Of all the food produced globally, approximately a third of it goes to waste. This translates to about $680 billion in first world countries and $310 million in developing nations. One of the primary reasons for food wastage is a compromise in its quality.
Temperature rise is one of the factors that are significantly contributing to food wastage. The current climate changes have created a favorable environment for food rot. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to preserve your food and save it for future use as part of sustainable living.
Avoid the Danger Zone
Most foods are safe below 40°F or above 140°F. Anything else between this range is known as the danger zone where bacteria multiply rapidly reaching harmful levels. One single bacterium can produce 17 million offspring in 12 hours.
Meat and poultry are especially susceptible to this bacteria multiplication. As such, always ensure that you cook them thoroughly to destroy all bacteria. Once cooked, store them in temperatures that are either too hot or too cold to prevent bacteria growth.
If food is left in the danger zone for up to two hours, it should be reheated and consumed or refrigerated. If left for between two and four hours, it should be consumed immediately. Any food that has been standing in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours should be disposed of.
Food wastage can be prevented right from the farm. If you’re a farmer or have a small portion where you grow your own food, you need some food growing tips. Always pay attention to the effects of weather on your crops.
How you plant your crops is a contributing factor. Do the seeds go deep enough into the soil and are they protected from the elements of the weather? Not digging deep enough into the ground exposes them to high temperatures and insufficient nutrients.
During harvest time, ensure you use improved harvesting processes to reduce the time your crops are exposed to high temperatures. With the rapid advances in agriculture today, you can invest in the latest harvesting equipment like hoss garden seeders that are going to make your job a lot easier! You can learn more about hoss seeders directly from Easy Digging experts.
This especially applies to fruits like fresh berries. Swishing them in a vinegar solution extends their lifestyle by up to two weeks. The procedure helps to get rid of harmful bacteria that live on the surface of the fruits.
For the best results, mix one part of vinegar with ten parts of water. Swirl the berries around in the solution, drain, rinse, and safely put them away in the fridge.
As for your salad leaves, consider giving them an ice-cold bath before storing them. If they’re wilting, swashing them in a bowl of icy water will provide them with a new lease of life.
Make Foil Your Friend
If you want your celery to last longer, wrap the stalks tightly in foil before putting them in the fridge. This will extend their life for up to 4 weeks. The foil does a near-perfect job of keeping oxygen away while holding moisture in the stalks.
However, avoid using foil for acidic foods like tomatoes as they can react with the metal. Besides, it’s not recommended to use foil to store leftovers.
Food wastage is costly to the world, yet it can be prevented. Food that goes bad due to high temperatures can be preserved to keep it fresher for longer. Avoiding the danger zone, especially for cooked foods, is one way to go about it.
Food preservation can also be done right from the farms. Make use of tools and equipment that will reduce exposure of your crops to harmful weather conditions.