Your search keywords:

The right way to store food

The right way to store food

In an ideal world, food is best consumed fresh. But unfortunately, that isn’t always possible. We are in a rush to get to work, sometimes we are too lazy to cook, or we come back home tired—all these things make it next to impossible to prepare a meal from scratch. These are the times when readymade meals or leftovers come to our rescue. To be able to microwave something from the freezer, put that on a plate, and have a hot meal ready in minutes is a kind of luxury on days when you just want to curl up on the couch and pass out.

 But food must be stored well if we want to prevent illnesses. Storing food correctly can help reduce food waste. Your food will last longer and stay fresher if you store it right. Here are some basic things to do to ensure your food lasts longer, tastes better, and is as healthy as a freshly prepared meal.

 Refrigerate or freeze perishables right away

When you come home from a trip to the grocery store, put away food that requires refrigeration in the refrigerator. Try and follow the ‘two-hour rule’ for leaving items that need refrigeration out at room temperature, not allowing meat, poultry, seafood etc. out longer than two hours. This rule applies for leftovers and take-out foods as well. When stocking the fridge, don’t overcrowd it to allow proper air circulation. Many items come with storage instructions. Check the label and follow them properly. In case of power outage, keep the fridge doors closed to let it keep food cold for as long as four hours.   

Use stored food as soon as possible

Refrigerated ready-to-eat foods such as luncheon meats should be used as soon as possible. If they are stored in the fridge for too long, chances are that Listeria, a bacterium that causes foodborne illness, will grow, especially if the temperature of the refrigerator is above four degrees Celsius. Make sure you throw away food that has gone moldy as it can grow even under refrigeration. Try to consume leftovers within a day or two. It’s also a good idea to check canned goods for damage before consuming them. Rust, cracks, leaks are signs that the food inside might not be the best possible state. Consider exchanging them or tossing them away if they have gone bad.

Freeze food that you won’t be eating right away

Food that is properly frozen and cooked is generally safe. Food that is properly handled and stored in the freezer section will remain safe as bacteria doesn’t grow. But the quality of the food will decrease over time. Depending on how long it sits in the freezer, the tenderness, flavor, aroma, and color can be affected. Store cooked meals or leftovers in airtight containers. There’s little change in food’s nutrient quotient because of freezing so you can enjoy a nutritious meal if you properly freeze food.

Store staples correctly

Staple food items like rice, lentils, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and other dry goods should be stored in a cool dry place. Use sealed containers or storage bags to maintain their taste and freshness. Store all non-perishable foods away from cleaning supplies and chemicals. It’s also not recommended to store non-perishable food items under the kitchen sink. Try to buy small quantities of rice and other grains to avoid having to store them for longer periods of time. Track the inventory every now and then and try to use older items first.

Learn some storage tricks

Bananas can stay fresh for longer if you wrap the stem in foil. Keep avocados away from direct sunlight if you want to slow down the ripening process. Carrots kept submerged in water in an airtight container in the fridge can last up to two months. Don’t store cheese, eggs, milk, and yogurt on the fridge door as this is the least consistently cold place. Don’t store tomatoes in the fridge as these fruits don’t tolerate the cold well and you will be sacrificing its flavor. Learning some storage tricks like these can help you save money you spend on food by not allowing them to go bad.