The cost of living is on the rise and that includes our fresh produce.
And I don't know about you but I'm a gal that needs fresh fruit and vegetables in her life!
I also have a big family and money doesn't grow on trees so anyway that we can make our money stretch further is a massive win!
Which includes getting the most out of all of our purchases!
So here are my top tips to make your fruit and veg' last longer and get the most bang for your buck!
Meal planning is incredible for various reasons but it is the bomb for reducing waste and saving you money!
Planning out your meals in advance ensures that you are only buying what you truly need and the best way to start meal planning is to shop your fridge, freezer and pantry first which again will reduce food waste and save you money at the supermarket!
Not only is it so important to support the small guys in your local community but more often than not shopping local first means fresher and better quality produce!
When your fruit or veg has not had to travel large distances or be stored for long periods of time it means that it's going to last longer in your house.
So explore alternative places where you can buy your fresh produce like your local farmers market.
Now if you've been following my journey for a while you will know that sustainability holds a big place in my heart. In fact I have my own range of sustainable products!
But ultimately the reason that I want you to avoid plastic when it comes to your fresh produce is not only so that you can give the environment a much needed hug but we want to avoid moisture when it comes to storing our fresh produce as moisture makes our fruit and veg' age faster!
Now of course you can go on a little shopping spree and grab some reusable produce bags but you more than likely have things at home that you can use without spending a cent such as old pillow cases.
I ritualistically wash all of my fruit and veg' as soon as I get home from the shops. Not only does it remove any unwanted nasties that are detrimental to our health and wellbeing but with the right product it can actually make your produce last a lot longer! I personally love the Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak for all of the above and it's become a staple in our home over the past few years.
Lining the bottom of your crisper is going to do wonders for not only keeping your fridge clean but it ultimately reduces moisture which is the aim of the game here. Less moisture means that your fruit and veg' will last longer in your fridge! You can use anything your heart desires to line the bottom of your crisper but a clean tea towel or a rag will do the trick. I recommend changing your crisper lining weekly if not fortnightly depending on how much action that area of your house gets.
How many times have you gone to grab some produce out of your fridge only to find the saddest looking cucumber you've ever seen in your life! Not only is it important to be regularly rotating and cleaning out our crisper but in my opinion it is just as important to have a use me first section of your fridge! Mine has been everything from a cute thrifted basket to currently a glass bowl with a clean rag on the bottom but regardless of what it is it should be in your eye level and should also be the first place you look for your produce. Don't know what produce to use for dinner? Check your use me first section. Have half a zucchini left? Put it in the use me first section. Just bought some tomatoes at your local farmers market but you've got a few left in your crisper from last shop? Put them in your use me first section. This is seriously a game changer when it comes to food waste and saving you money!
While a lot of my tips and tricks are about reducing moisture around your fresh produce sometimes we need to do the opposite! Storing things such as herbs, asparagus, kale, carrots, green onions and celery in water will actually make them last longer! I store all of mine in up cycled glass jars with around an inch or two of water in the bottom and then placed on a shelf in the fridge.
Now I won't go too far into this one as I have a whole journal entry already dedicated to this called 'Grow Fruit, Vegetables And Herbs From Your Kitchen Scraps!' so make sure you jump over and check it out!
Now when it comes to food preservation your freezer is your best friend. If you've got something in your fridge that is simply not going to get used and you can't think of anything to do with it I would recommend freezing it for later! A lot of things can be frozen without any preparation and everything else can be blanched in boiling salted water for three minutes, run under a cold tap and then frozen! I don't know how many times I've run out of fresh produce and grabbed a handy bag of frozen broccoli out of my freezer that I had prepared a few weeks before.
And last but certainly not least is simply get creative!
There are so many things we can do with our produce and leftovers the world is honestly your oyster!
You could start a compost, feed some chickens, make a vegetable stock, make your own vinegar, make some bone broth or make various different fertilizers for your garden!
Let me know what your favourite produce saving tip is below in the comments and as always it's been an honor being a part of your journey x