26th Mar 2020, 08:39 PM #1
How to make your vege last MUCH longer in the fridge
*Putting this in the "Nothing to do ...." section because "Cooking" doesn't seem to get much traffic, and in the current pandemic, this information is pretty useful, and probably important I suppose.
Preparing food for a single meal is irritating.
Just ask Kuffy.
I much prefer to prepare larger amounts - sometimes MUCH larger amounts for vacpacking and freezing. A few weeks ago I made 45-50 litres of soup which is about 90-100 meals. But even for a humble salad I have developed techniques that can make a chopped green salad last for 2 weeks with minimal degradation. I can store some green vegetables for up to 4 weeks, depending on how fresh they were when acquired.
The secret to making vege last is to minimise the water and air that stays in contact with it. This week I have added a new technique which I hope will make it last even longer, but will have to wait and see.
These days I can put together a salad for 1-6 people with chopped greens (leaves & 'erbs), tomatoes, can't-beat-a-root (home made), grated carrot, diced grilled capsicums (home made), pickled qukes (home made) in about 3-4 minutes. Really. The trick is to keep the greens completely separate to the grated carrots, take out what you need for this serve, and to add all the really wet things (tomatoes etc) at the time of consumption.
So here is the chopped greens from earlier this arvo:
Chopped Greens.jpg (yes, yes Kuffy & fletty, I know )
440 grams total, divided into two. The first lot on the left is for immediate use, so it goes into a plastic box with that white microfibre towel folded up at the top of the box, to absorb moisture. I do the same thing with grated carrot, but in a smaller box, and I use folded bumroll - preferably unused - as the moisture absorber. Carrot sheds more moisture than the greens which is why I keep them separate.
The second half, on the right (above) is for the new experiment, which is vacpacking them in a microfibre towel. BTW, I have only just discovered Microfibre Tea Towels, and they are sensational. Unbelievable moisture absorption!
So here is the end result, with the second lot rolled up in the apricot coloured towel and vac packed down to -0.9 atmospheres.
The first half will be consumed over the next week, and then I'll be able to report back on the vacpack experiment.
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26th Mar 2020, 08:55 PM #2
For other vege, particularly greens, but carrots, spuds etc, forget the vege crisper in the frig. They're "ok" and better than storing in the general fridge, but the following technique wins hands down.
Get a large plastic box that has a lid that can be snapped on, rather than just placed on. That restricts air movement.Then
- Fold up a tea towel and place it at the bottom.
- Put your vege in individual paper bags. I use a packet of lunch bags for small things, and wine bottle paper bags for carrots, asparagus and the like. This does mean that I have to visit a bottle shop reasonably regularly, and the bastards won't give them to me for free. They actually make me purchase something!
- Place the paper bags on the bottom towel.
- Place another folded towel over the top of that.
- Snap on the top, and refrigerate.
Long Life Vege box.jpg
The process will go smoother after half a glass of wine.
You'll probably need to change the towel(s) every 4-5 days depending on the vege moisture content. Cucumbers e.g. have a great deal of water.
The paper bags will get damp, and it is important to change them when they are because they are in direct contact with the vege. The towels are less important because they are secondary. You do NOT need to throw the paper bags away each time. Change them out, and then just stand the bags on the counter to dry right out, fold them up for nexta time.
Tip: when you buy your vege you can put them into individual mushroom bags at the supermarket.
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