Tired of finding mouldy cheese in the back of the fridge? Not sure where to keep your potatoes? Not to worry. We give you the low-down on storing food and what you need to know about expiry dates to avoid food waste.
1. Know Your Fish
Cook raw fish as soon as possible after buying it. Raw white fish should look translucent, with glossy skin and no smell. The flesh should stay springy, but firm, when pressed. If it looks cloudy, leaves an indentation when pressed, smells of soap or smells too fishy, chuck it.
2. The Truth About Eggs
Use eggs within three weeks of their best-before date. If in doubt, drop the egg into a glass of water. If it floats, don’t eat it; if it sinks, it’s fine.
3. Be Sausage Savvy
With processed meat, like sausages and pâté, don’t risk more than a day past the sell-by date, as processed meat will have been exposed to bacteria like campylobacter, E.coli or listeria, which grow quickly, even when refrigerated.
4. The Rule About Yoghurt
I’ve eaten yoghurt up to three weeks after the sell-by date. It undergoes a lactic acid fermentation process, a preservation method that stabilises the milk to make yoghurt last. But, throw it away if you spot any signs of mould.
5. Make The Most of Beef
You can easily stretch the best-before date of beef by a few days. But if there’s any sign of bacteria, deterioration, or a bad smell, ditch it.
6. Don’t Keep The Ice Cream Too Long
Ice cream has a surprisingly short shelf life. As it has a high fat content, it never fully freezes. Eat within three months, but if it darkens or tastes sour, bin it.
7. Be Spice Aware
Ground spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon, can last for more than six months if they are labelled as “steam cleaned/pasteurised”.
8. Be Cautious With Chicken
Chicken deteriorates quickly, and the faintest whiff of rotting flesh or sour milk means it needs chucking, but give it a rinse under cool water before smelling to double-check the smell isn’t coming from the packaging. Generally, don’t risk eating chicken more than a day or two after its use-by date.
9. Too Much Crème Fraîche?
To avoid food waste, mix it with cheese and mustard to make a cheese sauce for cauliflower or leeks. You can also make up a creamy pasta sauce to keep in the freezer.
10. Use Up Hummus
If you have too much, freeze it for later use. It’s great to thicken up stews, casseroles, curries and soups (especially carrot). Mix with chopped onion and red peppers, dip in egg and flour, shape into patties, then shallow fry for vegetarian burgers.
11. Keep These Out Of The Fridge
– Tomatoes will lose flavour in the fridge because the cold air stops the ripening process and breaks down the membranes inside the fruit walls, turning them mealy. Keep them out in a bowl or basket.
– Potatoes go gritty and sweet because the cold air turns starch into sugar more quickly. Store them in a paper bag in a cool, dark place. The same goes for garlic, which will start to sprout in the fridge, and may also get rubbery and mouldy.
– Bread dries out in the fridge, so either keep it out, or in the freezer if you aren’t going to use it in the next few days.
– Onions. Moisture turns them soft and mouldy, so keep them in a cool, dry place – but separate from potatoes; if stored together, both deteriorate faster.
– Coffee loses flavour in the fridge, and can absorb some of the smells around it. Store coffee in a cool, dark place, and larger quantities in the freezer.
– Basil wilts faster in the fridge, and also absorbs smells. Store in a cup of fresh water instead, or, if you want to keep it for later, blanch, then freeze it.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst