Sugar, spice and everything nice

Updated: Jul 29, 2020, 10:49 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

A chef shares tips to keep kitchen staples dry and increase their shelf life due to high humidity levels in the monsoon

Invest in Ziploc and freezer bags to increase the shelf life of vegetables
Invest in Ziploc and freezer bags to increase the shelf life of vegetables

The rain seems to play spoilsport for most pantry staples, be it sugar, salt, biscuits, grains, spices or vegetables, especially if you have a small fridge or a kitchen that doesn't have good ventilation. Increased dampness and moisture result in faster fungal growth and worms, which can lead to wastage and multiple grocery runs, at a time when it's not advisable to step out unless necessary. "My mantra is to get monsoon-ready to prevent spoilage. Say no to plastic containers, and opt for airtight glass jars that are more hygienic and odour-free. Also, invest in a batch of Ziploc and freezer bags, and absorbent or blotting papers," suggests chef and food consultant Reetu Uday Kugaji, while sharing tips to keep essentials consumable and dry.

. Sugar and salt tend to absorb moisture and become runny. Don't store them in plastic or metal containers; use airtight glass bottles. Add some rice grains and cloves to the granulated sugar and salt to keep them moisture-free.

Add some cloves and raw rice grains to sugar to keep it moisture-free
Add some cloves and raw rice grains to sugar to keep it moisture-free

. Pulses attract worms and other insects during this time. You can microwave them for two minutes, cool them completely and then store the same in glass containers along with dried neem leaves. For dalia and semolina, dry-roast them, cool them down and then store the same. Drop a few neem or bay leaves in your rice jar to avoid insects.

. It's also a good idea to add besan, atta and even maida in glass containers and keep them in the fridge to increase their shelf life.

Reetu Uday Kugaji

. Clean and wrap vegetables in absorbent papers, and place them in Ziploc bags in the fridge. Wash them before using them. Onions should also be covered in blotting paper, with a little space or enough room between each of them for good air circulation. Store them in a clean and dry place. Before you put lemons in the fridge, apply some unscented cooking oil to each piece to store them better.

. Go-to munchies during chai time like biscuits also get soggy. Wrap them up in blotting papers and keep them in airtight jars.

. Add a few bay leaves to glass jars containing whole spices like peppercorn, cardamom and cumin seeds so that they remain dry.

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