January 04, 2018
There are so many things to consider when packing your food away after a weekly shop, and with Summer fruit and veggies in abundance, I thought it might be timely to share some of my tips for enhancing freshness and flavour.
Room temperature or refrigerated?
Almost every Summer fruit will taste better at room temperature - but to avoid having everything ripen at once, try staggering the timing by leaving some fruit in the fridge while some is left on the bench top fruit bowl to fully ripen. Especially with tomatoes, strawberries, mangoes, and stonefruit, it is best to take a few from the fridge each day as you work through the riper fruit that has had time to reach its flavour peak.
While things like potatoes, garlic and onions are perfectly fine without refrigeration, it’s important in the warmer weather to ensure they are stored in a cool, dark place like a cellar or well ventilated cupboard. Hessian bags or paper bags are a much better option to plastic bags which will create too much moisture and cause sprouting.
Particularly with Summer’s stonefruit, you might find yourself with a glut on your hands; either from your own garden, or gifted to you from a green-thumbed friend. In this case, you may need to split the bounty between the freezer and the fruit bowl so nothing goes to waste. Cut the stone fruit for the freezer into wedges, remove the pips and put into freezer bags to add to smoothies, stew for breakfast or make into jam, when you have the time.
Nuts, seeds & flour
The warmer weather can directly affect food storage, particularly when it comes to nuts, seeds and flour. The easiest way to combat rancidity is to store these products in the freezer. You will find that nuts will last for at least twice the amount of time before losing that lovely freshness, and that flour, particularly organic brands, will be free from the little weevils and pantry moths that can so easily take over in warm conditions.
An environmentally friendly kitchen
If you are keen to cut down on plastic bags for storing fruit and veg in the fridge, then try a large air tight container for things like carrots, broccoli, beans, zucchini etc, and for herbs you can either wrap them in a damp tea towel before putting them into a container, or if you have a lot to use at once, try chopping them and setting with a little water in ice cube trays to simply flip out and add to things like risotto or pasta sauce. Paper bags are the best option for mushrooms in the fridge as any other container or plastic bag will make them ‘sweat’.