Keep up-to-date with official information and advice on COVID-19 on the NSW Government website.

If trips to the supermarket are becoming less frequent, here are some ways to extend the life of your food (and also help to reduce food waste).

Tips for storing fresh food

Fridge? Fruit bowl? Pantry? Freezer? How you store different food could help make some fresh food last longer. Try these suggestions:

  • Lemons and limes: last about a week at room temperature but can be stored in the fridge for 4 weeks
  • Avocados: store in the fridge but ripen more slowly
  • Bananas: last in the cupboard for 7 days if green, 2-4 if ripe. Don't refrigerate (but you can peel them, slice into smaller pieces and store in the freezer for smoothies or a frozen snack)
  • Pumpkin: store cut pumpkin in the fridge with seeds removed to increase shelf life (or whole, uncut pumpkins will last weeks in a cool, dry place)
  • Tomatoes: ripen at room temperature and store in the fridge once ripe
  • Potatoes and onions: can last for several months stored separately in the cupboard. Don’t store them together as this causes them to go off more quickly
  • If storing veggies in the fridge in plastic, put holes in the bag for oxygen and make sure they are dry
  • Remember to follow proper food safety measures to make sure you’re storing food safely

Long lasting fruits and vegetables

Try to use up fresh ingredients with a shorter shelf life first – prioritise fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products. Keep your canned and dried food for when you need it. And if you can’t use it, try freezing it.

These fruits and veggies can be stored for weeks in the fridge, so consider including in your shopping list.

Vegetables

  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Onions and garlic
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Rockmelon
  • Oranges

Canned and dried food

Some canned ingredients are not only nutritious but can be stored for a long time (try to look for salt-reduced varieties). You may already have some of these at home! Some healthy canned food options include:

  • kidney beans, black beans, butter beans, borlotti beans
    • Kidney beans, black beans, butter beans, borlotti beans
    chickpeas, lentils
  • oily fish like sardines, mackerel and salmon
  • tuna in spring water
  • canned soup
  • tinned tomatoes
  • corn
  • beetroot
  • peas, green beans, and broad beans.

Dried food

Dried goods like grains and pulses are usually affordable, can be stored for a long time and are nutritious. Some good options for dried food, if available, include:

  • beans
  • lentils
  • split peas
  • couscous
  • quinoa
  • buckwheat
  • rice
  • rolled oats
  • dried herbs.

Beans, lentils and split peas can be soaked in water overnight in the fridge to reduce cooking time.

Freezing is a great way to preserve the nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables and make meat products last longer. Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great option and just as nutritious as fresh. You can buy frozen varieties or follow these tips to freeze your own.

Most fruit will freeze well – just chop into smaller pieces and peel fruit with thick skins before freezing (like bananas and mangoes). You can freeze pieces on a tray first to avoid clumping together.

  • corn, peas, carrots, green beans
  • broccoli and cauliflower
  • Onion and capsicum (no need to blanch these)
  • root vegetables like potatoes and pumpkin
  • greens such as spinach and kale (these don't need to be blanched first but you should wash the leaves and dry thoroughly before freezing).

Freezing fresh food

Meat

  • Minced meat: 2-3 months
  • Steaks: 6 months
  • Chops: 4 months
  • Chicken breast: 3-6 months
  • Fish (including salmon): 3-4 months

Check out some handy ways to bulk up home-cooked meals and make them last longer.

Staying healthy looks a little different during times of change like the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow our tips to brush up on the basics of healthy eating and staying active during isolation.