and put them in airtight zip-lock bags, then refrigerate them. This way, they can last up to 21 days.
The leaves can also be blanched in a spoonful of baking soda for ten minutes to preserve their color. For the mint leaves and the likes of dhania, cut off the stems and put them in a small container of water. You can cover them with a loose plastic bag over the top to avoid wilting. This way, they can last over ten days.
Store ripe tomatoes with the scars stems facing up with a couple of lemons in between them. This can stretch their lifespan for up to two weeks. Would you love them to last even longer, you can blend the tomatoes into a paste and refrigerate. You will use a few tomatoes when using the paste since you will be using teaspoons of paste to cook. It will also save you time of chopping them.
- Garlic, onions, and ginger
These can be bought in bulk, crushed, mixed with a douse of oil and stores in an ice cube tray. Could you not be having a refrigerator; you can store them in a dark but cool place. Do not store your onions with other fruits as they will absorb the odor of the onions and the moisture, leading to decaying. With this method, the onions can last for a month.
For those who may need to save more, one can buy spring onions instead of bulb onions. This is more preferable for those who do not stay long away from the market given that bulb onion by nature last longer.
Potatoes and other root vegetables should be stored in a cool and dark place, for instance in a cupboard. This is an ideal place where they can last up to once a month. Potatoes, however, can not be stored in plastic bags since the moisture from their sweating will accelerate the rate at which they will decay. They should not be stored together, or near onions for the same reason.
For carrots, it is advised that one cuts off the green top, cleans them, and drains the water before storing them. They are best stored in airtight plastic bags and refrigerated. This method can preserve them for over a month. Carrots have a high likelihood to absorb moisture and odors from other fruits and onions, and as such, should not be stored with them.
Cereals that are well stored can last up to a year since most of them are dry and not perishable within short periods. They are best stored away from light and heat. Preferably, they should be in airtight bags or containers where they can not be infested with pests like weevils or rodents. The bags having them should not be in contact with a cold floor.
If you have cooked them, they can be cooled completely, then stored in airtight bags, which can be refrigerated. They can last up to three months when cooked, and up to a year when uncooked.
Vegetables like cabbages can be stored for a long time is they are fermented. In this case, one can chop the cabbages and salt them sparingly. The cabbage can be allowed to submerge in its own brine in a container. The resultant mix can be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag. Whenever once needs, they can serve the appropriate portion and leave the rest of it in the fridge.
Other foods such as milk can be fermented or turned into yogurt, which can last up to a week. Fermented milk is also another option for those who have a supply that they cannot consume at once.
- Bananas and ripening fruits
When fruits have ripened so much, they can be blended into juice, which can be refrigerated and taken whenever it is necessary. Blended juices, once refrigerated, can last up to five days. Even without a refrigerator, once blended, they can be stored in an airtight bottle and consumed within two days.
- Cooked food
Food that remains after a meal should not be thrown away. Once can use the same food to feed animals like dogs, pigs, or chicken. The one that is good enough can be preserved for the next meal before it goes bad, instead of cooking a whole new meal.
Alternatively, to avoid this, cook meals that can be consumed at the specified time to avoid the wastage.