Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mom's Tips For Storing Perishable and Non-Perishable Items

Managing the house especially the kitchen within the constraint of budget and making sure everything is available at the time if need is an art by itself.   
Many ingredients required in the kitchen either are not available throughout the year or if they are available, are very expensive in the market.
A person who wants to run house most effectively always  prefer purchasing perishable or non-perishable items in bulk and then preserving them for posterity. The question a bewildered house wife asks even after cleaned and drying the vegetables and fruits and keeping in fridge they perish and do not last long?  How do I make them last long when I purchase them in bulk thus save some money and hassle of going shopping daily?
Purchasing groceries in harvest season or when they are less expensive in market and preserving them saves lots of money and everything is within the reach as and when required,  even when they are unavailable in the market.
Storing cereal, grains and fresh items like vegetables and fruits properly save them from perishing for a long time.
I wish to share with all of you,few tips from my 33 years’ experimentation and experience of running the house within the constrains of budget, with the hope that it will answer some questions of a  house wife
Grains and Cereals:
  • Nature has bestowed us with variety of herbs, shrubs and trees having medicinal value we just have to make good use of them and create awareness about them.Dry items like cereal and pulses can be preserved and stored using neem leaves
  • Green Peas are used in cooking many dishes be it Indian or of any part of the world, But fresh peas are not available throughout the year. Marketed green peas are expensive and also one is not sure of the chemicals and colors used to preserve them and make them look green. Thus it is advisable to purchase fresh green peas when they are cheap and preserve them at home ensuring you and your family food free of harmful chemicals.

Lemons and sweet lemons:
  • Purchase lemons and preserve them in fridge for as long as you want without any labor and enjoy fresh lemon throughout the year at a low cost.
  • Sweet lime can also be stored without perishing for as long as one wants in freezer.

  • If beans perish very fast in the fridge; it is not your fault. Beans are fleshy vegetables and the moisture causes them to rot.
  •  While storing beans in the fridge make sure they are not having water on their surface and are have nice dry surface.
  • Wrap beans in a newspaper and then pack in a plastic bag / zip pouch/ cloth bag and keep in the fridge. Beans stored like this last for 10-12 days.
  • Pumpkin is one of the most perishable items. The biggest mistake made while storing pumpkin in the fridge is that we do not remove the central fleshy part which has seeds. While storing pumpkin remove the seeds and the fibrous fleshy part holding seeds wrap in a newspaper and store without it perishing for 10-15 days in the fridge.
  • While Purchasing tomatoes in bulk, but make sure all are not red. Purchase some absolute red for immediate use, some red and green, some more green than red.
  • Use red ones and allow others to ripen slowly at room temperature.
  • Purchase red ripe tomatoes when cheap in market and make puree by boiling and then blending them to fine paste. Freeze the puree as ice cubes. Use frozen puree as and when required, save money and time both without using chemical preservative.
Leafy Vegetables: 
  • Leafy vegetables like Methi (Fenugreek), Palak (Spinach), Dhania (Coriander leaves), Pudina (Mint leaves) etc. can be kept for as long as 10 days also fresh in fridge.
  • Make sure they are dry. If they have soil and water on them when you purchase then wash them to get rid of soil and then dry them with the help of a cloth /towel.
  • Spread the dried leafy vegetable on a paper for 10-15 minutes to make sure all surface water is evaporated.
  • Wrap in a newspaper and pack in a plastic bag / zip pouch /cloth bag.
  •  Methi if stored slightly wet also rots fast and leaves very disagreeable odor.
Ginger and Garlic: 
  • Ginger and garlic can be made to paste together or individually and stored for a very long time.
  • Ginger is required not only as a paste but also in grated or small pieces form. Thus to make sure that ginger is available to us always preserve it and store it. Storing ginger like this remains good and fresh for as long as 2-3 months.

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