Click to download the printable version of our Food Prep Cheatsheet Table (best printed on A3 paper, landscape)
How to Store Meat and Fresh Seafood
How to Store Vegetable and Tubers
How to Store Kitchen Spices
How to Store Tofu, Tempeh, and Others
How to Store Fruits
60 Percent of Indonesian Population Waste is Organic Waste (KLHK, 2017)
Organic waste such as meat, fruit, and vegetables is a type of waste that decomposes faster than other types of waste.
Organic waste is different from inorganic waste, for example, plastic which is currently a concern because the material is difficult to degrade. The massive use of plastic is largely not accompanied by a responsible recycling system so that the plastic ends up piling up in the landfill, even polluting the environment, and has proven to infiltrate our foodstuffs as microplastic. But just because organic waste decays more quickly, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to cause problems.
Negative Impacts of Organic Waste That Is Not Well Managed
Organic waste that is discarded in a tightly wrapped condition with inorganic materials (for example plastic bags) and decays in anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) has the potential to produce methane gas (CH4) which is a type of greenhouse gas.
Methane gas (CH4) can be used as a component of biogas, for example by the South Korean government (see also Waste Management in Various Countries), but methane gas that is released in free air can cause ozone layer depletion.
Not only that, but methane gas trapped in quite a large amount (for example in the landfill, due to the large pile of organic waste that is not disaggregated and discarded wrapped in a landfill) can also cause an explosion/fire if exposed to heat/fire sources.
In fact, the Leuwigajah Landfill Explosion Tragedy in West Java, Indonesia, on February 21, 2005, caused landslides and claimed dozens of homes and caused hundreds of lives caused by methane gas clogged in the landfill. At that time, the Leuwigajah landfill collected garbage up to a height of 70 meters, and there was still a lot of unsorted waste.
The Leuwigajah TPA Explosion Tragedy was so devastating, so as to remind the public to be more concerned about their waste management, The Indonesian Government has made February 21st as the National Waste Management Awareness Day (Hari Peduli Sampah Nasional) in Indonesia.
Many landfills in Indonesia (and the world) are in full danger due to the high rate of the waste amount that is not accompanied by a responsible waste management system. For example, Bantar Gebang Landfill which holds DKI Jakarta residents’ garbage is allegedly only able to operate until 2021.
The high amount of organic waste of the waste collected at landfills in Indonesia is considered as bad news. Apart from the risk of explosion and depletion of the ozone layer due to methane gas production, organic waste is relatively easy-to-process material without the need for expensive equipment and complicated systems such as plastic recycling. Examples of the utilization of organic waste that can be done at home are animal feed and compost.
Food Prep: Reduce and Treat Organic Waste from Source
There are many ways to prevent the negative effects of organic waste. In addition to composting, what can be done is by educating the public to prevent the production of excess organic waste from its source, namely households, and businesses. This is also in line with the Indonesia Bebas Sampah 2025 program which implements a 30% reduction in waste from sources.
One thing that can be done to reduce the production of organic waste is to apply food prep techniques in managing food for consumption.
What is Food Prep
Food Prep or Meal Prep is the activity of processing and storing food ingredients to be processed or heated in the future.
For example, buying some food ingredients such as carrots, cabbage, eggs, and enough herbs to be cooked into the daily menu the next week.
The Advantage of Food Prep:
Not only does it reduce organic waste that is wasted, but Food Prep also has the following benefits:
- Reducing the chance of forgotten food ingredients to prevent them from expiring, stale, and can no longer be consumed before being processed
- Manage variations and portions of the menu so that nutrition is balanced, healthy, and as needed. It would be better if you prioritize food ingredients such as fruits or vegetables according to the season, to reduce the possibility of food added with preservatives or growth hormones
- Organize food storage so food could last longer (for example: keeping the refrigerator not full, separating food items that should not be stored close together)
- Monitor excess food so that it can be donated immediately, processed into compost or used as animal feed (read also: Organic Waste Solutions with Black Soldier Flies)
- Cost efficiency
Things to Look for in a Food Prep:
- How to process food before storing:
- Cooked, undercooked, raw?
- Washed or not washed?
- How to Store Food:
- Room temperature, coolant, freezer, dry, humid, or in the sun?
- Can it be combined with other food ingredients, or must be separated? Certain vegetables and fruits have the production of ethylene gas (growth hormone) which can accelerate the maturity of other fruits or vegetables, so the storage must be considered, for example, mangoes and bananas.
- Tightly closed or open? Leafy vegetables need enough space and air to last longer.
- Storage Time
- Storage of meat in the freezer can generally maintain the condition of food for longer
- For foodstuffs such as spinach, it is not recommended to be stored in a ripe state for too long and reheated, because it can cause toxic substances that are not good for the body
- Foods cooked using coconut milk or sour taste usually expire faster
- Storage container
- Using glass, plastic, metal, paper, or other materials?
- Glass and metal containers are better at resisting heat, and also better at keeping food odors from remaining in containers afterward
- For frozen food that wants to be heated directly, you can use a heat-resistant oven glass material
- Plastic materials are lighter, but it is not recommended to be used to store frozen or pungent foodstuffs
- Paper material is good for keeping food fresh (for example using a tissue soaked in water at the bottom of a green vegetable stem) but this method is causing paper residue that is difficult to recycle. The use of paper can be replaced with textile materials (clean rags or napkins) that can be washed, dried, and reused
- Rattan material (for example baskets) is best used for materials stored at room temperature in a dry condition, for example, tubers and onions.
How to Store Food
Below is a complete list of ways to process food ingredients based on the type and method of processing before storing, how to store and estimated storage life.
- The shelf life, especially of fresh food that does not have a clear expiration date, varies greatly depending on temperature, quality of ingredients, and management before storing. Due to this very wide variation, it is strongly recommended to record the durability of food ingredients according to the method applied and the temperature of the refrigerator or even the room temperature according to season. The estimated shelf life included is only a starting point.
- We will give advice on food management that is minimal in waste, both organically and inorganically. One of them is using textile material that can be washed and dried instead of paper material to wrap food. Plastic containers will generally be recommended for materials that are quite fragile (for example eggs), whereas for materials that are frozen and potentially subject to mass expansion we recommend using glass or metals that are more resistant to extreme temperatures.
- To facilitate the application of food prep, all types of food that we inform are in raw or fresh conditions. For cooked, canned and packaged ingredients, please refer to the expiration date and suggested storage tips on the packaging or as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Pay attention to the ingredients of the fruit that secrete growth hormone (ethylene). String these foods with other ingredients can accelerate the process of ripening, which means it decays more quickly.
- There are many considerations for washing food before storing it. For example, there are sources stating that it is not advisable to wash raw chicken before being stored because it is feared that it will spread bacteria on washing equipment. There are also sources that suggest washing only red meat before cooking to maintain the integrity of the flavor. We provide storage recommendations by prioritizing health during consumption later.
- Material that has been cut/peeled will expire faster so it is advisable to consume it immediately or store it to last a long time
- FDA (US Food and Drug Association)