How to safely store your food

May 15, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Food Storage

How to safely store your food

When keeping food around the home it is important to make sure it is stored safely and securely such that you avoid any contamination or degradation. Being savvy about the way you store food will not only reduce the risk of food poisoning but will reduce wastage, save money and ensure that you are cooking with healthy fresh ingredients all year round.

Storing Food in the Fridge

The average temperature of the fridge should be kept below 55C. However the temperature varies throughout the fridge. The salad drawers, where air flow is restricted are the warmest. These must be used for storing salad and vegetables, because vegetables can brown in the colder portions of the fridge. It is especially important to store any cut vegetables or salads in the fridge because the tearing of the vegetable tissue provides opportunities for microbial growth such as salmonella or listeria. The coldest space in the fridge is at the bottom of the cold air flow on the lower shelves. This space should be reserved for storing meat, fish and cheese, as we move up the fridge, the higher spaces are ideal for drinks and other dairy products such as milk and butter. Always allow warm leftovers to cool down when placing them in a fridge. If you place hot food in the fridge, it will warm up the rest of the fridge, leaving the rest of your food at risk from contamination. Place a tinned food in a bowl or dish because the metals used in cans can react with the air and contaminate the food inside the tin. Store eggs in a box in the fridge.

Storing food in the freezer

Meat and fish are safe to freeze so long as you freeze them before their use by date. Make sure to defrost these items fully before cooking them. Do not refreeze raw meat. All vegetables are ok to store in the freezer, but the expansion of the water inside the vegetables tends to rupture the cells, making them far less palatable after they have been frozen. However, vegetables such as peas should be kept in the freezer to maintain their freshness.

Storing food in the larder

The larder should be a cool dry place with average temperatures between 12-188C. Uncut vegetables can be stored in the larder for short periods. Root vegetables such as potatoes and onions should be stored in a dark space within the larder. If they are continually exposed to sunlight they will begin to sprout and will not last so long. Cereals and grains can be stored in the larder for long periods. Many cereals and grains and wheat based staples come in packaging designed to store them safely and keep them dry and within minimum airflow.