Writer: Emily Rapp
Editor: Sophia Alexander
With a worldwide pandemic going on right now, you would expect humanity to come together and spread love and positivity. In some cases we do, we run to the grocery store for our elderly neighbors, borrow and share baking supplies, and send meaningful chats to those we care about. However, in some cases we do not, there are runs on the grocery store for mass amounts of toilet paper, salt, flour, and other grocery items that you would not expect. Stocking up at this time is one of the worst things you could do right now. Those who do not have the luxury of stocking up are left with little to choose from and sometimes nothing. The Coronavirus does not make food or toilet paper disappear.
If we could limit how many times we take a grocery trip without stocking up, we would save our community a great deal of stress, and leave some for everybody. To limit the times we go to the grocery store, we have to make our groceries last. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the food in your freezer, fridge, or pantry last longer.
“My family is doing a lot of cooking from home,” said freshman Clara Tracewell, “but there are some ingredients that we forget about, and knowing how to preserve them can help extend the time until our next grocery trip.”
For veggies, the processes are much different for each one. For instance, leafy greens should be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in the fridge’s crisper drawer so that they stay crispy longer. You can also use a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture that wilts the greens. In comparison, carrots last the longest when they are stored in a container of sand. The pot should be in a cool dry place. Onions are vegetables that can be stored in many ways. You can put onions in a pantyhose, tying knots in between them, and hanging them in your kitchen. You can also cut up green onions and store them in bottles of water. Also, do not store potatoes and onions together, because the potatoes will go bad quicker. For asparagus, you should cut the bottoms of the stems like flowers and store it in a container with water, with a plastic bag overall stems.
Fruits also have multiple ways of staying fresh. Tomatoes should be stored in paper bags instead of plastic so that they do not ripen as quickly. When they are ripe, they should be stored at room temperature away from the sunlight. If you want to keep berries fresh for longer, you have to soak them in a vinegar and water solution for a few minutes and then refrigerate them. They can last up to two weeks with this trick. Apples should be stored with potatoes because they keep each other from going bad. You should also pay attention to the apples and take out bad apples quickly so that they do not affect the rest of the bunch. Bananas should have plastic around the top where they all connect so that they do not brown as quickly. Bananas should also not be stored in the refrigerator with other fruits because they will make them spoil faster. However, if your bananas do go bad, you can pop them in the freezer to use for banana bread later on. If you are planning on cutting up a bunch of fruit to store or making a fruit salad, soak the fruit in ginger-ale, lemon-lime juice, or orange juice to store for longer.
Other items you might keep in your fridge can be kept fresh with strategic placing and containing. Milk is one item that many people may keep in the door of the fridge. The door of the fridge is often warmer than the main part of the fridge, causing the milk to go bad. Milk should be placed in the middle of the fridge to keep longer. You can also add a pinch of salt into milk or heavy cream to make it last longer, and it doesn’t affect the taste!
It can be easy to forget about pantry items, but they can be the foods that last the longest with proper care. There are many different ways to store different kinds of bread. For instance, sandwich bread should be placed in a container or a paper bag to keep fresh, and artisanal bread should be stored in plastic bread to prevent it from gaining moisture. If your bread has become stale, you can transform it into an edible loaf by rubbing it with ice cubes and sticking it in the oven for 12 minutes at 200 degrees. Since honey can crystallize easily, you can decrystallize it by putting the jar of honey in a pot of warm water to melt it down. Other essential pantry items that you can use for baking can be saved as well.
“My family is doing a lot of baking during quarantine, and these tips really work!” said freshman Katie Sipes, “Nothing gets rid of boredom like baking.”
Sugar and flour can be put in the freezer, and last up to six months. Nuts can also be saved in the freezer if you will not eat them right away. These tips can save your ingredients for another baking day.
It’s important to use all of the food you can to the best of your ability to make sure everyone has access to food and that you don’t expose yourself as often. Remember to be considerate to those struggling in our community, and stay safe Royals!