Over the past several weeks, we’ve all had to adjust to a new grocery shopping experience - bare shelves, crowded aisles and no toilet paper in sight (we still can’t figure that one out). While many of us have stocked up on pantry staples such as rice, legumes, pasta and oatmeal, others have faced shortages in their local supermarkets.
With all the craziness going on, it’s become even more important to maintain our health with a well-balanced diet. Produce including veggies and fruits are inexpensive, healthy, and easy to prepare. Eggs, meat and milk are the cornerstones of most diets and provide you with essential nutrients. Herbs add a splash of flavor and color to your favorite dishes. If you are finding yourself cooking three meals a day at home, versatility and nutrition are essential.
The downside is that unlike pantry staples, fresh produce tends to spoil quickly. This week, we wanted to share some easy, simple ways to help keep your food fresh for longer. This will save you money, prevent food from going to waste and keep you from having to take multiple trips to the grocery store – an elusive trifecta of wins.
For all the #anovafoodnerds out there, you likely already know the benefits of vacuum sealed bags - easy meal prep, sealed in flavor, less space in your fridge or freezer and more. Most importantly, vacuum sealing can greatly extend the lifespan of many different kinds of food, from cheese to vegetables to fish. For example, some types of cheese such as mozzarella will only last 1-2 weeks when stored by conventional means in the fridge, but vacuum sealed mozzarella can be stored in the fridge for 4-8 months.
Almost all fruits and vegetables can be stored in your freezer and generally preserves their taste, nutrients, and health benefits. You can also freeze breads and meats. Frozen food that is vacuum sealed lasts an average of 2-3 years (although we would hope you’d get to cooking before then!)
How does it work? Vacuum sealing deprives your food of oxygen, which means that harmful mold and bacteria will be prevented from growing. This method also protects food from dehydration and freezer burn. An added benefit of keeping your food from contact with the air is that moisture cannot evaporate – protecting your sealed food from dehydration and freezer burn. Sealing your food and removing excess air also means that flavors and juices are locked in.
Vacuum sealing is also great for leftovers. Instead of throwing food out or forcing yourself to eat everything in one sitting, you can vacuum seal your food and heat it up whenever you're cravings set in. There is no thawing or other prep that you need to do. Simply toss your food in the water bath until it's done and voila - a restaurant quality meal at your fingertips (without any waste).
Check out the Anova Precision® Vacuum Sealer and start storing today!
Other Storage Tips and Tricks
For those of you without a vacuum sealer - don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways to help extend the lifespan of your produce, reduce your waste and save dollars. Here are ten of our favorite tips and tricks to help you get started.
- Items like onions, garlic, hard squash, and potatoes keep for much longer in a cool, dark and dry place such as a pantry or a cool basement. Avoid placing them next to the oven, stove, on top of the fridge or by a window sill. Pro tip: make sure your onions and potatoes practice social distancing - onions produce a gas that causes potatoes to sprout faster
- Keep fruits and vegetables separate! Similar to onions and potatoes, some fruits, such as apples and bananas, emit a gas that can cause vegetables to spoil quickly.
- Produce like squash, citrus and melons should be stored at room temperature instead of in the refrigerator. Opt for your countertop instead of on top of the fridge - it tends to get hotter the higher up you go
- Avocados should be stored on the countertop if they aren't ripe, according to Still Tasty. If you haven’t had time to make your avocado toast before they’ve ripened, simply transfer them to the fridge
- You can extend the life of your leafy greens—along with parsley, cilantro, green onions, and celery—by trimming just a tiny bit off their stems and rinsing them. If you aren’t going to be using them immediately, store them by using a cloth or paper towel and place them together in a reusable container or bag to store in the fridge. Change out the bag or towel if too much moisture has accumulated. Head to SeriousEats if you want to know more
- Don’t wash your fruit or veggies before putting them in the fridge. According to Healthline, storing freshly-washed fruits and vegetables can speed up the decaying process by adding moisture. Instead, wait to wash any produce until you're ready to eat it
- If you do cut and wash your fruits or veggies, store them in the Stasher Reusable Silicone Bag for Anova to keep them from spoiling
- Store nuts in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh for even longer (smoothie lovers, we're talking to you)
- Avoid storing milk and eggs in the fridge door since this part of the fridge doesn’t stay cold enough. We know - mind blown!
- Finally, make sure the temperature of your refrigerator is always set to 40℉ or below! This will keep bacteria from growing and guarantee that you get the most out of all your food
We also encourage everyone to buy only what they need. We know the news can be overwhelming, but there is more than enough food to go around and we want to make sure that all our neighbors - especially the eldererly, healthcare workers and those at risk, have the food they need.
As always, leave comments and questions below and stay safe out there!
Until next time,