Part of eating and cooking responsibly involves storing responsibly, too. Ann-Kristin Afflerbach reminds us that there are some great, reusable alternatives to tin foil and plastic wrap, and that we probably already have them at home. Next time you order take away or use up food products like spreadable butter and hummus, think about keeping those containers to reuse!
I recently started planning my meals for a few days out, so I buy ingredients that I can use for more than just one recipe, but this also means that I have to store these ingredients and keep them fresh. Dry ingredients are not so hard to store, as you just put them in the cabinet and that works fine. But produce, dairy products, and the like are harder to keep fresh.
Tin foil or cling film are the go-to way to keep things fresh for most of us. Lately, I've tried to be more environmentally conscious and therefore I want to reduce my use of cling film and especially tin foil! Here are my top tips to keep your ingredients fresh and stored in an eco-friendly way.
The easiest way to incorporate less tin foil and cling film is to use reusable plastic containers. You will probably have some lying around in your kitchen and it is worth searching for the right lid in the depths of your drawers. They are perfect for storing your leftovers in the fridge, but also for cheese or cold cuts. Most plastic containers can be cleaned in the dishwasher and often they can be stacked as well! This also helps you organize your fridge which is always good.
Some people prefer glass containers over plastic containers as they have all the benefits of plastic containers plus the advantage of not absorbing the smell of the products stored inside. This is especially great when you want to store cheese or the like. Glass containers can be a bit more expensive than plastic containers, but they are maybe worth the investment for those one or two smelly ingredients !
Sometimes sturdy containers are not practical. The ingredients might have a weird shape and not fit in any of the containers available to you, or the containers might be too big and take up too much space in your fridge. In that case, a simple tea towel is perfect. Salads, herbs and vegetables are excellent candidates for being wrapped in tea towels, but it works just as well for fruit. And chances are that you already have several tea towels lying around, so no need to buy anything new.
There are also relatively new wrapping options made with textiles and beeswax to seal your food airtight. They often have some antibacterial properties as well to help keep fresh your produce or any other food you want to wrap. These options are reusable as well (and hopefully investing money in them will encourage you to actually use them in place of tin foil or cling film!).
Lastly, some food does not need wrapping at all. A cucumber or zucchini cut in half will be just fine the way it is in the fridge. If you do not like the cut surface drying out, you can choose any of the options above. All these options of wrapping food come in handy when preparing lunchboxes for the next day or maybe a picnic as they are all great on the go. Just take a reusable water bottle with you, and you’re set!