Simon and I have always been interested in food and cooking, but owning a Lodge has really honed our skills when it comes to effectively storing fresh produce and making the most of what we have available.
You know the feeling. There’s a meal to prepare and everything in the fridge looks sad. The cheese has gone hard, the salad leaves have wilted, the avocado you wanted to use still isn’t ripe.
Well, we might not have the answers to everything, but here are 16 of our tried and tested kitchen tips and tricks for food use and storage which we hope you’ll find useful.
If you have any more suggestions, we’d love to hear about them in the Comments section below.
Our top Food Tips and Tricks
- Keep Bananas fresher by covering the stem of a banana bunch in plastic wrap. This is because most of the natural ethylene gas that bananas use to ripen themselves is released from the stem.
- You can stop potatoes from sprouting by storing them with apples. Apparently the low levels of ethylene gas that an apple omits can help to prevent sprouting.
- Use slightly stale bread for making a bread and butter pudding. When making the pudding I toast the bread and spread one side with marmalade.
- Store your asparagus in a jar, or small vase half filled with water, in the fridge. Change the water every 3 days or so.
- If some of your cheese goes hard then cut it away from the rest of the cheese and grate it. Then store the grated cheese in the freezer. Add to pasta or other dishes that require a cheese topping.
- Sad looking salad leaves? Simply let the cells rehydrate by soaking the leaves in ice water for a couple of hours and hey presto – you’ve got good-as-new lettuce. Works well with carrots and celery too.
- Don’t store your tomatoes in the fridge. Place the tomato facing stem down on a flat surface. This helps reduce loss of moisture.
- Stop cut avocados from becoming discoloured by storing in an airtight container with a piece of raw onion. Some people say that you can keep cut avocado from going brown by storing the pip in with it – i.e. in dishes such as Guacamolas.
- Ripen avocados quickly by placing them in a paper bag with a banana. The ethylene gas produced by the banana will speed up the ripening process.
- Keep onions and garlic fresh for months by storing them in paper bags with holes punched in the top.
- Stop your brown sugar from going lumpy by putting some orange peel in the container. This really works.
- Most fruit will last for longer if it is stored in the fridge (though keep bananas, tomatoes and pineapples out of there). Even if your fruit has gone a bit soft it can still be used for drinks like smoothies. Peel old bananas and cut them up, then freeze for later use.
- Depending on how old it is, you don’t need to chuck out milk as it nears its ‘use by’ date – instead, try adding it to sauces, puddings, smoothies or custard. Freshly purchased milk can be frozen for up to six weeks without losing its nutritional value or flavour. Allow it to thaw in the fridge. If the texture is not as smooth as you’d like when you bring it out of the freezer then just use an electric blender to whip it until its smooth again.
- Cover mushrooms in damp kitchen paper – they will last for ages.
- Thyme can be frozen. Grab a handful and pop it in a ziplock bag and freeze. When you want some thyme leaves just give the bag a whack and all the leaves fall off the stem. Cut a small hole in a corner of the bag and sprinkle the required amount as necessary.
- When certain fruits and vegetables are in season, thus abundant, and at a good price, consider using them as decoration instead of flowers. They look fantastic and can be used too:)
Don’t go away … you might also like to read, 9 Things you’ll Love about Peppermint Lane Lodge.
Now it’s over to you … what are your favourite foodie tips? Please share with us below in the comments.