Whether you shop at a supermarket, Sunday fair or at an ordinary vegetable seller, you always look for fresh vegetables. Even after taking those vegetables, fish, and meat, home you still want to keep them fresh as long as possible. Due to the lack of knowledge, many food items are being wasted in large quantities.
Food safety and storage basics
When it comes to food safety, we need to be aware of spoilage and bacteria, which causes diseases. As a precaution start your awareness program by looking at the expiry date on the label.
The expiry date is valid only if you store the product as instructed on the label. For example the expiry date for yoghurt is usually two weeks from the manufactured date.
However if you keep it outside the refrigerator in warm weather for a few hours the yoghurt will spoil and it is not suitable to consume. Therefore, the expiry date is merely a good guideline.
It is considered that prepared or unpreserved foods between four degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius are in the ‘danger zone’, which is not cold or hot enough to consider safe.
Therefore, when refrigerating those, first of all set your fridge temperature at four degrees Celsius or below and the freezer at -18 degrees Celsius or below.
Some refrigerators come with a built in thermometer, however if not you can easily buy an appliance thermometer to ensure that the temperatures are right.
Maximising food safety and flavour
If you want to keep the food in a regular temperature, the best place to keep is the refrigerator shelves. If you overload those shelves with food and containers, circulation of air will be blocked.
Something to be mindful of is never store fresh food on the door.
Nowadays, refrigerators come with special compartments for fish, meat, and vegetables, use them. They are specially designed to give the correct environment for those products.
When storing raw meat, keep those away from products such as cheese. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood should be kept in sealed containers to prevent the juices tainting other foods. If you are storing meat and poultry in the freezer in their original wrappings, make sure that you double-wrap it with foil to avoid freezer burn on the frozen meat.
When the veggies are stored in the freezer, to avoid any damage to the freshness, there is a method used called blanching. That is a fast dip in boiling water and an equally fast cool-down in cold water. This helps to preserve the colour and the taste of the vegetable.
The most common thing we refrigerate is the leftover food. Make sure that before putting those in to the freezer you place them in shallow containers for faster cooling. The most important thing is to keep your fridge clean. It keeps your food safe for a longer time.
Storing shelf staples
Staple food items such as sugar and flour, those which come in packages should be checked thoroughly before buying for ripped edges or for damage, after opening the package store those in sealed containers.
Lastly, whatever the precautions you take, if you are suspecting that a food item has gone bad, whether fresh, frozen, or at room temperature, immediately throw that away, do not even bother to taste.