Hema Anand tells you how to stock up on supplies the right way

food

As we all are going through these trying times, life has drastically changed. It is the new norm to try and stay at home as much as possible and not step out now and then. In such a scenario, most of us like to buy our essentials like groceries, fruits and veggies at one time in bulk to avoid going out frequently. But then it is also important to store the supplies well so that we can make the best use of them and not end up wasting them if they are spoilt. Here are a few tips which will help store your supplies well so that you can make the best use of them.

Storing green leafy vegetables like coriander leaves, fenugreek leaves, spinach and spring onions is always a challenge for most of us as they tend to get spoilt very fast. But with little care, they will surely remain fresh for long. Always clean the greens well by removing the roots and any dead or yellow leaves. Then cut them finely and let them air for some time on a clean kitchen towel so that all the moisture evaporates. Then place them in an airtight container lined with tissue paper or newspaper on the base. Also, put the tissue or newspaper over the greens. Close the container and store in the refrigerator. The tissue should be changed every 2-3 days if it becomes wet.

When we buy tomatoes in bulk, after few days, they start becoming soft and may get rotten. To prevent this, grind them into a puree and put it into an ice tray and freeze it. When frozen, remove the tomato cubes and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. This is also a very time-saving method of storing tomatoes as one can just take out the required number of cubes and add then to the gravies while cooking.

To store limes for a longer time, wrap each lime in a piece of tissue or newspaper and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Another way of preserving lemons is to squeeze out their juice, strain it to remove all the seeds and then put the juice in an ice tray. When frozen, remove the cubes and store them in a zip lock bag or an airtight container in the freezer. Use these cubes as and when needed.

Vegetables like carrots, beans, cluster beans, brinjals, bottle gourds etc should be stored in paper bags or netted fridge bags in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Avoid storing them in plastic bags as they tend to get spoilt more quickly due to the moisture. Alternatively, one can wash and cut vegetables like carrots, beans, cluster beans etc and store them in zip lock bags in the freezer. Shelled green peas are best stored in airtight containers in the freezer. Fresh coconut can also be stored for a very long time if it is cut into pieces and put into a zip lock bag and stored in the freezer. Onions and potatoes should be stored separately in a well-ventilated stand in a cool dry place in the kitchen. One can also clean and chop the onions and saute them and store these sautéed onions in an airtight container in the freezer. Mushrooms can be stored for longer if you place them in a paper bag in the refrigerator.  

Bananas tend to ripen and become black very quickly. To increase their shelf life, separate each banana from the bunch and cover the stack of each banana with a piece of cling wrap and place them in a basket.  

To prevent semolina from getting spoilt, dry roast it in a thick bottomed pan on a low flame till it becomes crisp and light. Let it cool completely and store it in an airtight container.

Coriander seeds should also be dry roasted in a thick bottomed pan, on a low flame till they become light brownish and give an aroma.

When we store green mint chutney, it tends to lose its bright green colour and becomes black. To preserve its freshness for a longer time, put the ground chutney in small containers and store them in the freezer. Remove individual containers as and when needed some time before use. The same method can be used to store homemade hummus. One can make it in larger quantities and store the extra In separate small containers in the freezer. These can be removed sometime before use as and when required.    

Always check the manufacturing and expiry dates of the products when purchasing them so that you get longer shelf life for your groceries. Plan your meals according to the available groceries at home so that all the stock is used and there is no wastage.