Refrigerator or Pantry: The Where and How to Store Food

Decisions, Decisions!  Rules come with the keeping of food. In the cause of eliminating waste of food goods, whether fresh, boxed, or canned, the following guide can be a lifesaver!

The Counter

Tomatoes:  Similar to most whole fruits, tomatoes also should not be refrigerated.  Although they are subject to losing flavor, tomatoes will continue to ripen.  Whole fruits should only be left out for a maximum of five days.  Choose a cool, dry place.

Fruit:  For longevity, wrap apples and pears individually in parchment paper.

Garlic, Onions, and Shallots:  Choose a cool, dry location and hang in a braid if possible. Keep onions far away from potatoes

The Pantry

Brown rice: Having a high oil content, brown rice can easily spoil if left as packaged in your pantry at room temperature.  One solution is to refrigerate for up to one year.  If refrigerator space is not easy to surrender, vacuum sealing in Mason jars and keeping it in a semi-dark and cool location is a secondary solution.

Tip:  The investment of a food saver and a collection of Mason jars can assist the household in keeping dry foods stable and readily available when rice or noodles are needed. Mylar bags and three- to five-gallon buckets with sealable Gamma lids can be a resourceful means to store bulk and inexpensive items.

Spices:  Spices are vulnerable to heat, light, air, and humidity.  It is wise to keep spices away from the stove and contained in airtight jars. Whole spice remains fresh for up to two years.

The Refrigerator

Cheese:  Immediately wrap cheese in parchment paper. Do not place into the freezer, since the composition will change and become less flavorful.  Only slice cheese when needed.  It will remain fresh if the block is intact.

Dairy:  Concerning milk, creams, and yogurts, keep these items on the upper shelves where the temperature remains constant.

Deli Meats: Write the date on the package immediately after opening.  Deli meats typically last for five to seven days.  Store in the compartment designed for meats, usually a bottom shelf, the coldest location in the refrigerator.

Eggs: The door of the refrigerator is the warmest location for items.  Place eggs on the bottom shelf to aid in maintaining a consistent temperature.

Ketchup and Mustard:  Made from high levels of vinegar, it is a best practice to place these condiments in the fridge.  These items will do well in the door of the refrigerator.

Vegetables: Toss rotten leaves, but wrap unwashed leafy greens in a dry paper towel to retain excess moisture.  Place in a plastic bag, keeping it opened before placing it in the “crisper drawer.” Keep vegetables away from mangoes, pears, and kiwi.  To revive lettuce or herbs, place in ice water for up to two minutes.

The Freezer

Bacon: Once opened, use within one week.  It is recommended to be divided into servings and placed in the freezer.  To unthaw, place either in the refrigerator or microwave.

Bananas:  Once the banana begins to turn brown, place it in the freezer.  It has reached its most delicious form as an ingredient to a milkshake or smoothie.

Bread:  To minimize moisture loss, store bread in a freezer bag for a short period of time.  To revive the crust, place it in the oven for a few minutes.

Coffee:  Measure out the coffee you intend to use across a week and place it in an airtight container; then, put the remaining beans in a resealable, airtight bag before freezing for optimal freshness.

TipBuy the amount of coffee you expect to drink within two weeks.  Whole beans will last longer, and only grind the essential amount.

Nuts:  Due to their high-fat content, nuts have the propensity to become rancid if kept at room temperature.  After storing for one month, repackage in an airtight container before freezing.  They will remain fresh for up to one year.

Change Containers

One important effort you can make to extend the life of most packaged foods is to change their containers.  A store owner needs to provide what is for him an economical container, which does not always imply longevity.  Consider alternative containers such as Mason jars, Ziploc bags, or other types of sealable items.


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