With the cost of living being relatively high in New Zealand, and food accounting for a large proportion of many household’s weekly budgets, you’d be surprised by how much of that food ends up being thrown away. According to Love Food Hate Waste, New Zealanders are throwing away 112,547 tonnes of food each year and wasting this food costs the average household $563 a year.
There are two main reasons why we throw away food – we don’t eat our leftovers and some foods go bad because we don’t take the time to store them properly. Naturally fresh produce such as fruit, veggies, bread and meats make up a high proportion of wasted food.
There are plenty of things you can do to avoid this waste, including only buying what you need, using a meal planner and being inventive with left-overs, but learning how to make produce last longer in the fridge is also a really smart way to make sure your groceries don’t find their way to the bin before they have even hit the plate.
- FRESH HERBS: Fresh herbs are very expensive and incredibly delicate. But if you store them like flowers (in a jar with water), cover with plastic and then refrigerate, you’ll be amazed at just how long you can make them last. You can even store asparagus with this method.
- LETTUCE: To prolong the life of your lettuce in the fridge, pop the leaves in a bowl and slide a piece of paper towel in before covering in plastic wrap. The paper towel absorbs the moisture and will keep lettuce fresh all week long.
- CELERY & BROCCOLI: You can keep celery and broccoli fresh for up to four weeks in the fridge if you wrap them in tin foil.
- BERRIES: Fresh berries are another expensive item that seems to spoil quickly. The trick to keeping them fresh is to store them in a single layer, so the juice doesn’t leak out onto the berries below and cause them to ferment and grow mould.
- MUSHROOMS: Mushrooms do their best work in a paper bag (whether in the fridge or in a cool dry place). Storing them in as plastic bag traps moisture and encourages mildew to grow.
- MILK: Keep your milk and other perishable dairy items on the top shelf of the fridge. The door might seem more convenient but because the fridge-door is constantly being opened and closed, the temperature is less stable in this area.
- FREEZING: Store frozen food in plastic bags and label them with date and name. It’s also a great idea to freeze leftover food to avoid wastage.
- PLANNING: plans meals and buy your ingredients accordingly. By planning before the week begins, you can purchase and plan meals to avoid food wastage.
- STORAGE: Go old school and invest in some mason jars – after all, there’s a good reason they are used for preserving! Produce will keep for many days longer in a jar than it does in a plastic container.
- CLEANING: Make sure you clean and disinfect your fridge on a regular basis. Mouldy old food lurking around the corners of your fridge just can’t wait to infect your lovely fresh produce.
- TEMPERATURE: Last of all, make sure you keep an eye on the temperature of your fridge. It should be set at 5-degrees Celsius or below to avoid harmful bacteria.
Less waste with Panasonic
Panasonic’s Refrigerator range is packed with the latest technologies and innovations to keep your produce fresher, for longer.
From the moment fruit and vegetables are harvested, they start to lose their nutritional value and freshness. This is why Panasonic has developed Vitaminsafe technology. Flashing blue and green LED lights promote photosynthesis in fruit and vegetables, essentially mimicking the sun. This process is so effective that Vitamin C content is more than 1.5 times higher when using Vitaminsafe. What’s more Panasonic’s large, airtight Vitaminsafe crisper is optimised to a high humidity level to ensure your fruit and veggies stay garden-fresh.
Panasonic’s refrigerators are also equipped with a powerful AG clean silver-coated filter with antibacterial properties which cleans circulated air and deactivates mould. Meanwhile, an active enzyme helps to keep the interior of the fridges smelling lovely by combating strong odours.
Panasonic has also developed technology to help you utilise your freezer! Their new Prime Fresh Case, available on Panasonic’s 2016 Refrigerator range, freezes fresh meat and seafood to approximately -3˚C, compared to standard refrigerators which freeze foods at -18˚C. Since food is only lightly frozen, it extends the life of fresh meat and seafood, whilst maintaining nutrients, flavour and texture, and no defrosting is required.
View Panasonic’s range of Refrigerators HERE.