Do you sometimes feel that your eggs have gone bad soon after you’ve bought them? Or that your vegetables don’t taste so fresh? Well, this is probably due to improper food storage at home. When foods are not stored properly, their quality deteriorates, they don’t taste as they should, and they may even cause the development of food borne illnesses!
There are a few general rules that you should follow at home. The most important of these are:
- Regularly check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. Your fridge should be four degrees Celsius and your freezer around -18 degrees.
- Don’t overcrowd your fridge. This prevents proper air circulation around the food and results in your food not keeping as cool as it should.
- Do not leave foods that require refrigeration at room temperature for longer than two hours. This encourages the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
- Do not wait until hot foods cool down before refrigerating them. They should go directly into the fridge as this speeds up the cooling process, and decreases the chances of bacterial growth.
Let’s move on from this general advice to more detailed tips for various food groups.
Meat & Poultry
- Always store raw meat & poultry at the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This prevents their juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Use fresh raw meat and poultry within three to four days of purchase.
- Consume deli meats within three to four days of purchase.
- When stored in a freezer at -18 degrees Celsius, frozen poultry can last between nine and twelve months.
- Cooked meats should either be frozen or eaten within three to four days.
Milk & Eggs
- Do not store milk in the refrigerator door. The door is usually warmer than the rest of the fridge due to its repeated opening and closing.
- Do not store eggs in the built-in egg holders in the door of the fridge either! Keep the eggs in their package and put them in the coldest portion of the fridge.
- Whole produce such as bananas, potatoes and apples do not need refrigeration.
- Ensure to refrigerate all produce within one to two hours after cutting.
- Cooked vegetables should be consumed within three to four days, after which they should be discarded.
- Refrigerate seafood directly after purchase, and keep them frozen until they’re ready for use.
- Place fresh seafood in air-tight containers.
- When storing smoked seafood, set the temperature of your fridge to around three degrees Celsius.
- Do not consume seafood beyond its expiration date!
After reading this, you may want to take a walk to your fridge and make some small changes – particularly to the milk and eggs. These little adjustments will certainly keep your foods fresher for longer!
This article offers general advice and may not be applicable to you. Before making any changes to your diet, be sure to consult a qualified health-care professional.