food storage tips


Used correctly, your refrigerator will keep food safe from spoilage and bacteria.

Used incorrectly, it could cause big trouble. Your refrigerator could make you sick.

Virtually no food benefits from storage. You want to eat everything as fresh as you can.

Since we can't all tromp out to the garden to harvest produce for each meal, here are some food storage tips to help your fridge function at its best.




Food Storage Basics for the Fridge

To keep food from spoiling, the refrigerator temperature needs to be between 34 F and 40 F.

You can't depend on the little gauge (1-5) in the fridge. Get a refrigerator thermometer.

Some parts of the refrigerator are colder than others.

The meat compartment at the bottom is designed to store meat - so put meat there.

Not only is this the coldest area, but if a package leaks, it won't contaminate other foods.

The door is the warmest part of the refrigerator. This is the best place for nonperishables (sodas), not perishables (eggs).

Don't put hot food in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before refrigerating it. Hot food can cause refrigerator temperatures to drop.

On the other hand, don't leave food out too long, either. 

Refrigerate prepared food within two hours of cooking (one hour in the summer.)

Don't overload the refrigerator. Parties are a dangerous time because you cram a lot of food into the fridge, and you're continually opening the door. 

Turn the temperature down during these occasions to keep the food cold.

Cover foods tightly. Leave meats in their original packaging to prevent spreading bacteria and germs around your kitchen.

Don't store bread, cookies, or most cakes in the refrigerator. They will become stale. 

Tell your family not to stand gazing slack-jawed into the open refrigerator while they decide what they want to eat.

If you lose power, do not open your refrigerator or freezer. If the door is not opened, food should keep 8 hours in the fridge and 48 hours in the freezer. 

How Long Refrigerated Food Keeps

Refrigerating foods helps keep them fresh, but they still won't last forever. How long is chicken good for in the fridge? How long can meat stay in the fridge and safely be eaten?

Here are some examples of how long it's safe to keep some foods:

  • Eggs:  3 weeks
  • Cooked vegetables: 3 to 4 days
  • Fresh vegetables: Ranges from 2 days for soft veggies like asparagus or okra to 2 weeks for hard vegetables like radishes or carrots.
  • Meats, fish, or poultry: 2 days cooked; 1 to 2 days uncooked
  • Other meats: 3 to 5 days
  • Deli meats: 5 days; 3 to 5 days for prepackaged deli meats once opened
  • Hot dogs: 1 week opened; 2 weeks unopened
  • Milk: 5 to 7 days
  • Sour cream: 4 weeks
  • Fresh eggs: 3 weeks
  • Pies: 1 to 2 days

Frozen Food Storage

Freezing food will keep it from spoiling, but the quality will still deteriorate over time.

Use frozen foods as soon as possible, and follow these guidelines:

  • Don't refreeze foods.
  • Mark the date on foods when you put them in the freezer. 
  • Don't rely on the little freezer gauge (1-5). Get a thermometer instead. The freezer should be kept at 0 F to 5 F.
  • Freeze only fresh foods.
  • Wrap foods tightly.

Best advice: When in doubt, throw it out. A little thriftiness is not worth a tummy ache.








You might like these:

  • Frozen Food Storage Tips

    Frozen food storage is essential to do right so that the items inside won't spoil as quickly or get the dreaded freezer burn. This storage guide can help.

  • Fridge Odor Removal Tips

    Whether the sushi went south last month or you simply need to neutralize fridge odors, here's how to bring back a fresh, clean smell to your refrigerator.

  • Food Shelf Life Guide: How Long Foods Last

    You know when the food in your fridge has turned: The lettuce is more brown than green. But what about other items? This guide to food shelf life can help.

  • Food Safety Tips

    Safe food handling can stop most germs and bacteria from multiplying to levels that can make you and your family ill.These food safety tips can help.

  • Deciphering A Food Label

    What does the "sell by" date on a food label really mean? How long is it good after that date? Here's help for deciphering the labels.

  • Kitchen Decorating Ideas

    Amid the congestion of the fridge and the stove, table and chairs, kitchens usually have little space for decorative touches. These decorating ideas can help.

  • A Clean Kitchen in 7 Easy Steps

    Kitchens are a potluck of dirt, grease, and germs. This 7-step method to a clean kitchen begins with decluttering, and ends with mopping your way out the door.

  • Kitchen Study Room Ideas

    These study room ideas can help you create a functional, efficient space for your child's homework efforts, whether that is in the kitchen, or elsewhere in your home.

  • Cleaning Small Kitchen Appliances

    You keep a nice clean house. But how long has it been since you cleaned your coffee maker - or any other small kitchen appliances?

  1. Clean Home
  2. Kitchen Sync
  3. Food Storage Tips


Comments

Have your say about what you just read!