LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE // Are you Storing your Food Correctly? | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE // Are you Storing your Food Correctly?

Recycling is a topic I'm rather passionate about; I've written lots of posts about reducing and recycling your food waste over the past couple of years. Since making the commitment to recycle as much as I can, I'm proud to say I now recycle pretty much everything - the only thing that goes into my black bin is unrecyclable food packaging like cling film, although I'm now working on reducing that too.

Another thing I'm looking at reducing is my food waste. It's all well and (very) good to compost any spoiled food that you have but it would be even better to have none at all! So here are a few tips and tricks for storing some popular food stuffs correctly and making sure they're stored safely, and in order to make them last longer and taste better!

Storage for safety

Top shelf: This is where you should store your ready to eat food, such as dairy products including yoghurt and cream, as well as any jars and condiments you have.

Second shelf: On this shelf, store more ready to eat food such as cooked meats, leftover meals and packaged food, and any jars and condiments that are too tall for your top shelf.

Third shelf: This is where to store raw meat, poultry and fish. If you’re storing uncooked meat, fish and poultry here, make sure the shelf is designed in such a way that it won’t allow the raw food to drip onto the salad box below by ensuring there’s a lip on the edge like on these stylish built in fridges.

Bottom shelf: This is where to store your salad, fruit and vegetables. Keep your fruit and vegetables in separate drawers if possible as many fruits emit a gas that accelerates rotting in vegetables.

Storage for flavour & longevity

Now that we’ve covered off how to store your fridge food safely, here's how to store particular ingredients to ensure you’re getting maximum flavour and shelf-life from them.

Avocados:  If your avocados aren’t ripe when you bring them home from the supermarket, store them at room temperature on the worktop. If you need to hurry this process along, try placing them in a brown paper bag alongside an apple. Once they’re perfectly ripe, store them in the fridge. 

Bananas:  Your bananas should be kept on your worktop to ripen, and storing them beside other fruits such as tomatoes and apples will help to speed this process up. Some people then transfer their bananas to the fridge to slow down the ripening process, turning the skins black. However, the flesh of the banana will still be fine to eat if you don’t mind a brown skin.

Cakes:  Plain sponge cakes can be stored at room temperature on the worktop (out of direct sunlight) so long as they’re kept in an airtight container or are tightly wrapped in cling film. Cakes containing buttercream, ganache, custard, cream, cream cheese or fresh fruit should be kept in the fridge and stored for one or two days max.

Coffee beans: If you like to grind your own coffee beans, make sure you’re storing them properly. You’ll need to counter the effects of air, moisture, heat and light, so store your coffee beans in an airtight container at room temperature. However, just make sure the container is opaque so that light can’t get in. Keep the container away from areas of heat in your kitchen (such as the oven), and if you can’t get use them quick enough, consider freezing them so that they retain their rounded, roasted flavour. Just be sure to use a truly airtight container to prevent moisture from getting in.

Eggs: Don’t store your eggs in the door of your fridge. I have no idea why they often put egg holders in this part of the fridge as it is often the warmest, and it’s also the most susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Keep them in their boxes and store them on your worktop, but if you’d rather keep them in the fridge, just keep them on your top or second shelf where the temperature is nice and consistent.

Fresh herbs: Hardy herbs will last the longest if you arrange them on a single layer of slightly damp paper towel. Then roll it up and transfer this bundle into a plastic bag and store it in the salad compartment of your fridge. Tender herbs will last the longest if you snip the base off them from the stem. Then pop them in a jar with an inch of cool water in the bottom, just as you would with flowers. Store these in the fridge if you have space, or keep them on the worktop.

Garlic: Most people make the mistake of storing their garlic in the fridge. But you’ll actually get the best flavour if you store it at room temperature in a dark, well ventilated area (such as in a wire basket where the air can get to it). I have a special ceramic garlic pot with holes in it, that I picked up at a flea market in Italy.

Onions & Potatoes: Store onions and potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated place, making sure the room isn’t too warm. (Anywhere above 10° will make them spoil faster). Keep them in the mesh bag they came in, or at last remove them from a plastic bag if that’s how you bought them so that air can circulate freely. Just keep them separate so the gases don’t spoil either ingredient.

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