ETX Daily Up
Wire Service
4 minute read
28 Jul 2022
2:01 pm

Daily hacks: How to use TikTok to cut down on food waste

ETX Daily Up

Setting your fridge to a specific temperature and placing food items in the 'right place' can help keep food fresh for longer.

A neatly packed fridge filled with fresh food. Picture: iStock

As much as TikTok might be full of questionable cooking tips, the Chinese social network can also be a handy source of good ideas for reducing food waste.

On this point, a multitude of videos recommend various tips on how to store food properly in the refrigerator, helping to make your food – and your budget – go further.

Store food at between 0° and 4°C

The first thing to do is to choose the right refrigerator temperature to optimize the preservation of your butter, yogurt and other fresh produce.

According to ANSES, France’s national food safety agency, a fridge should not exceed 4°C “at the coldest point.”

And it’s worth checking regularly with a thermometer if the environment is adequate for the conservation of your groceries.

This is a habit that many TikTokers have adopted, like this UK-based user who shows how the system of expiry dates can lead to massive amounts of waste.

Most members of the social network advise storing food at between 2°C and 3°C. At this level, ANSES confirms that the growth of microorganisms and bacteria like listeria or salmonella should be slowed.

On his professional website, the renowned chef Philippe Etchebest recommends placing a thermometer into a glass of water in the fridge to verify the exact figure, rather than the temperature of the ambient air. Clever!

Store food in the right place

Once you’ve set the temperature, next you need to choose the right place in the refrigerator to store your different products.

On this point, it’s hard to know where to start, because there’s so much contradictory advice! So we turned to France’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The coldest part of the fridge is at the top. However, depending on the model of refrigerator, it can be located just above the crisper drawer.

Usually, looking at the inside of the appliance will tell you what you need to know by means of a snowflake symbol or some other distinctive sign.

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That’s where you should put meat and fish. Ready-made dishes, cheese and yogurt should be placed in the middle.

Then, the trick is remembering what’s in your fridge. To help with this, an American TikToker had the good idea of taking a picture of the full fridge after all the groceries have been put away.

This will help you keep on top of what to eat during the week while avoiding you buying surplus food on your next shopping trip.

Don’t forget that you should also clean your fridge at least once a month…

@neat.caroline Here are 7 storage tips to prevent your food from going to waste! #foodtips #foodstorage #foodhacks #foodtip #foodwaste #foodwastesolution #foodwastetip #zerowaste #kitchenorganization #fyp #learnontiktok #foodhack #hometips #homeorganization ♬ original sound – Neat Caroline

Use absorbent paper towel

Paper towel is a must-have accessory to better preserve your food in the fridge.

Many TikTokers encourage their community to place a sheet of kitchen paper in the crisper drawer to absorb moisture or mold from vegetables.

They even recommend adding a sheet of paper towel to a pack of salad leaves or arugula before closing the lid, then turning the container over.

This trick supposedly helps keep the salad fresh for longer in the refrigerator.

@itsgillean Don’t waste another $5 container of spinach! #dietitian #nofoodwaste #kitchenhacks #foodstorage #greens #spinach ♬ original sound – Gillean Barkyoumb • Dietitian

However, be careful not to fall into the trap of using too much paper towel. Fruit and vegetables need to be able to breathe to be properly stored.

Contrary to what some videos might suggest, you shouldn’t wrap carrots in paper towels before putting them into a plastic bag.

According to the Quebec farmers’ network Equiterre, you can cut off the tops and wrap them in a bag only if you make holes in the bag beforehand so that excess moisture can escape.

Eggplant can be wrapped in a cotton kitchen towel. And, in general, vegetables should be placed in the crisper!

Storing fresh herbs

Here’s one last useful tip that will delight anyone who’s regularly disappointed when faced with wilted bunches of parsley, dill or chives only a few days after buying them.

Try making ice cubes of fresh herbs to use as and when you wish. Simply chop them up, place them in an ice cube tray, pour in some olive oil and freeze. 

@twinklparents no food waste here! #nofoodwaste #nofoodwastechallenge #nofoodwastage #cookinghack #hack #lifehack #foodhack #foodie #tiktokfood ♬ original sound – twinklparents