Best place to store milk to extend shelf life and other food hacks

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Experts at have shared their top food hacks to make your weekly shop go a little further and prolong the shelf life of your food. These tips include everything from where best to store your food to what to add to your ingredients before putting them away.

Interestingly, salt can be added to your milk once opened, according to the experts.

They said: “Depending on the type of milk you use, once opened it can last anywhere from four to ten days if kept in the fridge.

“However, you can stretch that time frame a bit further by adding a pinch of salt to the carton immediately after opening – this is because salt is a preservative and so deters bacteria from growing. But do make sure to give the carton a good shake and place it into the fridge as soon as possible.”

For best results, store your milk in the coolest part of the fridge. “It is best to avoid storing your milk in the fridge door,” the experts revealed.

“The door is in fact the warmest part of the fridge as it is furthest away from the cooling system. So, instead, keep your milk at the back of the middle or higher shelves for maximum cool to lengthen the shelf life.”

Cheese can go off quite quickly if not properly stored. It is recommended wrapping it in parchment or baking paper as this “allows the cheese to breathe to avoid drying out, but also prevents any extra moisture and therefore mould from growing”.

“Hard cheese can usually last anywhere up to four weeks when stored correctly in the fridge,” the experts added.

As well as salt, vinegar can also be added to foods to help make them last longer. A great way to disinfect fruit and vegetables is to “give them a vinegar bath”.

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“The vinegar solution should be a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water in either a bowl or your clean sink,” the experts explained.

“Empty your produce into the solution and let sit for 15 minutes. Once done you can rinse and thoroughly dry your produce before moving them into their respective storage containers.

“The vinegar solution disinfects, cleans and removes any bacteria from the produce that might break down the food quicker. The solution should not be strong enough that you can taste it on the produce afterwards and enables your veggies to last for up to two weeks.”

Berries are a fruit that can go stale fast if not eaten within a number of days. But, storing them with a paper towel can prolong their shelf life.

The experts advised: “Once dried, berries should be stored in airtight glass containers with a dry paper towel. The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture which will prevent mould from growing. Changing the paper towel every other day will allow for maximum freshness and a shelf life of up to three weeks.”

All fruit produce a certain level of a gas known as ethylene, and bananas produce a higher concentration when they are ready to ripen as this gas speeds up the ripening process. Other fruits that fall into the high ethylene producing category are – apples, peaches, pears, melons and avocado, to name a few. experts recommended “keeping the ethylene producing fruits, specifically bananas, away from your ethylene sensitive fruits”.

“This will prevent excessive exposure to the gas, allowing the fruit to ripen naturally and therefore last longer,” they explained.

“Depending on the fruit itself they can last anywhere from three to five days to a few weeks at room temperature. To slow the ripening process for bananas you can also wrap the stem in cling film or the slightly more eco friendly aluminium foil.

“Wrapping as a bunch or individually will add a day or two on to the ripening process which usually lasts between three to five days.”

As for bread – another product that can go mouldy quickly – it is worth icing it. This isn’t putting it in the freezer, but literally running an ice cube along it.

The experts said: “If you find that your bread has become stale, grab an ice cube and run it over the loaf before popping into the oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also douse the loaf in water.

“This adds moisture back into the bread and allows it to become edible once more. The bread should then be used within the day. A freshly made loaf of bread can last up to four days whereas a store bought loaf will last up to one week.”

It is, however, worth freezing nuts. The experts revealed: “Most nuts and seeds have a shelf life of three to six months. In order to extend their lifespan they are best stored in cool, dark spaces – although the back of the cupboard is suitable, storing them in the fridge can help them to stay fresher for longer.

“If you find that six months is not enough time to nibble your way through your nuts, then you’ll be pleased to hear that they can be frozen, which extends their shelf life to one year.”

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