With the massive drop in the petrol price at the beginning of January, consumers were hoping that this change will be reflected in food prices that soared to unprecedented heights in the past few years. Unfortunately economists are saying it’s unlikely that consumers will experience relief at the supermarket tills.
In 2015, households will still have to find ways in which to save money on their grocery bills. Many are recommending that families grow their own produce, a plan that definitely has the backing of the Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development. MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane not only has his own thriving vegetable garden, but is also handing out plants and seedlings to people on the street.
The average South African can also make their money last longer by not wasting food. Food that is allowed to spoil, is money down the drain. One way to keep this from happening is to do smaller, more regular shops, instead of a big monthly shop.
The other method is to store food properly, in such a way that will keep produce fresher for longer.
Everything in its place
Real Simple magazine uses an easy-to-follow illustration to show where food items should go in a fridge. It includes all the regular family staples like milk, yogurt, condiments and soft cheeses. Some items need to be kept colder than others, which is the reason behind where each food item is recommended to go in the fridge.
Naturally food will still eventually go off, but how do you know for sure how long fresh produce can be kept in the fridge or freezer? That is where StillTasty comes in. This websites sells itself as the “Ultimate Shelf Life Guide” and when you look at the extensive list of food on their list, it is easy to believe that statement. You’ll find shelf-life information for fruits, vegetables, diary, meet, fish, herbs and spices, and lots more.
And then the power goes out…
A discussion on keeping food fresh won’t be complete without talking to the effect of power cuts on produce. It’s common knowledge that Eskom is planning rolling blackouts from time to time in the near future, so how is this handled when it comes to food?
The US Food and Drug Administration recommends that you keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible during a power cut. If the doors remain shut, the refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, while a full freezer will keep its temperature for approximately 48 hours.
Once the electricity is back on, the FDA recommends that you inspect each item or package of food to check whether it is still good to use. If there are still ice crystals on the food or the fridge temperature is 4˚C or less, it is safe to refreeze or cook the food. However, any perishable items that have spent two or more hours in temperatures exceeding 4˚C, should be discarded.
Maintain the fridge
Don’t neglect to also regularly check that your fridge is still working as it should be. If you find that it cannot keep a constant temperature, you should consider finding a fridge for sale that could replace it. Food stays fresher for longer when the temperature is even, saving you those Rands you’re looking to keep in your pocket.