Food Storage

Food Storage ~ Kitchen Tricks

Cans, plastic bags, storage containers and jars, you name it and chances are your fridge and cupboards are loaded with them.

But are you storing your food properly?

If the adage “you are what you eat” is true, then the last thing you want is bacteria, fungus and mold to land on your plate.

Unfortunately, in some cases it’s not always obvious that a food has gone bad, and that could lead to food-borne illness.

It’s time to get smart, and proactive, about the safety of the food found in your home.

Here’s how.

At the Supermarket

* Check the “best before” date and make sure you can consume that food within the recommended time frame.

* Never buy cans that are dented, bulge or leak.

* Inspect any fresh foods for discoloration, bruising or have a sticky or watery film.

* Open an egg carton to make sure none are cracked or dirty.

* Ask that fresh meats, poultry and fish be packed in double plastic bags so their juices don’t contaminate other foods.

* Go straight home with your purchased groceries.

If you have other errands to run before going home, place a cooler in your car to store perishable items.

To Chill or not to Chill?

Which foods need it, which don't?

The answers to food storage may surprise you.

Location, location, location, it's crucial in choosing a home and it's crucial picking the proper place to store your groceries.

For example, in the right environment, olive oil in an opened bottle stays fresh and antioxidant rich for up to a year.

But leave it on a sunny window sill and the healthy fats turn rancid in half that time.

Most groceries stay fresher, taste better, and deliver more health benefits if food storage is in its' proper place.

For help navigating the terrain of your kitchen, here's our guide to groceries and food storage.

In other words..."what, goes where".

Food Storage for your Avocados;

Store in the fridge or on a counter and if you have a rock-hard avocado, put it in a brown paper bag on the counter as it'll be good to go in about 2 to 5 days.

Gotta get guacamole fast?

You can add a whole apple or banana to the bag to shave a day or so off your wait.

Once it's ripe, you can keep it that way for up to 3 days by moving it to the fridge.

Your Super Fruits;

This food storage would be in the fridge or on the counter.

Peaches, plums, pears, honeydews, cantaloupes, mangoes, bananas, and tomatoes (yes, they're fruits) keep on ripening whether they're on the tree, in the store, or in your fruit bowl.

The fact is, most produce sold at grocery stores are not fully mature when you bring them home.

To help these fruits ripen faster, keep them on the counter for 2 to 5 days.

Once they start turning soft or you've sliced them, move to the fridge as the 40°F temps delay the decay.

While the cold does turn banana skins brown, the inside will still be fresh.

Citrus fruits, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and cherries don't get any riper once they've been picked, they just go bad.

To slow the spoiling process, stash them in the refrigerator immediately.

Your Bread;

Store on a counter, in a cabinet or bread box.

Whether you prefer wheat, white, or another type of bread, it'll stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature, depending on the humidity and if sealed in its original wrapping.

Although bread can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months, steer clear of the refrigerator because it'll dry the bread out, making it go stale faster.

Food Storage for your Coffee;

I did not know this.

I used to store my coffee in the freezer and then the fridge.

But you actually want to store coffee in the cabinet.

Stashing your coffee in the fridge or freezer exposes it to fluctuating temps and therefore condensation.

It's like your coffee is brewed a tiny bit each time it's exposed to condensation and that diminishes the flavor.

For a better brew, keep coffee in an airtight canister in a cabinet.

Potatoes, Onions, Garlic;

The appropriate food storage for these would be in a cabinet or your pantry.

After these veggies are plucked from the cool, dark soil, they should be stored in a similar environment in your home, but not together.

Store garlic solo, so its scent won't permeate other foods.

Stash spuds on their own as their moisture will rot onions faster.

Refrigerator;

* Set your refrigerator to 4ºC (39.2ºF) or below.

* Make sure your fridge is clean.

* Reorganize or clear out some of the contents in your refrigerator to prevent overcrowding.

An overcrowded refrigerator means that cold air can’t circulate properly to keep foods at the right temperature.

* Keep meat, poultry or fish in their original packaging but place them on a dish before putting them in the fridge.

This will help juices from spilling onto other food.

* Store eggs in their carton on a refrigerator shelf, not the door where the temperature can be warmer.

* Use the compartments labeled for specific food items since these storage areas and drawers are set to the optimal moisture level for vegetables, fruits and deli items.

* Don’t store potatoes or onions in the fridge.

