No Frills Shopping

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

I share frequently on my plastic-bags-free shopping style when shopping at the wet markets.  I will share today how I store the groceries after buying them packaging free.

This method of shopping somehow always piques interest as to 1) how i cope without plastic bags to line my trash bin, 2) how I store the produce without proper packaging.  Even the market stallholders are curious.  But they know a thing or two about the best way to store their stuff, so I often get useful tips from them, minus the plastic bags of course.

Like this yam, uncle told me “must remember to store inside fridge, but let it breathe.” Since I think newspaper is the best material to wrap fruits and vegetables and yet allow them breathe (most sellers bag in shiny plastic bags with a few punched holes,) I simply leave wrap in in newspaper and leave it inside the crisp drawer.  Placed this right at the bottom since I don’t want it to crush on the leafy vegetables.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Red spinach before.  Auntie merely wrap the roots with a smaller piece of newspaper to prevent the soil from making a mess in my shopping bag.  But I don’t really mind since I clean the bags often and make sure they are dry before folding them up for the next use.  It’s alway good to keep the reusable bags clean and ready.  Nothing foils a green shopping plan than fumbling around looking for clean shopping bags seconds before leaving the house.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Red spinach after.  All wrapped up with a larger piece of newspaper.  Always remember to remove the elastic bands that are used to tie the vegetables together.  Otherwise, the tension will cause the vegetables to rot fast.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

I used to buy just 1 or 2 stalks of cilantro as they don’t keep well by day 2, until the seller taught me the trick to keep them fresh and perky.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Store them inside an air-tight container and they will stay like this even after 2 weeks.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

I have since started storing the scallions this way too, these are 1 week old.  Think I buy too much or use up too slowly.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Bok Choy, bundled with elastic bands.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Removed the bands and wrapped with newspaper.  These Bok Choy stalks might look limp, but a 15 minutes soak in a basin of water with a pinch of salt is all it takes to bring the crisp back.  I do the same with spinach too, but I will always make a mental note to use up these leafy vegetables first before cooking the more hardy ones.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Long beans, tied with elastic bands again, now you know why I find elastic bands one of the few household items that I will never need to buy.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Wrapped neatly with newspaper.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Next comes the “hardier” vegetables.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Wrapped all with newspaper sheets except for broccoli, with my diy beeswax wrap.  Not sure if my observation is accurate, but the wrap somehow keeps my broccoli florets longer without turning yellowish.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

The only few items that I can’t get without plastic bag are the melon and pumkin wedges that the seller cuts up into smaller portions.  I tend to choose smaller pumkins so that I can buy them whole, but the whole sharksfin melon is too big for my family’s consumption.  Onions and tomatoes are bought without bags, and store outside the fridge in a basket with my garlic, ginger and potatoes.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

The eggs bought in an egg carton that I “borrowed” from the seller.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

I will transfer the eggs to my box at home, and bring the carton back to the seller on my next trip to market.  Almost all the egg sellers at the markets I visit welcome customers to return clean egg cartons for them to reuse, whether plastic or paper.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

I have been reusing this paper egg carton since June but didn’t bring it along to prevent it from getting damaged or torn.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

This is how I buy tofu, and the auntie taught me to rinse the tofu with water before storing inside the fridge.

No Frills Shopping // Mono + Co

Covered containers that I bring along to buy from the dry goods store where most of the items are packaging free.  This means that I can buy the minimal amount I need without overstocking.   Some planning is required though, to get the right sizing and a correct number of containers.

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