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4 tips to prevent food from spoiling
We've all been there. You open the fridge. You see The Thing that you meant to cook a few days ago. It's a funny color. It's making eyes at you. You wince and close the fridge, your hunger having disappeared in mysterious circumstances.
Food spoiling isn't just disappointing, it's irritating. You don't want to waste things. Nobody does. We all swear that we're not going to let it happen again, but a few months down the line, you're back in front of the fridge kicking yourself.
But there's good news — you don't have to beat yourself up. Firstly, this happens to everyone. If you're annoyed, you're not alone. Secondly, we have several great tips to prevent food from going to waste. Let's start with simple precautions.
Those of us who live in certain climates have to put up with certain… visitors. For some folk, it's ants. For some folk, it's pantry moths. For some folk, it's bears, but let's not go there now.
With insect pests especially, you have to take measures before they arrive. Firstly, if you live in an area prone to ants, don't store your sugar bag on the floor with an elastic band. Put it in a well-sealed jar on a high shelf.
Secondly, some products can deter pests. Nobody wants to dust ant killer around their skirting boards, but sometimes you just gotta. Likewise, if your area is prone to pantry moths, find pantry moth traps to protect your kitchen. You have to keep them out before they get in.
As mentioned above, sometimes an elastic band isn't enough. Even worse is the half-baked effort to crumple up a cereal packet. Do you like soft, soggy cornflakes? Nor do we.
For cereal packets, fold thoroughly and expel all possible air. Oxygen is the enemy where food is concerned. Tie it up if possible. For sugars and spices, keep them in sealed jars and try not to leave lids open. They'll lose flavor and clump.
Storing food in sealed jars preserves it for longer.
There was an amazing discount on mutton at my local butcher recently. Sure, it's not lamb, but it's cheap and can still be delicious if done right. You'd better believe I bought plenty.
I froze most of it straight away. A couple of pounds of mutton shoulder I had immediate plans for, so that went in the fridge. The next day, I was too busy to cook a big curry. The next day, I was busy again — and thankfully caught myself and froze it before it was too late (it was on discount for a reason).
It's fine to do this! But you have to balance your schedule with your culinary plans. Now my freezer is full, but that's a good thing. Nothing wrong with a freezer full of potential.
This especially applies to vegetables that are on the turn. You know how some grocery stores sell vegetables only in big bags? You love celery in a stew, but that's about it. Someone said put salt on it. It tasted alright, but… well, it's still celery.
If you've got a few odd vegetables kicking around, consider that you can probably make them into something delicious with a couple of additions. Think about different cuisines. You can pop to the shop for just a couple of bits and pieces, perhaps the main protein, and use up all those leftovers.
Keeping an eye on what you've got in your fridge and pantry can save money, time, and waste. Never beat yourself up if things go wrong — it happens to all of us! Just get creative, make good use of your leftovers, and enjoy!