One modern-day culinary conundrum is this: we spend a great deal of money on food, and have a habit of throwing a lot of it out. Partly because many foods are partial to ‘going bad’ before we can get a chance to use them in our cooking. But learning how to extend the life of certain foods (in this case, vegetables) will not only help save you money, but take some pressure off the environment as well. Here are five pro-tips that will stretch your dollar further while keeping your veggies fresh for longer.
1. Freeze Your Chilies
Chilies will retain their nutritional quality (and hotness) even when frozen. If you buy too many, wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Remove the amount of chilies you need when you need them – they’ll defrost very quickly on the kitchen counter.
2. Cover Your Carrots
Pre-chopped carrots are a great, convenient snack to have at home or to toss in your child’s lunch box. But if you find your carrot sticks go off and limp quite quickly after chopping try this trick: place the carrots in a container and cover with cold water. Change the water every couple of days to keep it as fresh as possible.
3. Cut Your Celery
To keep your celery fresh, cut off the ends and store it in a container covered in water (just like the carrots). Even if your celery goes limp, don’t toss it out – it’s still good to use in a stock or broth.
4. Cube Your Herbs
Do you find your herbs go off before you have the chance to use them? Toss them in a food processor with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Scoop the herbs into ice cube trays to freeze in small portions. Toss a frozen cube or two into your pasta sauces, soups or stews when cooking. This is a great way to have herbs on hand when cooking at home.
5. Make a Soup
If your vegetables are getting to the end of their shelf life, make soup. You can throw nearly any veggies into the pot along with good quality stock, a handful of lentils and simmer till soft. Blend until smooth, then add a dollop of natural yoghurt when serving. You can also freeze the soup in individual portions for quick, easy lunches or supper when you haven’t got time to cook.
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