We all hate throwing out spoiled food… especially now that we can’t go to the supermarket or wet market so often. Try these easy story age ideas and freezer hacks to keep your fresh fruits and vegetables tasty for as long as possible, even in hot and humid Singapore.
It does this by absorbing moisture, as water will speed up the rotting process. Put a few squares of kitchen paper into your salad drawer or into a paper bag of mushrooms, cai sim, baby bok choy or salad leaves. You can even use clean toilet paper – if you have any spare rolls, that is!
Try making: Thai Coconut Prawn Poke Bowl
You can freeze chilli, longans or rambutan whole – the skin protects the fruit in the frozen state. Flash freeze by spreading whole fruits or chilli onto a baking sheet in the freezer, and when frozen you can transfer them to an airtight bag or container. They’ll keep for about a year. Since we’re all trapped at home now and walking less, why not try making this circulation-boosting tea?
Try making: Nourishing Red Dates Longan Tea
When it comes to mango and pineapple, peel and cut into chunks, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for six months. Tropical Asian fruits do get slightly softer when they’re frozen and thawed, but still taste great in achar, curry, desserts or pineapple tarts.
Try making: Fruity Mango Panna Cotta
Wrap banana stems in clingfilm to keep them fresh. You can wrap the fruit individually or cover a whole bunch. If you’re keeping them for longer, you can freeze bananas whole, or peel and chop them first.
Try making: Raspberry & Banana Mini Muffins
If a vegetable has roots, stand it in a jar of water in the fridge, like a bunch of flowers. Spring onion (also known as scallion or green onion), Chinese celery, Chinese chives, lemongrass, asparagus and celery all stay fresh for longer this way.
This rempah recipe is a great way to use up lemongrass – and you can freeze the rempah and use it to jazz up everything from soups to chicken and duck dishes.
Bitter melon and cucumber will last for up to a week wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Sadly, they don’t freeze well – they turn into mush. So keep the cucumber fresh with a home-made burger.
Try making: Chicken Satay Burger
If you’re serving toddlers, skip the buns and make mini chicken bites wrapped in cucumber, that they can eat with their hands.
Wrap Lotus roots in a damp cloth or damp kitchen paper towel, then pop into a perforated plastic bag and store in the fridge. They sometimes come linked together like giant sausages. Don’t peel it or separate the links – cuts start oxidisation which causes the root to harden and darken. They should keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge.
Try making: Lettuce-Wrapped Chicken Breast With Lotus Root Chips
You can freeze avocado for up to six months. Who knew! To defrost it quickly, run it under warm water, sit it on the counter for half an hour, then slice as normal or blitz it into smoothies and Asian desserts.
Try making: Tuna, Avocado & Sweet Corn Crisp Wrap
Put them in the dark because it helps to avoid sprouting. A dry environment is best (so resist the urge to wash these vegetables before you need them). You can store them in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge, but if you have space, put them in their own paper bag, and store in a cardboard box in a well-ventilated cupboard.
Try making: Chicken Rendang with Potatoes
Cooking oils are best kept away from light, heat and air to prevent oxidisation, which makes them spoil – sesame oil especially. So keep oil in a sealed bottle in a cupboard rather than next to the hot cooker hob. You’ll need fresh and fragrant oil for this fried chicken recipe:
Fried Chicken with Achar
We often keep fresh or UHT milk in the fridge door, but it spoils faster because the temperature rises every time you open the door. Keep milk or coconut milk on the fridge shelf – or freeze it into individual ice cubes to use in recipes and milkshakes.
Try making: Spicy Curry Chicken in Coconut Milk
Large tubs of yoghurt use up less space in the fridge, but the yoghurt can go mouldy before you eat it all. Wrap the entire yoghurt tub in clingfilm, make sure the lid is on tight and store the tub upside-down; this creates a vacuum inside the tub that slows the growth of mould.
Text: Tara Barker
This article was published on April 14, 2020, and updated on September 9, 2020.