In these times of advanced awareness of the shortages in the world and the recent economic problems in the whole world, but especially in the wealthy Western countries, which are the powerhouses of most Third World countries' development, people are more conscious of waste. It is a sin again to throw away food, like it was 50 years ago.
This can only be a good thing although it is a disgrace that it took an international financial crisis to make us recall the lesson. These days, waste of any kind is greeted with public censure and so it is at home too. Most people spend a very high proportion of their outgoings on food and so anyone who wants to cut back, has to first look to this quarter to make a saving.
However, saving does not necessarily mean 'not buying', it can and should mean 'not throwing away'. In other words, prepare your food and do not let your food go off. Preparation and storage are the key words. With that thought in mind, here are a few of my tips for preparing and storing food properly.
Bread - tons of bread is thrown away every day, because it has gone stale or mouldy and yet it is totally unnecessary. Keep your bread in the deep freezer and not in the bread bin. A whole loaf will slice frozen with the proper knife and sliced bread will come away slice by slice. There is no requirement to defrost as it only takes a minute or two at room temperature.
Bananas - most people know that banana skins go black if kept in the fridge, but most people do not know that bananas can be frozen solid. Yes, the skins will still go black, but the fruit will be undamaged.
Cake - to stop cake from going stale, store it in a tin with an apple. The moisture in the apple will stop the cake from going hard.
Watercress - to prevent watercress from wilting, store it upside down in water, that is stalks up.
Salt - salt often gets damp, especially if stored in a steamy kitchen without sufficient ventilation, but you do not have to fret about that if you put two or three grains of rice in the salt cellar. They will soak up the moisture before the salt.
Cereal - prevent cereal from going soft by resealing the bag with a few clothes pegs. Your cereal will last weeks more.
Jam - boiling jam produces a scum which has to be skimmed off and thrown away. This wastes jam, goodness and flavour. However, if you whisk a knob of butter into the mixture at the last moment the scum will not appear, saving time and goodness.
Funnel - you always seem to need a funnel when you do not have one. Then you vow to get a funnel for the next time. Do not bother. Just cut the top nine inches off a plastic bottle of cola. It makes an ideal throw-away funnel. Some of the larger bottles even have a handle on them which is even better.
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