(Homesteading.news) Learning how to store food correctly is important for several reasons, whether it’s a matter of making fresh food last as long as possible or stockpiling food staples over a long period of time.
In both cases, it’s a matter of economics and health. Wasting food is expensive if not downright immoral, and improperly stored food not only causes waste but can also pose serious health risks.
Different foods require different approaches for safe storage and longevity, and that applies to fresh food as well as food that will be stored long-term. Here are a few hints for safe fresh food storage.
Fresh food storage
The fresher the food, the more healthy it is for your body, and there are many methods for preserving fresh food to maximize its shelf life, whether it is left on the counter, refrigerated or frozen.
Volumes could be written on the subject and a comprehensive guide is beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few tips for safely storing common foods, including vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy.
Anucyia Victor of the Daily Mail has posted a handy guide to storing many popular foods along with an easy-to-use reference chart. Here are a few of her tips for storing fruit:
Fruits can be stored on counter tops but it is best to keep them in the fridge if you want them to last longer.
Apples can be kept unwrapped in the fridge drawer for three weeks whilst citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes are best stored unwrapped on the fridge shelf where they will keep for two weeks.
Halved citrus fruits will have to be wrapped in cling film to make them last for up to five days.
One trick for storing halved fruit is to use a ceramic knife for cutting; that way, the stored half won’t begin immediately oxidizing from coming into contact with metal.
There are also a few secrets that can be used for ripening and storing avocados. Avocados are often far from being ripe in the market. One way to ripen them quickly is to store them in paper bags in a dark cupboard.
This will make them ripen within a few days. They can then be transferred to the refrigerator when ripe to make them last longer. To keep the flesh from turning brown after halving an avocado, leave the seed inside the half you want to save. This works with guacamole, too; just toss one of the seeds into the dish when you refrigerate it.
Anucyia Victor also has some good advice for storing vegetables:
Beets and bell peppers (capsicum) can both be stored in plastic bags on the fridge shelf. The former will stay fresh for two weeks whilst the latter will last for seven days.
Wrap in clingfilm and keep it in the fridge drawer to make it last for five days. Do the same with cabbage and you’ll be able to stretch a head for two weeks.
Carrots can be stored in a plastic bag where they will keep for three weeks in the fridge drawer. Do the same with cauliflower to make it last five days.
Meanwhile, celery should be wrapped in foil and kept in the fridge. Leave the plastic wrap on cucumbers and refrigerate them for up to a week. Keep your onions, garlic, potatoes and squash in a dark larder.
Victor recommends wrapping cheeses in parchment to prevent mold. She also notes that when storing meats, poultry, fish and eggs, it’s “better to be safe than sorry.”
Here are her tips for storing bacon:
Unopened packs of bacon should be sealed in a bag with no air and stores in your fridge’s meat drawer and it will keep for two weeks. Open packs can be stored in the same way for one week.
But if you want your bacon to last for more than two weeks then you can always freeze it, for up to a month.
Again, it is impossible to cover everything in a single article, but these tips should help you to save money, waste less food, and minimize the danger of getting sick from eating spoiled food.
Take the time to learn more about safe food storage. After all, it makes financial sense and can help you to stay as healthy as possible.