5 Best Practices For Storing Food Properly
(Photo : 5 Best Practices For Storing Food Properly)

Whether you're a chef in a restaurant or a concerned consumer, ensuring your food is properly stored is a must to keep other people safe. Food storage can be complicated because there are many factors you should consider to avoid spoilage or contamination. These factors are time, air, light, temperature, moisture, and microorganisms.

Proper food storage is one of the aspects of basic food hygiene practice. Some food could be correctly stored using packaging solutions, such as TDI Packsys and other companies. This prevents contracting food-borne illnesses from microorganisms, which can cause food poisoning and can also be fatal. Also, practicing these ways will prolong the food's shelf life that avoids unnecessary wastage. Read more to know the practices on properly storing food.

1.     Know How Long You Can Store It

When buying food items from the grocery, you must always check the expiration dates printed on their packaging. Relying on your sense doesn't guarantee you know whether the food's spoiled or not. Those stamped expiry dates will guide you when a food item is already not safe to eat.

Although other food's expiry could be hastened whenever they're opened. Food like egg substitutes, jarred condiments, soft cheese, cold-pressed juice, can easily spoil once they're opened and not properly sealed. Also, unpackaged ready-to-eat foods should not be stored for more than five days.  Food containing raw eggs should be consumed immediately within the day. This is why it's important to always check the best before dates.

2.     Choose Your Containers

There are a lot of storage options out there that you can choose from. You might want to consider its practicality or how it fits your lifestyle.

  • Plastic containers: These are portable, lightweight, and sturdy that's why these are the most common food storage in many households. Although, an issue about plastic is how it poses health risks when it's heated. Also, the chemicals present in plastics are known to disrupt your hormones.
  • Glass containers: This type of container has a non-porous surface meaning it's antibacterial. Also, it's microwavable and recyclable. But glass containers are fragile so you need to be extra careful in handling and maintaining them. You can't also freeze them due to their fragility.
  • Stainless steel: They're the perfect material for storing food as they're durable, versatile and most importantly, it doesn't cause chemical leaching, unlike plastic. These air tight containers are also lightweight, and opaque so you can store spices that must've less exposure to sunlight to maintain their potency.

3.     Consider Dry Storage

Dry storage is used for food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. These include food items like uncooked pasta, bread, canned goods, oatmeal, dehydrated meats.  When storing this type of food item, the trick is keeping it away from pests and rats that may contaminate the food.

Usually, the packages of these food items are made of flimsy materials like thin plastics that can easily be destroyed by pests. Maintaining your house clean and investing in a good pest control system would solve this dilemma. Another tip is to keep these items in a cool dry place or away from the sunlight.  Thus, you could avoid spoilage or prevent it from easily going bad.

4.     Store By Chilling

Chilling is used to maintain the freshness and the nutrients in the food you eat. Food items like meats, fish, and dairy are some of the examples of 'high-risk' food. Maintaining the temperature between 32-35 degrees Fahrenheit or 0-2 degrees Celsius is ideal for its longevity. Each food item needs to be stored in a specific way so it's best to divide them into categories. You can wrap it or put it in a container to better organize it. Doing this can reduce the risk of contamination of foods. Other chilling storage hacks include:

  • Put the raw meat on the bottom shelf to avoid cross-contamination from its drippings
  • Refrigerate any chopped or trimmed produce immediately in an airtight container.
  • Vacuum seal and store food by using plastic bags.
  • Pat the fish dry with a towel before putting it in a container.
  • Keep stinky cheeses away from other food due to their odor.

In a large-scale kitchen with built-in chillers, excess humidity can be a problem by favoring the growth of many pathogens such as Salmonella. To solve this dilemma, one can either constantly check the humidity level and adjust it according to standards or invest in commercial products that help reduce humidity.

5 Best Practices For Storing Food Properly
(Photo : 5 Best Practices For Storing Food Properly)

5.     Try Freezing

Freezing is one of the best practices for storing high-risk food items that can't be used immediately. By doing this, the water content of the food freezes so bacteria can't grow in it. This significantly increases the longevity of the food.

Freezers should maintain a temperature between -10 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit or -24 and -29 degrees Celsius to properly do their job. Almost all the rules from chilling practices can be applied to freezing as well, such as proper wrapping and organization.

You can store herbs by freezing them in water or your chosen oil and they can be used after thawing them. When storing stocks and soups, split them into smaller batches before freezing. Leave an allowance in the container to allow it to expand.  You might want to freeze fresh produce like ripe fruits but it depends on what you're planning to do with them. It might be suitable for them to be used in dressings, soups, smoothies, or sauces after thawing.  According to a study, it enhances the antioxidant activity of fruits, like blueberries.

Takeaways

Exercising basic food hygiene practices in food storage can be applied to anyone who cooks and prepares food. Due to many aspects that need to be considered in food storage, many people might find it complicated. Factors like time, air, light, moisture, temperature, and the presence of microorganisms will determine whether your food is spoiled or not. 

Applying these best practices and hacks will ensure you have foods with extended shelf life. Thus, it prevents you from being food poisoned and lessens your food wastage. Also, it might enhance the nutrients incorporated in your fresh produce. In the long run, it'll help you to save money because you don't need to shop often. Therefore, proper food storage is indeed practical.

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