You’ve made your list, scoured the shops and lugged your groceries back home. You’re ready for a cuppa and actively willing the ice cream that you just bought to find its own way to the freezer. But spending just two more minutes with your shopping can extend its shelf life by days. Really, what’s the point in schlepping to the shops for something that just going to end up on the bin? 

Go on make its shelf life complete. Use these tips as you pack away and make the most of your groceries.

Tip 1
Use your loaf
Bread is one of the most commonly wasted foods in our homes. 

If you’re in any doubt about whether you can reach its end before it starts to stale, then chop and freeze. Cut into chunks large enough to cover 2 days, wrap tightly in an airtight old plastic bag and freeze. Top trick for toast!

Some crazy straight-haired people don’t like the ends of bread… until  it’s transformed into a boozy bread and butter pudding, that is. Tuck the crusts in the freezer and they’ll soon add up to something sweet.

Tip 2
Shh, keep your potatoes in the dark
Store potatoes in a reasonably cool, dark, well ventilated place. Temperatures below 9c cause the potato’s starch to convert to sugar, causing discolouration and a sweet taste when cooked.

Keeping potatoes in the dark will leave them with little desire to sprout. You can also store them with apples. See you lata potata.

Tip 3
Keep your fresh herbs on a high
Herbs have a range of storage demands, once you know their different stokes you’ll be basking in a heavenly herbal scent for weeks.

Soft leaved herbs: e.g. basil, parsley, coriander and mint
Place in a jam jar with a couple of inches of water. Store at room temperature (storing them in the fridge will cause them to wilt or turn black)! The herbs should last for up to a week.

Hard leaved herbs: E.g. rosemary, chives, and thyme
Wrap these lovelies in damp paper towel and place them in a pierced plastic bag in the fridge. They should see it through a good week or two.

Can’t find a use for them this week? We’re not dry on ideas.

Drying Herbs:
To hang dry herbs, very gently wash them with cool water. Pull them into a mini bouquet and tie with string. Hang upside down in a well ventilated, dark and reasonably warm space. Your herbs should dry within a fortnight. 

Flat dry herbs:
Remove the leaves from the stem and lay flat on some grease proof paper to let dry. Be sure to flip them during the first few days and the leaves should dry in about a week.
In both cases, be sure to keep out of the sunlight as it leads to a loss in flavour and colour.

Tip 4
Let your cheese breathe
Wrap it right...
There are a few essential reasons to avoid tight plastic wrap. First, any kind of tight wrapping will promote the growth of bacteria, including those not native to the cheese. Chemicals such as ammonia that naturally exude from cheese won’t  be able to escape. Finally, being mostly oil and fat, cheese loves to absorb flavours and chemicals from the plastic, bringing a whole new meaning to plastic cheese.

Opt for greaseproof or waxed paper.
Wrap your cheese loosely in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic bag that's not fully sealed, therefore leaving a wee bit of space for ammonia to escape…

….or just smother it in butter!
Get your cheese and butter acquainted pre sandwich.
Nobody likes dry crumbly cheese ends, unless they’re been smuggled into the melting pot. Rubbing a little butter on exposed edges of cheese will stop it drying out. 

Tip 5
We’re bananas for this bunch of tips
Keep bananas away from fruits that emit ethylene gas such as apples, pears and tomatoes.

Keep your bananas in a cool and airy space. Separate them from one another if you’re really keen.

Put the bananas in the fridge. They will last for a couple weeks although they will probably turn black, but this doesn’t mean that they’re off. The blackness occurs because the cold makes the cell walls break down prematurely, which allows the production of melanin, turning bananas black. Ironically, the inside of the banana might not be ripe since the cold inhibits the ripening process of the actual fruit!

Tip 6
It’s mushroomier in a paper bag
Store your mushrooms in a paper bag or open bowl in a cool dry place rather that a plastic bag. A plastic bag will trap moisture and cause them to mildew - i.e. get their slime on.

Tip 7
Make your salad days last longer
How do you avoid a salad slush pool in the bottom of your fridge? Lettuce suggest that you wash it, spin it and house it there sprinkled across a tea towel.

If you’ve got bagged salad, you should do the same, don’t leave it there to decompose upon itself in the plastic.

Tip 8
Store tomatoes with thought
‘Store tomatoes at room temperature, not in the fridge.’ There’s a rumour going around that holds this to be gospel. The reasoning? Low temperatures can degrade some of a tomato's aroma molecules, and also its texture. But wait, this doesn’t mean that the outside world is safe. If your kitchen is toasty your tomato’s going to be convinced that it’s still in the greenhouse and continue to hurtle towards ripeness. If you want the ins and outs of this debate turn a beady eye this way. If you’ve got better things to do than plot the micro climates of your kitchens we suggest you find a cool airy space, with a relatively stable temperature, abandon them there and continue with your day. 

Tip 9
Don’t fall flat of using up fizzy drinks
We’ve all tipped flat post party pop down the sink. It’s time to stop letting our hungover selves be so fatalistic. 

Coke: ham boiled in coke is fantastic, do not knock it until you’ve tried it. Nigella’s trusty recipe is fail safe. 

Rachel Kelly’s poured her heart into this list of 20 more options, featuring all the party staples such as Dr Pepper, lemonade and good old Tizer!

Tip 10
Here’s a grape idea
Here at Hubbub we like cold wine, but often get funny looks when we go dropping ice cubes in at the bar. Until we learnt this trick that is. 

Freeze the last handful of wrinkly grapes and pull em out when your wine’s a little warm. Cooling without diluting. Or just drink faster. Either way.

Bonus tip: Legs 11
Run a tight ship with your onions
OK so we totally hijacked this tip from Buzz Feed and we’ll still two months into testing this one, but the very idea has tickled us.

Put onions in “pantyhose” (aka tights) and tie knots between each onion. Plus it makes a freaky wall art installation! (Says Buzz Feed).



Feature image: Chiot's Run
Bread: surlygirl
Cheese: Graeme Maclean
Lemonade: Grant Frederiksen