With the UK throwing away seven billion tonnes of food annually - an average of around £470 per household - it’s clear that we could all do with a bit of education when it comes to storing food safely.
It’s estimated that half of the £13 billion cost of food waste could be saved if the public were given more information about storing food safely. With that in mind, here are some of our top tips to help you keep your food fresher for longer. You can take our quiz at the bottom to see how much you remembered!
Fruit and vegetables
Keeping fruits and vegetables stored too closely together is a common mistake that can lead to food going bad. Build-up of the chemical compound ethylene will cause them to go off, so apples, melons, apricots, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, figs, and other fruits and vegetables should be kept separate as these produce the most ethylene.
One in two people (52%) would not consider buying fruit or vegetables already frozen, so buying loose vegetables fresh then chopping and storing them in an airtight container in the freezer can ensure no food is wasted.
Wash cucumbers straight away and ensure they are thoroughly dry, as excess water will turn them bad. Wrap them in either a tea towel or kitchen roll to prevent sogginess and store in the fridge in a reusable vegetable bag.
Netting for lemons, oranges and limes is very dangerous to sea life and birds so these types of fruits should always be bought loose. They should also be kept in the fridge and, if citrus starts to go on the turn, slicing them up and freezing them will make great ice cubes for drinks.
Meat and fish
More than one in three (38%) believe freezing meat after it has been cooked is dangerous, but this is a myth. Meat and fish can be stored in containers in the freezer, for the two thirds of us (64%) who don’t want to buy frozen meat, which will save money and food waste. Store all frozen food in containers with labels that clearly state the date the items were frozen, as meat should be eaten within three to six months.
Toilet roll, tissues, kitchen paper
Over half of Brits (58%) say they need help reducing the amount of plastic they use. Toilet rolls, tissues and kitchen paper is available to buy free from plastic. These items can be stored efficiently in caddys, toilet roll holders and even magazine racks. Space Station has more tips on recycling and living sustainably here.
For loose leafy salad, wash and dry in a salad spinner then wrap loosely in kitchen paper and store in tupperware to stop the leaves going soggy. Tomatoes and avocados should be stored outside the fridge until ripe.
Onions and potatoes
Onions, potatoes and shallots should be stored in a cool dark place to keep them fresh, such as in a wicker basket in a cupboard or a cellar. Avoid storing these products in plastic bags as this encourages spoilage. A clever hack to keep onions fresh is storing them hung up in an old pair of tights in a cool, dry place. Once cut, onions should be stored in a zip-lock bag in the fridge where they will last for around a week or stored in tupperware and kept in the freezer.
Apples and bananas
Buy bananas when green and store them away from other fruits in the fruit bowl as they release a gas that can cause other fruits to go off more quickly. Consider using a banana tree to keep them separate and minimise bruising. Or a mug tree can work just as well. Store apples in an uncovered fruit bowl on a worktop and make sure to keep the fruit out of direct sunlight.
A great hack for storing fresh basil and herbs is to chop the leaves in a food processor and place into an ice cube tray with a little olive oil and store in the freezer. When basil is needed for a dish, just pop in a ready-made ice cube.