* Don’t wash fruit and produce before storing them in the fridge.

They should be washed just before eating or cooking.

* In general, leftovers should be stored within two hours after cooking and then only last about two days once refrigerated.

Food Storage for Olive Oil;

Store in the fridge or cabinet, as you may already know that olive oil should be kept away from light, but did you know that the refrigerator is an aptly suitable dark spot?

It shields oil from spoilage inducing heat and oxygen.

Although cold temperatures may solidify the oil, they won't affect it's quality.

If your cabinets are fairly cool, oil should be fine there as well.

In a fridge or a chilly cabinet, it'll keep about 1 year opened and 2 years unopened.

Food Storage for Flour;

Store in the fridge or on a counter.

Grab an airtight container and keep your flour in the refrigerator.

The cool temperatures help keep white flour fresh for 2 years and whole wheat flour will last about 6 months.

If you go through your white flour in less than a year though, you can safely keep it on the counter in an airtight jar or canister.

But stash wheat flour in the fridge no matter how fast you use it.

The oils it contains make it more susceptible to spoilage.

Now that you know what goes in the refrigerator, let's see more specifically where to put it.

Food Storage on Top;

Do not store any food what-so-ever on top of the fridge.

It's warm up there, which will wreak havoc on almost any food, including wine.

Food Storage on Top Shelves;

Fruits and veggies will be the first things you see (eye level)and the snacks you're most inclined to grab.

Which is a good thing, right?

Plus, upper shelf storage keeps them at just the right temperature.

When it comes to butter, the door may not be appropriate because it simply may be too warm.

Instead, keep your stick in a covered butter dish on a top or middle shelf.

In the same area, keep cheese tightly sealed in foil or plastic wrap.

Food Storage for the Bottom Shelf;

Store all meats down here as it's the coldest spot in the fridge.

Low placement also prevents any bacteria laden juices from dripping onto other foods.

To keep eggs fresher longer, store them low as well and in the carton they came in.

Also, keep the carton shut to avoid odor absorption from other foods.

Separate large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers.

The less food in each, the faster they cool and that helps prevent the growth of harmful microbes.

Though milk containers may fit snugly in the side door, this isn't an ideal place for storage.

Milk is especially sensitive to temperature changes, so put it on a shelf as close to the bottom as it'll fit.

Most refrigerator's have two or more crisper drawers, so;

Food Storage in One Crisper;

Leafy vegetables, broccoli, celery, or any veggies with lots of surface area tend to lose moisture quickly.

The crisper keeps water vapor in.

Food Storage in Other Crisper;

Apples stored at room temperature deteriorate 10 times faster than when they're refrigerated.

The best spot is the just humid enough crisper, away from anything else.

Apples give off a natural gas called ethylene that can wilt, spot, or rot other foods.

Food Storage in the Door;

Because condiments are high in natural preservatives, they're okay in the door.

Be sure to store reduced sodium soy sauce and other low sodium groceries or condiments here, too.

Refrigeration is a must as there's not enough salt to keep it from spoiling.

Orange Juice is pasteurized and citric acid hinders bacteria growth, the door is a good choice.

Re-corked white wine will stay fresh in the fridge door for 3 to 5 days.

For unopened wine, lay the bottle down so the cork remains moist.

Your Freezer;

* Set your freezer to -18ºC (0ºF) or below.

* Make sure your freezer is clean.

* When freezing fresh foods, do so as quickly as possible since the longer you wait the more flavor they’ll lose.

* Place foods in freezer-specific moisture-resistant bags, wrap or package that provide an airtight seal.

Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible.

This will help prevent freezer burn.

Foods that do have freezer burn are generally safe to eat but they may not taste very good.

* Label the freezer bag/container with the name of the item and the date it was stored.

* Thaw food in the refrigerator, a sink filled with cold water or under a cold running tap.

If you defrost food in the microwave, cook the food as soon as it thaws.

Your Shelves;

* Check the labels of jars, cans and packages for “best before” dates.

If it’s expired, throw it out.

* Also check for storage instructions.

Many items specify that once opened, it must be refrigerated.

* Once opened, it may be necessary to transfer items to an airtight container or bag to keep them fresh.

* Store shelf-ready foods in a cool, dry, clean space.

* Potatoes and onions don’t need to be refrigerated but should be stored in a cool, dark place with good air circulation.

We hope you've gleaned a bit of wisdom from these tips!

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