Storing food properly is essential to maintaining flavor and freshness. Additionally, by following the right storage practices for your edible items, you will prolong their quality. This means that you can keep them for a longer time and prevent them from spoiling prematurely.
More importantly, by following the right storage practices, you will prevent cross-contamination. Leading wholesale food suppliers say that when you store food incorrectly, bacteria will grow in them. And if you consume these products, you run the risk of getting food poisoning.
Costly and Unsafe Food Storage Practices
If you don’t want to lose money on wasted groceries and prevent certain health issues at the same time, start by avoiding these common food storage mistakes:
Using the wrong storage containers
Food storage containers are some of the items that many homeowners tend to skimp on. Unfortunately, even if you save money by buying plastic ones, you are not doing yourself any favor by doing so.
When you use plastic containers, chemicals can leach into the stored food which will go into your body when you consume it. If you microwave or leave these packages under direct sunlight, more unhealthy substances will be released.
To avoid the harmful effects of plastic, invest in good-quality BPA-free airtight glass food containers. Aside from being healthier options, you will save time on cooking or reheating food since they are microwave-safe. Additionally, they are dishwasher-friendly, so washing them will be a breeze as well.
Storing uncovered food
Whether you are putting a plate of leftover veggies in the fridge or defrosted meat back in the freezer, make sure they are covered properly.
When you store uncovered edible items in the fridge, you run the risk of cross-contamination. You will speed up food spoilage as well.
To protect food from contamination and avoid wasting them, always store them in airtight covered containers. In case you don’t have the time to transfer them to a proper receptacle with cover, cover the plate or bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Keeping dry products in their original packaging
Mealworms, mice, and mold are the three main things that make dry goods such as cereals, pasta, grains, and flour inedible. You can protect these products and keep them longer by transferring them in airtight glass containers.
Glass containers with lids are the best options since mice can chew right through plastic containers.
You can also use Mason jars or other recycled glass jars, such as containers for pasta sauces and pickles, for storing your dry goods. This will allow you to save money since you won’t have to buy new ones.
Storing food in the wrong places
This is one of the biggest mistakes many people make when storing items in the fridge and kitchen.
Placing food anywhere on any shelf inside the fridge is something that you have to avoid doing. When you don’t put your goods in the correct order or places, you run the risk of cross-contamination.
To store your fridge correctly and safely, place foods that require less or no cooking at the top. Put the ones that need more cooking at the bottom. By doing so, the juices (and bacteria) that drip down on the items below will be killed while being cooked.
Additionally, never keep dry food such as cereals or pasta near or above the stove. This is because the moisture that comes out from the boiling kettle or pot as evaporation will be absorbed by these items.
Lastly, it also helps if you know the ideal places for storing certain edible items. Nuts and flour, for instance, are best kept in the fridge. Avocados and cucumbers, on the other hand, will last longer if they are placed on the kitchen counter.
Not rotating food items
Following the “first in, first out” rule is essential in commercial kitchens. It is one of their strategies for preventing food wastage.
Rotating food means placing the new products you bought behind the older items of the same type. This is something that you have to do with all kinds of food including meat, fresh produce, and canned and boxed goods.
By following this tip, you will be sure you will consume the oldest food items first before they go to waste.
Setting the refrigerator at the wrong temperature
Temperature plays a crucial role in maintaining and prolonging the quality of your fresh protein, produce, and leftovers. In general, cooler is always better than warmer. Because of this reason, these foods are best placed in the fridge.
However, there will be instances that food may still spoil fast or grow mold even if you keep them in the fridge. If you notice this, check the thermostat; your refrigerator may be set at the wrong temperature.
The temperature for refrigerators should be set no higher than 40°F. Experts recommend setting it to between 35° and 38°F. The freezer, on the other hand, should always be set below 0°F.
These conditions are the best for foods that should always be kept cold or frozen.
Placing perishable items in the refrigerator door
Storing perishable items such as milk, butter, and eggs in the fridge door is a common practice among many homeowners. This is something that you have to stop doing now.
The temperature in the refrigerator door fluctuates as you open and close the door several times throughout the day. This will cause the perishable goods stored here to spoil faster.
To prolong the freshness of eggs and other dairy products, store them in the coldest shelves of the fridge.
By avoiding these mistakes, you will get more from your groceries and enjoy healthy foods all the time. You will spend less time with unnecessary cleanups in the kitchen as well.
Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Bidfood UAE with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.