Food is a basic necessity that we cannot live without. To that end, many different food preservation techniques have been created over the centuries. From salting to pickling and everything in between, we have developed ways to extend the life of food.
One very common food storage preservation technique that most of us use every single day is refrigeration. That’s right, refrigerating food is a preservation technique–something that most of us do not think about. Placing food in the refrigerator is a way to slow down the disease-causing bacteria that ultimately cause food to go bad. For example, a bottle of milk will last a lot longer in the refrigerator than it will if it is left on the counter for hours.
Knowing how to properly store food in the refrigerator is important. Proper food storage will decrease the risk of food poisoning and will make your food last for a longer period of time. There are a few key tips to making your refrigerated food storage last.
Meats — When placing any type of raw meat in the refrigerator it is important to place it in the coldest part of your fridge. However, it is also advised to place raw meats away from already cooked foods. Shellfish should never be kept in the refrigerator for longer than a few hours. Lastly, you should never wrap raw meat in plastic wrap if you plan on placing it in the freezer. Plastic wrap ruins the outer wrapping of the meat.
Fruits & Vegetables — When it comes to refrigerated food storage, vegetables are one of the most finicky foods to work with. You should not store vegetables in plastic. This is one thing that many people do not know. When produce is stored in plastic it receives no air flow. This causes it to rot quickly. Berries are another finicky food item. You should only wash berries right before you will eat them. If you wash berries and store them away they will spoil quickly from the excess moisture. Another good tip is to cut the root off of root vegetables. When the root is left on it will sometimes continue to drain nutrients out of the vegetable.
Dairy — It is best to buy milk in a carton. This is because cartons are not translucent like glass and plastic. Milk in glass and plastic bottles is exposed to light and light is known to destroy the vitamin A and riboflavin content in milk. Soft cheeses and other soft diary products should always be stored in the refrigerator. They should be stored in their original packaging, or wrapped in waxed paper and then placed in a plastic freezer bag.
Fish & Chips — When buying fish and chips it is important to ensure that the fish is fresh. Fish can last up to a few weeks in the refrigerator. It is important to ensure that the fish is still bright red in color. If the skin is not red like it should be, then it could cause scombrotoxin poisoning. Scombrotoxin is a toxin and it causes severe diarrhea and stomach cramps. For the best scombrotoxin free fish it is best to eat them on the day of purchase.
Canned Goods — Canned goods should always be refrigerated. Their expiration dates are usually about 1 to3 months. It is always best to check the expiration date as soon as you plan to get the product. This is because canned goods can have harmful chemicals in them. The harmful chemicals are called stabilizers. They include chemicals such as sodium benzoate, or HBU for short. In order to avoid stabilizer in canned goods, understand that after the canning process, the containers the canned goods are in should be sterilized. Even many canned goods such as soup, sauces, dressings, relishes, pickles, and vegetables are made in factories that use HBU’s.
Make sure you thoroughly read the expiration dates on all products before you purchased them. This is because if you did not know, then you could end up with canned goods that are harmful to your health.