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9 storage tips to help prevent food waste in your kitchen

Our friends at OLIO know a thing or two about our hard-to-shake food waste habits. Their revolutionary app aims to end unnecessary food waste by encouraging everyone to exchange their edible surplus food. It’s like Tinder for food that’s nearing its sell-by date, spare vegetables from an allotment, cupcakes from a local baker, or the leftovers in your fridge when you go away. 

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Tessa Cook, above, co-founded OLIO together with Saasha Celestial-One. Photograph by Annabel Staff.

Mission-driven food sharing revolutionary and co-founder of OLIO Tessa Cook has come up with some killer tips that will make you think again about throwing away your leftovers.

1. Spoilage alert

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First, keep your fridge temperature below 5°C. 70% of our fridges are too warm, signalling a premature end for the contents inside. If the fridge is just a few degrees too warm, items like milk will spoil more quickly.

2. The Fresh Herbs of Bel Air (or wherever you live)

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Herbs fall into two categories - soft and woody - so they need be stored in different ways. Treat soft herbs like a bouquet of flowers: snip off the the ends and place in water. This will keep them fresher and make your kitchen look nicer. For hard herbs with woody stems like rosemary or thyme, wrap them in a damp paper towel, put in a plastic container and place in the fridge. The towel will absorb the moisture so they don’t wilt too quickly. Still have a few leftover? Pop a few woody herbs in an ice cube tray with oil and freeze and use to inject flavour in dishes at a later date.

3. Sandy tips

Storing your root veggies in slightly damp sand can extend their shelf life for several months.

4. Order! Order! 

A major reason why waste occurs in our homes is due to a lack of organisation in our kitchens - a clean, well-organised fridge will keep the rot at bay.

5. Use your loaf

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Did you know, the UK throws away the equivalent of 24 million slices of bread every year? Much of this is probably due to our shoddy storage habits! Never refrigerate bread, as doing this actually accelerates the staling process. Put it on the counter, or even better, in the freezer, where it can last for months.

6. Banana split

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All the single nana’s, all the single nana’s. If you separate bananas from their bunch, they ripen at a slower pace, making them last longer. Keep them in a separate bowl to other fruit too.

7. Absolutely a-Mason

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These airtight glass jars are perfect preservers, extending the freshness of everything from lettuce leaves, berries, jams and store cupboard essentials. What’s more they’re clear, so you can see what’s going on, rather than what’s inside being out of sight and out of mind.

8. Are you afraid of the dark?

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Potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and onions aren’t - they love it. Ensure you store your root veggies in the cool gloom.

9. Love your freezer

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Remember, with the exception of soft cheese, pretty much anything can be frozen, so why not show your freezer some love. And if you run out of freezer space, why not share on OLIO :)

OLIO is a free app which connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.

If you love food, hate waste and want to connect with your community, OLIO is for you. Download now on App Store and Google Play.