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As a grower, how does Fieldco reduce food waste?

Food waste is an interesting topic. The very words themselves suggest the food is…well, waste. Rubbish, product that is unusable and inedible. As an actual fact, often this can simply refer to product that isn’t utilised like it could be. Kumara crops are a labourous crop to harvest, in comparison to other crops – all hand-selected and hand sorted because of its tender skin that is easily damaged. 

Our very small kumara and larger product that has skin-damage often is hard to shift and as a grower, we often see a lot of this product left to rot or thrown out. Smaller produce is often left on the ground at harvest, as it doesn’t return enough for the grower. 

So, enter our frozen division. We have a full range of prepared kumara products that utilise the odd-shaped and otherwise-wasted produce. This saves chefs and kitchen hands time in the kitchen, with all prepping the product already done. A great way to get a healthy dose of New Zealand’s superfood!

Being growers at heart, we are passionate about bringing New Zealanders the very best tasting, most nutritious kumara products in as many ways as we can.

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How to store kumara

Kumara is a root vegetable which means they tend to be an easy vegetable to store. Kumara is an easy veteable to store, longer lasting that other rot vegetables like onions. 

When you buy kumara, look for those that have less scrapes and marking on them as these tend to last for longer. Kumara that are deeper in colour typically are more nutrient rich than the lighter skins. The difference in colour in the kumara skin is usually caused by the soil type or pH in the soils which affects the plant as it grows. 

Look after your kumara as any bumps or rough handling causes bruising and means the kumara rots or decays faster. 

To store kumara properly and keep their quality, store them in a well-ventilated, dark spot. If you have storage paper or newspaper, wrap them before storing as this extends their lifespan in storage. If it is too humid, the exposure to moisture makes them rot. Likewise, when they are stored in the light, they tend to sprout. 

Whatever you do, do not…and we repeat. Do not store kumara in the refrigerator. This changes the taste and flavour of the kumara. The structure of the cell walls of kumara also changes when it’s refrigerated, making them harder to break down. As a result, they remain hard in the middle and can take longer to cook. Often, you’ll find they may also turn brown soon after they’re removed from the fridge due to chill damage.

Kumara can last for about 1 -2 months in a cool dark place. 

If the kumara is soft or mushy, throw it away. If it is only one end of the kumara that is mushy, check the rest of the kumara for mould or dark/soft spots. If it is ok, chop and throw out the mushy end and use what is left. 

Storing cooked kumara:

To store cooked kumara, place them in a airtight container or zip-lock bag. Store in the fridge for about 5 days.