My thoughts on 4 My Earth eco-friendly food bags

What if we don’t need to use plastic to cover or store our food?

 

I have to say, I was not brought up to care much about the environment. Growing up in a developing country it is not a subject that people would discuss. No one seemed to care. It wasn’t until my first year of university here in Sydney that I learned about the some of major environmental issues the world is facing, and how we as human beings play an important role in protecting the environment.

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5 Tips To Keep Your Vegetables Stay Fresh Longer

I eat a lot of vegetables. But having tons of produce in the fridge can be tricky to manage. We’ve all been there before… watching our expensive produce go to waste right before our eyes. If you’re tired of having to throw out vegetables before you had the chance to use it, or hate watching your potatoes sprouting and turning green in front of your very eyes, This post is for you.

Here are my 5 tips to keep your vegetables stay fresh longer. Tried and tested :)

5 Tips To Keep Your Vegetables Stay Fresh

1. Buy local and choose the freshest vegetables you can afford.

It’s a given that the fresher the vegetables the longer they keep. As much as we can’t reverse the signs of ageing, or turn water to wine (unless you’re Jesus!), we can’t preserve veggies that are not fresh to start with. It’s that simple. Buy local, support your local farmers and get better tasting vegetables that last longer than the ones you get at the large supermarket.

2. Wash vegetables just before you use them.

Avoid storing your vegetables in the fridge after washing without drying them thoroughly first. Moisture encourages mold growth and therefore accelerates spoilage.

3. Know your fridge’s microclimate.

This is nerdy but important. Your fridge has Cold Zone, Moderate Zone and Humid Zone/Crisper drawer. You can check this by using a thermometer to measure each shelf, but usually the one closer to the cold vent is the cold zone. The crisper drawer is best for storing vegetables so if you must store counter top vegetables (i.e., when counter top space is tight or you bought enough vegetables to survive a nuclear winter), make sure you put them here. If you have very cold fridge, you might want prevent vegetables like salad leaves and Chinese greens from wilting due to very cold temperature and excess moisture by storing them on the moderate zone instead.

4. Not everything needs to go in the fridge.

You can print a handy chart like the one I found on Spark People or follow this hack. Just look at where the vegetables or fruits are stored/displayed at your fruit and vegetable shop and replicate it at home. For example, things like tomatoes, garlic, ginger and lemon – you would find them displayed at room temperature on the counter. So do that at home and you’ll find they would last longer. It may seem odd, especially if you’re used to storing everything in the fridge, but it works.

5. Do not store fruits and vegetables together.

Some fruits produce high amount of ethylene gas which accelerates the ripening process of other foods nearby so keep them separate from other fruits and vegetable, especially in a tight, confined space. Ethylene producing fruits include:

  • fruits-82524_1280 Banana
  • Avocado
  • Melon
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes

This could be why your potatoes sprouting and turning green quicker that they should have. Are you storing them in the same place as you store your onions? Though not a fruit, onion is a high ethylene producer. Keep onions and potatoes separate!

Want more tips?

Here’s some of my favourite links from around the net where you can find a comprehensive list of vegetables and their storage tips:

What to do with wilted vegetables:

I hate throwing food away so I would normally find a way to use them up. Here’re some ideas:

  • Stir fry with other leftover vegetables
  • Make soups
  • Make vegetable dips
  • Make vegetable stock

What’s your favourite tip for keeping fresh vegetables fresh for longer? 

Tempe Scramble

One of the things I love to make for breakfast is tempe scramble. It’s perfect for weekend brunch or even for lunch. Actually, it doesn’t really matter what time of the day you have it. Indonesians often eat lunch for breakfast, dinner for breakfast and dessert for at any time of the day so you won’t be breaking any cultural traditions. I know this because I grew up in Indonesia and I’ve had mee-goreng, fried rice and toasted chocolate sprinkle sandwiches for breakfast. People still do.

Tempe is fermented soybeans originally from Indonesia. Yes, the correct spelling is without the ‘h’. It’s pronounced tém-pé, without the ‘h’ sound at the end. Here in Australia (and I guess a lot of Western countries) everyone spells it incorrectly. I’ve started doing that too, just so people know what I’m talking about. But tempe, not tempeh, is the correct spelling, and I will start spelling it correctly now since I’m Indonesian and I should know better.

