Ways to preserve food for a longer time without refrigeration

PHOTO: YouTube video screengrab

Air conditioning units and refrigerators are some of the most energy-sapping appliances in the home, yet we still rely on them extensively on a regular, and even daily basis.

Korean designer Jihyun Ryou, who is based in Amsterdam, explored the idea of preserving food without the use of refrigerator through her project, Save Food from the Fridge.

Some of the interesting points she highlighted include the following:

- When potatoes and apples are placed together, potatoes tend to last longer as the ethylene gas which the apples produce prevent the potatoes from sprouting. Potatoes also need to be placed in the dark.

- Root vegetables such as carrots and celery should be kept vertically - similar to how they grow - rather than horizontally.

- Fruit vegetables such as eggplants and cucumbers are biologically fruits and not suitable to be placed in the fridge as they lose nutrients and taste at low temperatures.

- Egg shells have millions of pores which absorb odours in the fridge and thus its not advisable to leave eggs in the fridge. Also, to test the freshness of an egg, drop the egg into a jar of water; fresh eggs sink, while rotten eggs float.


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10 foods you shouldn't keep in the fridge

  • They'll lose their flavour and firm texture in the fridge. The Huffington Post reported that the cold temperature damages the membranes inside the fruit walls, turning the tomatoes mealy, and obstructs the ripening process, which is when the tomatoes gain more flavour.
  • They'll also lose their flavour because their starch will be turned into sugar more quickly in the cold temperature.
  • They'll turn soft and mouldy. Store them in a cool, dry area where there's air circulation - but not together with your potatoes or they'll both rot more quickly, according to The Huffington Post.
  • Only refrigerate them if they're ripe - after which they can last up to about a week. For best results, store the whole fruit instead of one that's been cut open, to prevent it from turning brown.
  • They will start to sprout and may even turn mouldy or rubbery or both.
  • You might think it'll stay fresh for longer in the fridge, but it actually dries out more quickly. If it's sandwich bread, you can still freeze it while wrapped and retain the moisture. Let it thaw slowly and fully before consuming.
  • Honey never expires, so there's no need to keep it in the fridge, which will instead cause it to crystallise and harden.
  • Cooking oils such as olive oil and corn oil can easily thicken and resemble butter within a few minutes of being kept in the fridge, according to health site Healthy Diet Base.
  • They'll absorb and take on the odour in the fridge, which means they'll lose their aromatic flavour.
  • It'll wilt more quickly in the fridge, The Huffington Post reported, adding that the herb will also absorb the surrounding smells.

How long to keep your food for before getting rid of them

Tips to keep your pantry staples fresh for longer

  • Always keep your seasonings in a warm, dry place. Leave them close to the stove so it's easier to reach when you want to season your dish. In a cold damp area, salt and sugar will clump together and solidify.
  • Storing garlic in a ventilated container keeps them dry and also prevents their smell from spreading in the kitchen.
  • Store bread in a bread bin to keep insects and humidity out.
  • Bulb and root vegetables should be kept in a dry ventilated area. Potatoes and sweet potatoes should be kept in a shaded area to prevent them from sprouting.
  • Prevent biscuits and cereal from turning soft by storing them in airtight containers.
  • A well-ventilated counter is key to keeping your food fresh. Dress up your counter with stylish containers to store food, so pests can't get to them.
  • Use clear airtight containers to store the Italian staple for a fun way to dress up your countertop.
  • Grow fresh herbs right off your table in small planters. To keep fresh herbs for longer, wrap a damp kitchen towel around the base of the stalk before storing in the fridge.

    Tip! "Preserve dried herbs in olive oil. The flavours of the herbs will be transferred to the oil and the bottles look good on the countertop." - Chef Emmanuel Stroobant

  • Fruit can be kept outside of the fridge for about a week, and will brighten up your countertop. Be sure to store bananas out in the open as they turn brown in the cold. Store cut fruit in the fridge with a little lemon juice on them to slow down the oxidisation process.
  • Always keep your rice stored in an airtight bin. Vanessa suggests keeping it under the sink: "The cool air and dark location will help keep the weevils away." You can bury some unpeeled garlic cloves in the rice as an added measure, but be sure to change them once every few days! To store cooked rice, cool it to at least 20 deg C before freezing it. Frozen rice can be stored for up to six months.

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