The Importance of Storing Food Safely and Separately

Proper food storage is just as important as all the other aspects of food preparation and handling. This refers to storage in all aspects, such as refrigeration, protection from the heat, and even wrapping and storing in proper containers. If you want your food to last longer, you've also got to store it well. That way, you're keeping all of its nutrition intact, and you're also keeping it safe from bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

Food in storage containers

As an eye-opener, here are some of the essential reasons why food should be stored properly:

1. Avoid Food Poisoning and Other Stomach Diseases

If you've ever had food poisoning before, then it's imperative to note that it's going to be one of the most unpleasant experiences for you ever to have. One of the easiest and most effective ways for you to do so is to ensure that the food you're taking in is always clean. This also means that you've stored leftovers and pre-cooked meals well enough.

Here are guidelines for you to note when storing certain types of food:

Cooked meat should always be stored separately from raw meat.

Raw meat, fish, and poultry should be stored in clear containers at the bottom-most part of the fridge. This avoids blood and other fluid from these food groups from dripping on and contaminating other food.

Cool any cooked food first before storing them in the refrigerator.

Always follow storage instructions.

Be mindful of the expiration dates.

Food prepared for buffets or parties should be stored in commercial food pans for no longer than four hours unless they’re kept warm.

2. Help Stop the Growth of Bacteria

Bacteria can easily thrive in certain kinds of food. The only way to stop this from happening is to refrigerate the food. That way, you're able to keep your food safe. Additionally, you're ready to increase its shelf life. That makes for more budget-friendly and practical means.

Examples of food that you need to refrigerate include:

Cooked meats
Foods with a "Use By" label
Cooked food
Desserts

3. Increase Shelf Life

Various food groups have a different shelf life. There’s no precise solution to determining how long a particular food type will be able to hold its quality since various factors dictate this, such as the quality of food storage while at the grocery store, the food preparation process, and the humidity and temperature of your food storage area. Keeping food in the wrong condition only exposes it to premature spoilage.

As a guide, remember this cheat sheet to increase the shelf life of your food:

Non-perishable food or staple food. This includes canned goods, sugar, and beans. Generally, these types of food don't spoil.

Semi-perishable food. This includes dry goods, such as flour. These food items can stay in good quality for as long as six months to a year. The only condition is that you store it properly or away from the heat of the sun.

Perishable food. This includes raw fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, milk, and eggs. If you wish to keep this stock for a longer timeframe, you have to freeze it to prevent bacteria from spreading. Take note that keeping these items in the fridge will only allow it to last for days.

4. Keep its Taste and Freshness

When you store cooked food in the fridge, you must keep them all covered and sealed. It's a wrong practice to put in plates of leftovers inside the refrigerator immediately. When you make this mistake, you're mixing out different scents, tastes, and flavors.

The next time you bring out a plate to reheat, the food wouldn't taste as good. You certainly don't want your leftover lasagna to start smelling like fish.

5. Keep it Safe from Chemicals

Even dry goods need to be stored well, too. Just because they inherently come in great packaging, this doesn't warrant you to mix it all up with other items in the kitchen pantry. Although these dry goods can generally live a longer shelf life, they can still get contaminated with chemicals. The next thing you know, you're baking a cake that's unnecessarily mixed with chemicals.

In terms of dry goods, here are some storage guidelines for you to follow:

Keep the storage area dry at all times
Keep food in sealed containers
To prevent mice and other pests from munching on it, keep food away from the floor
Keep food away from cleaning products
Don't store dry goods in containers that have been used for storing other non-food items

Conclusion

Where and how you store your food is highly dependent on the type of food that you're trying to keep. The bottom line is food safety should always be of paramount importance. You wouldn't want to be serving your family with lousy food quality. If they get sick, it could be harmful.

Proper food storage helps maintain and preserve the quality of food. That way, all the nutrients are locked in, and the harmful bacteria are locked out.

Post by Editorial staff.

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