One of the actions that can contribute the most to the fight against climate change is to avoid wasting food from proper storage .
LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero
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Food waste generates 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, which are extremely harmful to the climatic and environmental well-being of our planet. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 17% of our food ends up being wasted in retail sales and to consumers . That is, this waste is carried out in our homes. Likewise, the FAO estimates that this lost food could feed 1,260 million people who suffer from hunger and nutrition problems.
This panorama, in addition to showing us the great social differences regarding food, lets us see that, to a large extent, there is an individual responsibility that must be taken into account to make changes in favor of environmental well-being. Here are some tips on food storage to avoid waste.
The secret is in planning
Knowing how to store your food will help you not waste it and use it in the most efficient way. But in order to do so, it is essential that you make a clear plan of the foods that you will consume over a certain period of time. To do this, you can make a weekly or fortnightly menu in which you define not only the dishes that will be prepared at each meal, but also the portions . In this way, when going to the supermarket you will not buy more and you will be helping the environment at the same time that you save money.
Likewise, it is important that before going out to do the shopping, you check your pantry and fridge to verify what food you already have. A very useful tip is to have a special shelf to leave food that is soon to expire or that is already ripe.
How to store fruits and vegetables?
As they do not have a long shelf life, it is necessary that, by the time they arrive at your home, you distribute the fruits and vegetables correctly to make the most of them.
Fruits and vegetables are often accompanied by chemicals and contaminants that can put your health at risk. Therefore, it is recommended that the first thing to do is wash them . To do this, be sure to use a fruit and vegetable disinfectant. If you want to opt for a more natural cleaning, you can make a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, lemon and water. Use three parts of water for 1 of vinegar and lemon. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda if you want the effect to be faster. Likewise, it is very important that you dry all the products very well, since the humidity could accelerate the decomposition of certain foods.
Store fruits such as apples, melons, pears and berries in the least cold part of the fridge. For red fruits such as strawberries, blueberries or blackberries, it is recommended that they be stored in bags with holes. If you have cut fruits, be sure to seal them in airtight containers and consume them no later than 3-5 days. Pre-cut all the fruit you use for smoothies or juices and keep it frozen.
Not all fruits should be stored in the fridge. Keep mangoes, tangerines, lemons, avocados and bananas at room temperature. However, we recommend that you leave bananas aside, as they release a gas called ethylene that accelerates the ripening of other fruits and vegetables. This can be useful if you need an unripened food to be ready for consumption.
For vegetables and herbs you need to dry them very well. Once there is no trace of moisture, wrap it in cloth or paper towels and store in an airtight container. This will keep them fresh.
Store carrots and bell peppers in plastic bags. Make sure they are dry and that, for the carrot, the bag has holes in it.
Unripened tomatoes can be at room temperature , but once they are in their ripe stage, it is recommended that you store them in the fridge so that they can last between 3 and 4 more days.
How to store meat and fish?
For this type of food, the most important thing is to avoid defrosting and freezing it over and over again, since this can accelerate its decomposition.
Once they arrive at your house, separate the portions to only defrost what is going to be used each time you go to cook.
Do not thaw out of the fridge the same day. Take the portion out of the freezer the night before and place it in the least cold part of the fridge.
Store meat and fish in plastic bags and well frozen , they can have a useful life of up to 3 months.
How to store pantry food?
For bread, avoid damp places and store it in tightly sealed paper bags or paper towels. If you want it to last much longer, you can cut slices and seal them in an airtight container in the freezer.
Always check the expiration dates on any pantry food and make sure to consume it before this one.
For canned foods, avoid opening and storing them in the same cans they come in. Due to their material, they oxidize and the components that they release can be dangerous to health. For this reason, we recommend removing them from the can and sealing them in airtight containers once they have been opened.
Encourage yourself to follow these tips and remember that all collective action in favor of the environment begins with individual actions.