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REVIEW of Health 06
Waste Not, Want Not - Savings in the Kitchen Part 2

Some people don't have a freezer, or the one they do have is just a small section of the fridge. Even so, there are other ways to keep food fresh for longer. Once again, if possible go for vegies and fruit that are in season. Don't be fooled by claims that year-round availability still means fresh - chances are that a fair portion is out of cold store and taste is likely to be pretty poor. It may also have been picked slightly green, then gassed to "ripen". Classic examples are powdery apples, anaemic tomatoes that never go red, and pasty-looking bananas that taste like plastic!

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery and most fruits keep well in the fridge. Place these in a suitable plastic box, one big enough to allow individual items a little space of their own. Line the bottom with paper kitchen towel and wipe condensation from the lid once in a while. Replace the paper if it gets too damp, or when adding fresh extras. Cucumber, zucchini (aubergines) and other squash will go mouldy if they sweat, so place these in the vegetable drawer and open the vent to allow air to circulate. Cabbage and lettuce can also be kept for up to a month in the drawer. Put them in their own plastic bag and extract most of the air. When required for use, avoid cutting - simply take leaves from the outside and replace what's left in the bag.

Some don't like it cold. Pumpkin and melons, sweet potato, ordinary potatoes and onions are best kept in a cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation. Once cut, the first two will survive quite well in the vegie drawer, but not in bags - just leave the cut end exposed to seal by itself. When needed next, just slice off the dry end. Half an onion will last a week or more in a glass jar with an airtight lid. A little water in the jar will keep it fresh. Onion rings can be treated the same way; and with the lid on, they won't smell the fridge out. Other cut uncooked vegetables like potatoes, parsnip and carrots can be stored for a while in containers, but they will need to be covered with water to prevent drying. If not needed for more than a day, change the water; and they should be used sooner rather than later - not at all if they've started to grow green furry stuff!

If there is any space in the freezer section, money and time can be saved by cooking a double batch of meat, or even entire meals. Packaged, cooled and labelled these will be handy when time is short and take-out is usually the first thought. De-frosted and re-heated properly, they taste better than junk food; and because you cooked them yourself, you know what went into them. Check our individual recipe pages for ideas - we've found that most of them freeze well.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Health 06 click here

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