This post is a part of a set of resources we’ve built to address the fact that a lot of us have upped our food stocks to the 2-week window, either because your town, city or country is in lockdown or to ensure that if we go into lockdown, we’re good to go. But the thing is, this is such a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves of some of those basic low tox food principles – eat simple whole foods, plan well to avoid waste, make freezer meals for those crazy full days where you can avoid caving into vegetable-oil-drowned takeaways, knowing a nourishing meal is a quick reheat away. We have a real opportunity here to keep calm and get nourishing and with that comes the support and protection of our magnificent immune systems during a time when we need them most. Panic buying packet foods might seem the right thing to do because everyone’s doing it, but make a tea, grab a pen, write a list and plan your nourishment.
Very important mental health note: If you have had to buy something you normally wouldn’t – or even if you darn well wanted to – due to scarcity where you live or a moment of ‘what the heck’ due to old emotional comfort patterns around food, don’t judge yourself and of course don’t judge others. We’re all just doing our best in these weird times. No one hands you a rule book on how to ‘do food’ in a time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and reducing stress and relaxing is the most powerful thing we can do to support the proper functioning of our immune systems, so stress not, refocus on foods that will nourish and support you and go with the flow on the odd thing you’re ‘what the hecking’ with.
Onions last an age when they’re kept in the fridge, to prolong their life, even more, wrap them in some recycled paper or brown paper bags. If you don’t have the fridge space you can also find a dark, cool, and well-ventilated spot in your home and store them in a recycled cardboard box.
Apples stored in the crisper of your refrigerator can last 3-4 weeks. Just be sure to keep them away from other fruits because they give off a gas that speeds ripening in other fruits.
Potatoes generally have a shelf life of two weeks, but you can prolong them for up to five weeks if you store them in the fridge. Like onions, if you don’t have enough room in your crisper pr fridge, store them in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation. Those little sprouts that shoot out of the potato’s skin are harmless and can be removed before consuming.
Pumpkin has a formidable shelf life when kept in its whole form, and will last anywhere from a month to three months on the bench or in a cool dark place. If it’s been cut open, be sure to keep it in the fridge, and thinly slice off the outer edges, which may oxidize slightly and aren’t as pleasant to eat.
Whole garlic has a protective outer layer, preventing it from spoiling over time. If you leave the whole bulb uncut, it can last 6 months before starting to go bad. Keep it in a cool place, out of direct sunlight to prevent the bulb from sprouting. Separated cloves can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge without skin 2 months with skin. To prolong the paper bag, keep it in a paper bag on your kitchen bench or in the fridge.
Whole, fresh carrots that are in a good state when you buy them tend to last around 4-5 weeks in the crisper when stored correctly in a sealed glass container. If you have them out in the crisper, they’ll last a little less time, about 2-3 weeks. Leave the skin on to keep them fresh longer.
Beetroots with their outer layer of skin can last several months when placed in a cool, dark space or in a crisper. A hot tip is to remove beet tops to prevent them from shrivelling. Just ensure you leave about a half-inch of the stem to prevent the juices from bleeding out prematurely.
Cabbage really does have nine lives, it’s a veggie that just keeps on giving. It can also be super economical and a brilliant ‘filler’ veg when you’re out of leafy greens. There are a few golden rules to ensure your cabbage lasts: Don’t wash it until you’re ready to use it, avoid bruising it and keep it in a crisper draw. Like pumpkin, slice off the edge the cabbage leaves if it looks a little brown. It’s still perfect to eat!
While a bowl of citrus can look like a beautiful centrepiece on your table, the best way to prolong their shelf life is to keep them in the fridge, especially if you live in a warmer climate. They’ll last a couple of months like this. If you do slice them open, use a beeswax wrap to keep them fresh.
Chopped celery can be revived by popping it directly into a shallow glass of water. Watch over the day as the stems prick up in delight. If your celery is still a little bit limp after this, it still works wonders in the base of a stew, bolognese, broth or curry so it’s a safe one to stock up on.
Extras to keep your produce fresh:
Use these for any fruits and veggies that have been cut open. They’re a fantastic alternative to plastic wrap and can be easily moulded around bowls, plates or funny shape fruit and veg. Wash in hot water and reuse. Et Voila!
The beauty of these is they’re long-lasting, and you can buy them in a variety of sizes. Glass containers are perfect for storing, freezing and serving food as they’re nonporous, impermeable and easy to keep clean! Can’t get yours online, local supermarkets like Coles, Woolworths, (and for international peeps, Tescos and Wholefoods House) have these too.
These are fabulous little fridge and freezer safe bags to keep perishables extra fresh. They’re great for cut citrus or greens that are more susceptible to going limp or mouldy in your crisper.
This three-layer fresh produce storage bag keeps fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. It’s made from breathable, non-toxic and machine-washable material, so an easy one to keep clean and reuse for years to come.
So there you have it, if you’re purchasing produce not knowing if you’re about to go into lockdown, or you’re already in one, you can make sure you focus on some long-lasting items in the mix to go the distance for you and to save you having to freeze everything and take up freezer space.
Hope this post has helped you find a few ideas, and we’ve also crafted other posts you might find useful on cheap+simple meals you can make and eat or freeze, and things you can blitz, prep and cook to freeze that you might not have thought of. Plus the best antiviral herbs you can add to cooking. Enjoy the resources.
Got any super fun tips to keep your produce fresher for long? I’d love for you to share it below.
Low Tox. Happy Planet. Happy you.