Zero Waste Solutions to Keeping Food Fresh for Longer 0
Part of being zero waste is about consuming what you do have; food included. While the compost bin is a better option than the landfill, your mouth is the ultimate zero waste destination for your food.
However, when you're looking to minimize plastics and therefore end up buying a lot of basic produce, it can become difficult to keep your food fresh and good to use. We're not even going to go into the crazy temperatures we have had this summer and how that can affect the speed of decomposition...
How to Store Food
Here are some key items in your fridge and pantry along with some tips on how to keep them and store them for maximum freshness:
Kale & Spinach
These leafy greens can really vary in terms of lifetime depending on how you keep them. Try destemming, cutting, and washing them as soon as you buy them. Then run them through the salad spinner while in a cloth produce bag and then put the entire thing in the fridge. The dampness will keep the contents fresh (don't let it be wet, just damp!)
Tomatoes in the grocery store are never stored in the fridge. Why? Because keeping them there destroys the flavour and texture as they get "mealy".
Avocados need to ripen before they are ready to eat, and most times the store sells them a little under so that they don't reach this stage until they are already at your home. Store them on your counter until they are ripe, and then move them to the fridge to maintain that level. If you open an avocado and only use half, store the remainder with the pit in either in an airtight container or wrap with a beeswax wrap (we carry Abeego in-stores).
Once cut or picked, these can be stored in a beeswax wrap or cloth produce bag in the fridge. A notable exception is basil which will turn black pretty quickly. If you keep the cut stems in water at room temperature, it slows down the process.
Best kept in a linen bread bag or at least covered with a linen tea towel. The linen allows for natural ventilation while slowing down the drying out process.
Not in the fridge please! Store in a cool, dry place for maximum lifetime. Onions can be stored like that too!
Real coffee aficionados know that the only way to enjoy a fresh cuppa joe is to properly store those beans. Once you open the bag or container that your coffee beans came in, transfer to an airtight container like a jar and keep in the fridge. If you have left over ground coffee, you can store it like that as well.
Fruit like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can be stored either in the fridge or on the counter. However, for maximum juiciness, store in the fridge and bring to room temperature before consuming.
Plan for the "end of life" for your food
Of course, even with these tips, time will take its toll on your food- and that's why having a few "last call" recipes is always handy. Smoothies, salads, soups, quiches, tarts and pizzas are all great ways to use up the items which are close to expiry but can still be eaten. Don't forget the power of the freezer, of pickling, and preserving, as these are great ways to extend the life of your food and enjoy local, seasonal items year around!
Let us know your #zerowastelifestyle hacks for preserving food for as long as possible!
Keeping Mealtime Messes to a Minimum 0
Let's face it, life can messy, especially when you have a high chair in the kitchen. Babies aren't too clean to begin with, but just give them a little food and voila! There's a whole new level of messiness achieved.
Though as parents and caretakers you have probably learned to embrace a level of chaos in your lives, we can do quite a bit to keep the clean-up post-meals as quick and simple as possible. It's as easy as investing in a few kitchen staples that you will end up using on a daily basis, we promise!
Put a bib on it!
Bibs are essential for keeping those little outfits clean. Even if you're in favour of stripping your baby down to the diaper for mealtimes, bibs protect his or her delicate skin from harm, whether strange reactions to certain spices or to heat. While a traditional bib might be enough for when the infant is still eating from a pouch or a spoon, we love this one from Bummis for some more coverage. It protects the sleeves that end up getting pulled through the high chair tray or plate while grabbing that little morsel of food with those tiny fingers!
Stop the Fling Thing
Kids love pushing, pulling, and throwing. It's all about discovering their new abilities! However, mealtime is not a great time to celebrate these skills, especially from the caretakers' point of view. EzPz Fun has come out with great bowls and plates that stick to surfaces like tables to avoid the inevitable pushing off onto the ground. They come in a variety of sizes and colours, so it's all about what fits your needs and style.
A full Pouch Keeps the Grouch at Bay
Food pouches are a staple for babies getting their first forays into the world of solid foods and also a great way to transport healthy snacks like vegetable purees and fruit sauces for older kids. However, rather than buying the disposable versions at the supermarket which are often filled with preservatives anyway, make your own meals at home and simply put them into reusuable pouches like these by Roost or Little Green Pouch! It's the healthier and more eco-friendly option!
Spill-Proof Snacks to Go
Everyone who has had contact with kids knows that snacks are the key to happy kids. They can tide over "hangry" toddlers, soothe teething babies, or even just keep kids busy when you're out and about getting things done. To keep the happiness levels at a high and the mess levels at a low, we recommend the Munchie Mug, a spill-proof snacking mug that gives easy access to those little fingers without the risk of spilling the contents all over the backseat of the car, the playmat at home, or the waiting room at the doctor's office.
Squeeze-proof Juice Boxes
Juice boxes are a great idea in theory. They give you an opportunity to take a yummy beverage with you and your little one, no matter where you are. But the setbacks often outweigh the positives. Apart from the lack of options of what is actually contained within these juice boxes or pouches, often sugary drinks, the "squeeze and spill" phenomenon is definitely a real thing. The "Drink in a Box" seems to have fixed both of these problems by allowing you to fill the plastic container with whatever you want and avoiding the potential spilling due to the rigid nature of the box.
What do you use to keep mealtimes as pleasant and clean as possible? Let us know in the comments!