Over the years I have learned better options in storing your food, keeping it fresher longer and nutrient dense. Just like in a commercial kitchen, it is important to use FIFO (first foods in-first foods out or used) when storing your food. This will insure the safety and freshness of your food.
Here are a few tips to help you get the best out of your kitchen:
Storing Pantry Items:
Dry herbs and spices have a shelf life of 1-3 years. Depending on the spice or herb, certain flavors keep their potency longer than others. Keep your spices in their jars screwed on tightly. I recently bought spices in Charleston that came in little baggies. To ensure their 1-3 years life, best to buy air tight glass jars to store them in.
For all dry goods, keep them at room temp or a little below as heat will age them and make them stale. Always refer to dates of items and keep your ingredients in tightly screwed on jars and containers.
Refrigerated and Freezer Storage:
Keep your refrigerator to at or below 40 degrees and at or below 0 degrees for frozen goods to ensure safety measures in your foods. An option to keep temperature up to safety protocol in your fridge and freezer is a appliance thermometer.
Many people like to wash their fruits and vegetables before storing them to insure any outside toxins or bacteria may enter their refrigerator. I've gone back and forth on this especially during these times. I would say not to do it. Here's why: No matter how dry you think you may have wiped off your produce, moisture still lurks in cracks. Moisture = time sped up to spoil your produce. Instead dry clean your produce. Using a dry cloth, simply polish/wipe off dirt, handprints before storing in your fridge. This will ensure a longer life span, especially with fruits like berries that are so delicate. When you are ready to enjoy, hand wash and dry with a clean towel or paper towel before serving.
For greens such as heads of lettuces, fresh herbs and dark leafy greens like chard, I wrap them in a cheesecloth or paper towel with the tops of the head of lettuces poking out before placing in the drawer. Keeps the greens from wilting and dampness out. Just like fruits, hand wash and dry delicately with a clean towel, paper towel or salad spinner before serving.
If you are freezing raw meats or seafood for future use, the best option is a vacuum sealer to protect from freezer burn. But since most of the average do not have one, I would recommend wrapping in freezer paper or plastic wrap then in a sealed ziplock bag. This will give you at least a month to decide how you would like to cook your piece of fish.
Why not use aluminum foil to wrap meats? Many marinades on meats contain acidic ingredients like vinegars, citrus juices, or tomato. Acidic liquids interact with aluminum which can cause it to seep into your foods, which is why vacuum wrap, plastic wrap then in ziplock is best when wrapping up future proteins for your meals.
Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog on food storage.
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A personal chef