Singaporeans are big food wasters, according to reports revealing that 792,000 tons of food was wasted in 2013. We like to boast about being huge foodies, but take a look at the plates at any hawker centre or restaurant and you'll see piles of uneaten food.
Wasting food can also make it a whole lot more expensive to cook at home, which is stupid as the main reason many Singaporeans put themselves at the mercy of their amateur cooking skills is precisely to save money.
Still, when you spend 99 per cent of your time at home comatose, it's easy to open the fridge only to discover that all the groceries you painstakingly bought last week are now well on the road to being returned to nature as compost. Here are five food storage hacks that will stop that from happening.
Use clear containers to store perishables in
If you're the sort of person who can't even be bothered to take your supermarket purchases out of the NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage plastic bags before shoving them into the fridge, we bet you've also discovered on more than one occasion that those fresh vegetables you bought had transformed into a soggy, mouldy mess.
Pack your purchases into clear containers once you get home and you're less likely to run into this problem, because you'll be able to actually see the items inside and be reminded of their existence each time you open the fridge.
Daiso sells airtight plastic containers for $2. If you're a hipster, get some mason jars which you can also reuse when you take lunch to work in them. They're super cheap if you get them on Taobao.
You also avoid having your fridge turn into a hellhole stuffed with rustling plastic bags.
Use airtight containers to store eggs in
The annoying thing about eggs is that you can't buy just one or two. They're cheapest when you buy them by the dozen. But unless you plan on eating omelettes every day for the next week, may people end up using two or three and then throwing the rest of the carton away.
Fortunately, yes, there is a way to make your eggs last longer, and that is to store them in the fridge in an airtight container. They can last up to a month that way, although you should obviously not cook them if they smell weird.
Keep your fruits and vegetables in separate compartments
I'm not going to get all scientific on you, but many fruits give off a chemical called ethylene gas, which can ruin other fresh foods. This means your mangoes, papayas and tomatoes could be destroying your broccoli, eggplants and carrots.
There's a reason fridges usually contain a little drawer on the bottom shelf - it's to keep fruits or vegetables separate from the rest of the produce. Use your drawer to store your fruits, and place the vegetables on the upper shelves. If you've got a fridge with than one door, you can store your fruits and vegetables in different compartments.
Monitor the temperature of your fridge
We tend to think of fridges as super cold boxes that penguins would love to play around in, but the sad fact is, Singapore is so darned hot that your fridge might not be as cold as you think it is. Furthermore, certain areas of the fridge are hotter and colder than others.
Even after adjusting the temperature of your fridge, if you were to place a thermometer in different parts you would find that the temperature can vary significantly.
The back of the fridge is colder than the front, since hot air enters the fridge every time you open it. The top part of the fridge close to the freezer also tends to be colder than the bottom. If your food is spoiling super fast, lower the temperature of your fridge. Also keep perishables in the colder areas of the fridge.
Don't wash your fruits and vegetables before storing them
If you're the sort of person who refuses to put on a new article of clothing without first washing it, you'll have to resist when it comes to your fruits and vegetables.
Not washing your fruits and vegetables before you place them in the fridge will extend their lives. Any moisture will only hasten the decomposition process, so dump them in and try not to think of the pesticides. Clean them up just before you're going to consume them, and that should do the trick.
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