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Do’s & Don’ts in Food Storage
We have seen tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they become highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. We have seen in households, people storing huge quantities of food and not knowing what to do with it. Delicious leftovers are sitting in your fridge, only you are not sure how long they have been there.
Eating a nutritious and balanced diet with plenty of variety is one of the best ways to protect your health. Every day around the globe, thousands of people get food poisoning. Storing your food properly is one of the key things you can do to protect yourself and your family from food-borne illnesses. Some people can get "food poisoning", and not even know they have it. Food poisoning is caused by eating foods that are contaminated. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, headache, constipation, persistent fever, etc.
How to Do Storage
Check “best before” date on the foods you are buying.
Keep your raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood separate from other food in the refrigerator at home. Do this by storing them in different containers. Place these in sealed containers or plastic bags on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator so raw juices won't drip onto other food.
Do not leave your hot food outside before refrigerating. The longer you let food sit out, the greater the chance bacteria will grow.
Do not store leafy greens in plastic bags. Plastic bags don’t allow the air to circulate, giving your greens the opportunity to rot in the blink of an eye. Use the snazzy perforated containers you purchased for your fruit as a way to keep your lettuce fresh for as long as possible.
Storing onions with potatoes – According to food safety experts at Penn State University, onions and potatoes release moisture and gases that will cause the other to spoil faster. Store them in separate areas to keep them from killing each other.
Proper storage containers – Using Tupperware jars and bags is the best way to store food. Another idea is a food vacuum system so you can break down your purchases into convenient, meal-sized portions.
Not using what you buy – This is an easy food storage mistake to make, especially when trying to preserve more expensive foods. Keep the following mantra in mind – purchase, use, replace. It really is that simple. That way, all food in your home is as fresh as possible.
Putting cooked meat back on a plate that held raw meat will help germs spread from the raw meat to the cooked meat. Always use separate plates for raw meat and cooked meat. The same rule applies to poultry and seafood.
Washing raw meat or poultry can spread bacteria to your sink, countertops, and other surfaces in your kitchen. Don’t wash meat, poultry, or eggs.
Cleaning your hands, kitchen surfaces and utensils, fruit and vegetables and reusable grocery bags will help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of food related illness.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria and avoid using sponges, as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.
Food & Refrigeration
The following recommended refrigeration times are for safety, and the freezing times are for quality. If you store properly wrapped food in your freezer the quality may be maintained for longer periods of time.
Names of food and freezer storage that kept in refrigerator in 4 degree c (40’F) or lower:
Beef – 2-4 days
Pork - 2-4 days
Lamb - 2-4 days
Chicken - 3 to 4 days
Ground meat - 1 to 2 days
Chicken/turkey whole or pieces - 2-3 days
Lean or fatty fish - 3 -4 days
Shellfish-clams crab ,lobster, etc -12-24 hrs
Shrimp, cooked shellfish, scallops -1-2 days
Cooked ham - 3-4 days
Raw sausage - 1 to 2 days
Pre cooked sausage - 1 week
Homemade salads - 3 to 5 days
Soups – 2-3 days
Eggs fresh in shell - 3-4 weeks
Egg Without shell - 2-4 days
Hard cooked egg - 1 week
Un-opened milk - best before date
Opened milk - 3 days
Un-opened cottage cheese - best before date
Opened cottage cheese - 3 days
Opened yogurt - 3 days
Soft cheese - 1 week
Un-opened butter - 8 weeks
Opened butter - 3 weeks
Beans - 5 days
Carrots - 2 weeks
Celery - 2 weeks
Leaf lettuce - 3-7 days
Spinach - 2 weeks
Winter spinach - 2 weeks
You shouldn't keep these foods in the refrigerator – onions, pumpkin, whole melons, garlic, potatoes, honey, whole tomato, apricot, banana, kiwi, peaches, plums, mangoes, and coffee.