Ever wondered why certain products are stored in certain areas of a supermarket compared to where you store them at home? If you have ever questioned where to store a certain product – you are not alone, and a lot of people, chefs, home cooks and foodie novices will all have their own say on where a product should go. Especially when it comes to fresh produce, it’s not as simple as a pre-made packaged product, that comes complete with a manufacturer’s label on where best to store. But even then, some of the places may contradict those of a different company. So where does that leave you? Standing in the middle of your kitchen, wondering whether to shove your potatoes in a dark cupboard where no light will ever leak, or to grace them with a bit of daybreak every now and again. So, to make it a little bit easier, here are my top five plant-based products I use every day and how best to store them for longevity and quality.
Now this actually depends on where you got the loaf from to start with. If you got it from a supermarket already packaged in an air-tight bag, make sure to keep it in said packaging and store at room temperature – keep it in a cool and dry space, and never place it in the fridge. For store brought products that come in a brown paper bag or ones you have made yourself (although make sure are completely cool before storing) stored uncovered in a bread bin is the best place for it to be. Make sure your bin has ventilation holes so don’t place directly in an airtight container. Bread bins have the right amount of air flow to stop the bread from going too hard, or mouldy too quickly. For sliced bread – the best place to be, is in the freezer. It’s super simple to defrost per slice and keeps it from turning too quickly.
Different potatoes last longer than others. So, if you are stocking up and want them kept for a longer period of time choose potatoes that have this capability. Yukon Gold, Fingerling and Maris Piper are your friends here. The larger or older potato varieties tend to withstand the time much better than their younger and smaller brethren. The main basic comes down to this, however – keep them in a cool and dry place and they will be fine. It’s more about the storing space than the place for these. Just like your bread, they need a free circulation of air to stay in tip top shape, so opt for a brown box, mesh bag or brown paper bag that isn’t closed air-tight and never store near bulbous produce. Inspect your potatoes regularly and remove any sprouting, bruised or softened ones to keep the rest happy. But don’t throw these away – cook them up in your favourite recipes.
Following along with the same pattern, different herbs require different storage. Wooden stemmed herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano work best when given a little extra moisture to stop them drying out. Wrap in a slightly damp cloth and seal in an air-tight container. Bundle smaller bunches together and remember to remoisten the cloth when needed to keep them as fresh as possible. Softer herbs such as coriander, basil and mint need a bit more attention. Treat them as you would a freshly cut bunch of flowers and place their stems in a jar that’s got a splash of water in the bottom (you want the stems engulfed but the leaves kept dry), cover loosely with a cloth and an elastic band to keep the tops and tips both happy and store in the door or on the top shelf and for both types, make sure to wash and dry before moving to their storage facility.
The crisper drawer is there for a reason – so make sure to use it. Leafy greens such as lettuce, chard, kale and spinach need the cold to thrive. If your crisper is full, place on the shelf above and as far to the back of the fridge as you can. Just like your herbs, you’ll want to rinse and thoroughly dry your greens before refrigerating. This helps remove any debris or bacteria that could encourage spoiling before its time. Keep your produce separated in different containers, glass works the best, and with a cloth on the bottom to catch any additional moisture and then another on top in replacement of a lid to protect the leaves. Make sure to replace these regularly and don’t squash them down. Lightly place in a container to ensure air flow and no pockets to encourage rot.
Apples actually hate their brothers, so make sure to store apples on a tray, spaced out rather than in a bowl all atop one and another. If you don’t have the space, add a layer of cardboard between the stacks and only place one layer above. Apples love the cold but nothing that is going to be too bitter and actually quite like a bit of humidity, so try and store in a cool place rather than directly in the fridge. A garage, cellar or shed are ideal. Apples actually don’t get along with anyone from the fruit and veg family so keeping them locked in the shed is the best place they can be. Just don’t forget about them.