Plastic Free Forever!

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Blog by Megan from Too Tasty to Throw

Did you know the average family wastes 40kg of plastic per year? It has been great recently that there has been a ban on plastic bags announced for NSW, but that is only part of the issue. This ban doesn’t extend store wide and there is still a lot of plastic for us to focus on. Why do we need to buy our onions pre chopped and in plastic wrap, our butternut squash quartered or cubed and again in plastic wrap, or even loose fruit and vegetables to be hand picked by ourselves and placed in plastic bags?

This week, we are celebrating the end of a successful ‘Plastic Free July’ for many, as well as our finding the group ‘one million women’, whose mission it is to get one million women together to fight climate change, by encouraging you to not be scared of buying your fruit and veg pre-cut or loose, without plastic. One million women have come up with the below list to help you buy and store your fruit and vegetables without the need for plastic wrap. Check out the list below to find your favourite fruit and vegetables, with ideas of how to store without the need for plastic.

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Also, given it isn’t a blog without a recipe, check out my recipe below to make your own beeswax wraps to use instead of cling film. They are perfect to reuse for up to a year and a great way of cutting down on your plastic waste. Enjoy!

Beeswax Wraps Recipe

Ingredients:

  1. Thin cloth or muslin cut in required dimensions for your wraps
  2. Beeswax
  3. Baking Tray
  4. Paint brush

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. If you have a bar of beeswax, grate it. You will need approximately 2 tablespoons of grated wax per 12″ square of fabric. If you have wax pellets, you can skip this step.
  3. Put the cloth on the baking sheet and top with the wax.
  4. Put in oven to melt the wax (takes approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Spread the wax over the cloth with the paintbrush and hang the cloth to dry.

The wrap is now ready to use. Clean it in cold water as hot water will melt the wax. You can use for up to a year and then simply re-melt the wax to make another one. A great environmentally friendly alternative for wrapping your fruit and veg, sandwiches, cheese etc.

 

Fruit and veg storage tips without plastic

VEGETABLES

Artichokes ‐ place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.

Asparagus ‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. (Will keep for a week outside the fridge).

Avocados ‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in the bag with them.

Basil ‐ is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. Try an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.

Beetroot ‐ Cut the tops off to keep beetroot firm, (be sure to keep the greens!) by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.

Beet greens ‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.

Broccoli ‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.

Brussels Sprouts‐ If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place. If they’re bought loose store them in an open container with a damp towel on top.

Cabbage ‐ left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to loose its moisture after a week , so, best used as soon as possible.

Carrots ‐ cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long.

Cauliflower ‐ will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.

Celery ‐ does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter.

Corn ‐ leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best eaten sooner then later for maximum flavor.

Cucumber ‐ wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room.

Eggplant ‐ does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it, eggplant doesn’t like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage‐ place loose, in the crisper.

Fennel ‐ if used within a couple days after it’s bought fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.

Garlic ‐ store in a cool, dark, place.

Green garlic ‐an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two is fine, best before dried out.

Greens‐ remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an air‐tight container with a damp cloth‐ to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.

Green beans ‐ they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.

Herbs – a closed container in the fridge to kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.

Lettuce ‐ keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.

Leeks ‐leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).

Onion ‐ store in a cool, dark and dry, place‐ good air circulation is best, so don’t stack them.

Parsnips ‐an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrapped in a damp cloth in the fridge.

Potatoes ‐ (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.

Radishes ‐ remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in a open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.

Rhubarb ‐wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.

Spinach‐ store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to stay cold.

Spring onions ‐ Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.

Sweet Potatoes ‐ Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.

Tomatoes ‐ Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.

Turnips‐ remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.

Zucchini‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.

FRUIT

Apples ‐ store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage in a cardboard box in the fridge.

Citrus ‐ store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container.

Apricots ‐ on a cool counter to room temperature or fridge if fully ripe

Cherries‐ store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, any added moisture encourages mould.

Berries – Don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.

Dates ‐ dryer dates are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in. Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag‐ as long as it’s porous to keeping the moisture away from the skin of the dates.

Figs ‐ Don’t like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week un‐stacked.

Melons ‐ uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge, an open container is fine.

Nectarines ‐ (similar to apricots) store in the fridge is okay if ripe, but best taken out a day or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.

Peaches (and most stone fruit)‐ refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen on the counter.

Pears ‐ will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them.

Pomegranates ‐ keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.

Strawberries ‐ Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.

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