Tempe Scramble-5-2

I’m surprised a lot of people have not tried tempeh, which is a shame because tempeh is even better than tofu in terms of its nutritional value and wholesomeness. I speculate a lot of people are afraid to try it or they’ve had a bad experience before. Maybe it wasn’t cooked right, or maybe the tempe they used wasn’t fresh. Fresh tempe smells and tastes delicious. The fermentation process that makes tempe (transforming the soybean into a cake or patty form) gives it a firm texture and an earthy mild flavour. It also has the same fermented aroma as cheese. Try to find raw organic tempe if you can. They can be fresh or frozen, but make sure they’re not pre-cooked or flavoured. You can also make them yourself. It takes a fair bit of time and it can be daunting at first but it’s actually quite simple, once you know the tricks of the trade. I sometimes make my own tempe but these days I don’t have a lot of time so I just buy them. I use the Nutrisoy brand and I can say they make great, authentic tempe! You can find them at Indonesian or Malaysian grocery stores.

Tempe Scramble-7

Why I love this tempe scramble

Tempe is great source of plantbased protein, Vitamin B12, iron and probiotics. Tempe scramble is one of the easiest things you can make using tempe. If you have a food processor, you can make it even quicker by chopping all your ingredients (separately of course) using the food processor and all you need to do is cook! Regardless of how you cut up the ingredients, it’s a great meal for when you want to make something fast and it creates an aromatic, slightly crunchy scramble with a somewhat meaty and chewy texture. Serve the tempe scramble with a slice of toasted sourdough bread or some steamed vegetables and you have a deliciously filling meal.

Tempe Scramble
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
An aromatic, slightly crunchy eggless scramble made with a somewhat meaty and chewy texture. Rich in plantbased protein, nutritious and delicious
Ingredients
  • 250 raw fresh tempe, minced or grated
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Using a non-stick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for about two minutes or until soft.
  2. Add tempe into the pan. Stir for a minute.
  3. Add soy sauce, nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper. Stir for a few more minutes until golden brown.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Serve with toasted sourdough bread or some steamed vegetables.
Notes
Add spinach with kale or any other greens you like: diced asparagus, spring beans, or even peas and corns.[br]Add some shredded dairy-free cheese for a cheesy twist.[br]Add a tablespoon of chia or linseed (or your favourite superfood) for nutritional boost.[br]Use this to fill wrap or sandwich, layered with sliced avocado and tomato.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to share a picture on Instagram and tag me. I’d love to see your creation.

With love,

Keren

Tempe Scramble-3

Chandra Koftas

This recipe has a special place in my heart as Isa Chandra personally recreated the dish when she came to Sydney a few years ago to attend the Sydney Vegan Festival. It was delicious. The original recipe actually comes with a creamy cashew sauce but I like to make these koftas as is, without the sauce, and use them to fill a veggie wrap or have as finger food.

Kofta traditionally refers to a meatball or meatloaf, and is popular in Indian cuisine. It usually consists of ground meat mixed with spices, but these koftas are vegan by using chickpeas and zucchinis!

Chandra Kofta-3-2 Why I Love These Chandra Koftas

These koftas are a feast of flavours and texture. Bite into the crispy skin and you’ll find a soft dumpling with ‘surprise’ bits of toasted almond and zucchini on the inside. These koftas are substantial but light at the same time.

 

 

Chandra Koftas
Author: Keren
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
Recipe adapted from Isa’s Does It Cookbook
Ingredients
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 500g zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Spray oil
  • Fresh coriander, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the kofta mixture
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas until they are mushy but not quite pureed.
  3. Preheat a large, heavy pan over a medium heat. Toast the almonds for about 7 minutes, tossing frequently, until they are golden and browned in some spots. Transfer immediately to the bowl containing the chickpeas. Next, toast the cumin seeds for 3 minutes or so, until fragrant and a shade or two darker. Transfer those to the bowl as well.
  4. Add the zucchini, coriander, ginger, garlic, salt, and black pepper, and mix well.
  5. Now add the breadcrumbs and use your hands to mix and mush until it holds together. Cover with plastic wrap (or a plate) and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper to keep the formed koftas from sticking. Scoop up about ¼ cup of the mixture. Roll between your hands to pack it well, and then roll into a spherical shape. Set on the baking paper and continue to form all koftas (I got about 20 koftas).
  7. Spray the koftas with cooking oil spray and bake for about 20 minutes or until brown. Roll them around halfway to get them browned on all side.
  8. Garnish with coriander and serve with some rice.

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to share a picture on Instagram and tag me. I’d love to see your creation.

Chandra Kofta-1