One of the most cumbersome tasks of a homemaker, apart from deciding what to cook, is food storage. Be it last night’s leftovers or the result of too much grocery shopping, storing excess food items while keeping the freshness intact is a challenge.
Managing refrigerator and cabinet space is also tricky. Space can get filled with random boxes making it impossible to see or find the items you want. In the confusion, some food items may go bad before you realize it.
Thankfully, there are a few dos and don’ts then you can do extend the shelf life of your food.
1) Use Airtight Containers for Storing Fruits and Vegetables
Always store perishable goods like fruits and veggies in airtight containers. If you don’t have any, then wrap them up in plastic and store them in the refrigerator. It prevents them from absorbing the odours of other food items, keeps the bacteria out and retains their moisture.
2) Eat Leftovers within 3 Days
Leftovers should not be stored for more than 3 days. If stored for more than that period, it can cause food poisoning when consumed. Remember to reheat the leftovers properly before consumption.
3) Store Similar Products Together
To avoid confusion, store similar food items together at a specific spot in the refrigerator. For example, store home-cooked food on one shelf, packaged food on another and fruit juices in the door shelves. It will be easy for you to find them when required.
4) Keep Meat in Its Original Packing
Removing meat from its original packing and storing it in a container can lead to oxidation thus destroying the edibility of the food. Keep the meat in the same packing in which you’ve purchased it or wrap the packet in a plastic if you fear that it may leak.
5) Keep Nut and Olive Oil Away from Heat, Light and Air
If nut and olive oil is exposed to light, heat, and air, then it begins to lose its flavours due to oxidation. Store them in your kitchen cabinets or any other cool and dark place to preserve their freshness and quality. Avoid storing them in your refrigerator or else they will get thickened.
1) Don’t Store Everything in the Refrigerator
The refrigerator is not meant to store each and every food item in it. Foods like potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic don’t require refrigeration and should be stored at the counter. If you’ve purchased under-ripe fruits such as pears and mangoes, then keep them on the windowsill and move them to the refrigerator after they ripe.
2) Don’t Touch the Food Too Much
Excessive handling of food items can spoil them. When food items come in contact with our hands, chances of heat, dirt, and bacteria transfer increases. Therefore, store your food immediately after purchasing it from the grocery store and take out only at the time of cooking.
3) Don’t Store Food in Open Cans
If you refrigerate foods in open metal containers, then immediately stop doing it. This practice can transfer metal from the can (dissolve from the walls of the container) to your food thus making it taste unpleasant and hazardous to your health.
4) Don’t Store Milk in the Door
Milk should be stored in a colder area of the refrigerator, rather than in the door as it is one of the warmest spots. Foods like fruit juices, ketchup, sauces, etc. should be stored in the door.
Maximize your foods’ freshness by applying these simple dos and don’ts during storage. That said, clean your refrigerator regularly, never over-clutter it and buy only the amount of food you need.