Along with your New Year resolutions to eat less cake and drink more water, think about implementing these easy tips for a more streamlined kitchen.
• Get a permanent marker and a range of zip lock freezer bags. Whatever you won’t eat in the next couple of days, bag, label (with date and contents) and freeze, for ready made suppers another day.
• Freeze food flat in a bag and it will defrost much faster, enabling you to decide what you’re having on a whim, rather than defrosting for hours in advance. Cooked grains such as rice, quinoa or buckwheat, can be smoothed flat in a bag and stacked up in the freezer neatly, for maximum space efficiency. Cooked shredded meat is also great frozen this way.
• Invest in some stackable storage containers for your kitchen. Measure the heights of your fridge shelves and make sure that the containers make the best use of the available space. Have some shallow for small bits and some deeper for larger amounts. Square sided are the best and you can choose from plastic, glass or stainless steel according to your budget.
• Fridges dry food out and this causes leaves to wilt and carrots to bend. Pop a piece of damp kitchen paper in the bottom of a container, lay in your leaves, herbs, or veg and cover with another piece of damp paper and then the lid or cling film – this will prolong the life of your veg by at least a few days. If the paper dries out, moisten it again.
• Use a liquid chalk pen to write on containers of food (not freezer bags) so that you instantly know what is in them when you go to the fridge or cupboard. You can also temporarily write your name on a drinking glass to avoid confusion at parties, or delight small children – it washes straight off when you’re finished.
• You’ve probably heard the tip about shopping the perimeter of the supermarket? It tends to be where all the produce is located, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and bread. If you venture too far into the centre, you are likely to be seduced by shiny things in packets that aren’t very nutritious! Take this approach to your kitchen and try to keep the shiny packets to a minimum. If you know you shouldn’t eat it, don’t have it in your kitchen cupboard tempting you of an evening. Identify something treaty that you feel good about, such as dark chocolate or Greek yogurt and have this handy for moments of need.
Naomi's new book, River Cottage Gluten Free, is out on 14 January 2016. Order now >