Cooking your food well is as important as preserving your food well. You want to avoid wastage to the maximum – therefore, there are food storage mistakes you should avoid if you prioritize your food’s taste, kitchen hygiene, and overall health.
Although being too careful can cost you some ease with your kitchen lifestyle, not being careful enough is worse. However, balancing both takes intuition and perception. Your observational skills in noticing things early, placing ingredients in the right container, or preserving food for a recorded time would save you.
Yes, a little step like compartmentalizing your fridge can go a long way. Similarly, separating your vegetables would help preserve some of them longer.
So what are these food storage mistakes you should avoid making in your kitchen maintenance? Find out in this article.
1. Putting Your Cookware in the Fridge
It is bad to place your cookware in your fridge. This happens most times as a result of an oversight or negligence. It is wrong and should be avoided. You could damage your wares in the process. They are made of content that does not need any form of freezing to make it last longer.
As a cook aspiring to be the best chef, one of the worst things you could do is to make the mistake of placing your plates and cookware with food directly into your fridge. You know, you might be thinking oh, it’s a leftover lemme place it into the fridge like that. No, do not try this.
The first reason: you are exposing your food to too much air and you risk food contamination. Your cookware are mostly made from ceramic, steel, and aluminum.
So when these items are frozen, a chemical reaction takes place that affects the food that is in them. The reaction to this food is harmful and such foods should not be consumed. Not all al.
The second reason: the cookware will not last long. They were not designed or made to preserve food in the fridges. The storage bags, packs, and Ziplocs are made for that purpose. Replacing them with your cookware to store your food items will only reduce the lifespan of the ware. This will incur a loss for your next budget when that ware eventually gets damaged.
2. Storing Spices and Oil Near Heat
No item should be placed near heat. Not to mention any one of your spices or ingredients. Oils especially the delicate ones when in contact with heat go rancid which you will hate cause of the bad smell it produces.
This mistake occurs most of the time when you are about to prepare a dish. To avoid this, be attentive and extremely conscious. Be it a stove or a gas cooker, remove all spices and oils that are placed nearby.
Significantly, the main storage for your spices and oil should be far away from any source of heat (ovens and microwaves too). The best temperature to store them is room temperature.
3. Store Raw Food Separately From Cooked Food
To avoid contamination, cooked foods must not be stored together with raw foods. If you are storing both in the fridge, make a margin to separate them from them because bacteria from raw foods can get in contact with your cooked food even if they are in storage bags.
Raw foods like meat and fish should be stored properly in sealed bags to ensure that liquid from it does not affect cooked food like bread. Well, it might not get into the cooked food but the smell on it might make you feel nauseated and lose appetite.
4. When You Are Not Sure, Trash
Situations might arise when you are not sure about the condition of a food item. The best option is to trash it. Do not hesitate or try tasting it to see if it has spoilt or not. The result of such an act might make you lose your good taste buds.
You will subsequently feel that other foods are bad because you ate spoiled food in the name of experiment or checking. Two signs of food spoilage; smell and decoloration are enough to let you know that such a portion of food is bad and requires immediate trashing.
Why then should you taste it to confirm? No, don’t do that.
Foods can go against nature, there can be no cause linked to this. That is when a well-prepared food that is frozen gets spoilt no matter the care given to it. So do not worry when you find yourself in this situation.
5. Store Fresh Food for a Short Time
The idea of storing fresh foods to make sure that the freshness sticks for as long as possible could be a bit tricky. Let me break your heart; no matter how fresh a portion of food is, once it begins to stay long in the freezer it loses its freshness.
There is no perfect manual as to the period to store fresh foods. All you need to know is that do not store them for long. Be it in the fridge or not (probably you decided to leave the food on the shelf). The type of food dictates how long it should be kept.
For instance, raw meats cannot stay too long after it has been frozen. Two weeks after storage, you should prepare your meat. The same advice goes for eggs and bread. A long-time frozen bread will never taste well as when freshly baked.
6. Use Your Drawers Properly
There is this belief that drawers are meant to store anything in the kitchen. Kitchen drawers are specifically made to keep foods at low temperatures. They are not made to store your wares or plates. Drawers are food protectors. From harsh weather conditions and insects or pest infestations.
Spices and seasonings are best stored in the drawers. Tubers should not be stored in drawers. The heat from the drawer will make them get soft and rotten quickly.
7. Not All Foods Need to Be Frozen
I remembered a mother in a little conflict with her son over what type of food should be frozen. Mum tried to let her son know that there are some foods you must never put in the fridge.
Truly, not all foods must be put in the fridge. No matter how a food item might seem palatable with a fridge’s condition, do well to confirm before deciding to refrigerate it. You can learn more about foods you should not refrigerate here.
8. Dry Foods Should Be Kept in Containers
Anytime you do your shopping, remember always to get storage bags and plastic. You will need them to keep the food. For your dry foods, containers are the perfect options. Dry foods are not vulnerable to reactions from plastic containers; this is why they are best kept in dry containers.
Never try this for other food items, you will end up wasting the food even after preserving it. Let’s avoid every ironic regret.
9. Take Care of High-Risk Foods
Among your foods, there are some you should place on the priority list. They are quickly prone to food bacteria which spreads to other foods. Some such foods are mousse, fish, meats, milk, salads, hams, seafood, hams, and salads.
Each of these foods requires extra care when preserving. You should be very careful. Extreme heat will damage them likewise too much freezing will spoil them.
Did you know that the kitchen furniture brand you use also has an impact on foods stored in drawers? Find out more about the best kitchen brands here.
10. Storing Perishables Wrongly
Most cooks are fond of placing perishables by the door of the fridge. This act will only make your perishable get less frozen and spoil quickly. If you cannot place it into the fridge probably because there is no space, you must consume it immediately rather than placing it by the door of the fridge.
Fridges are manufactured in a way that only the main space gets the bulk of the freezing power while the door region takes a little. So foods stored on that side will get frozen slowly unlike the main storage space where the freezing is done.
11. Do Not Leave Your Food Uncovered
Whether on your countertop or in the fridge, always cover your food while stored. This not only avoids air getting into your food, but it also avoids bacteria, dust, or germs penetrating your already cooked food.
And for fresh foods like fruits that are left open, wash them before eating. As easy as picking an apple up and eating sounds, always let it run under flowing water before taking a bite.
In addition, storing food – raw or cooked – without covering helps to build bacteria. Containers like Tupperware, Ziplocs, or mason jars are excellent for preserving food in airtight casings.
12. Keep Your Onions Potatoes, and Dry Fruits Apart
Do not throw your onions, potatoes, and dry fruits in the same basket. They have a different standing lifespan and once one starts to go bad, it affects every other. Therefore, to preserve your foods, especially onions and potatoes, preserve them separately.
Additionally, never place dry fruits and vegetables in the same basket or bowls. The smell can blend and affect the taste of your fruits, leading to spoilage.
What will happen if you do not store your food properly?
They spoil. This means shortened span or just going bad from exposure. You need to preserve and store your foods to avoid them going bad faster than they should.
When should you throw stored food away?
Immediately it goes bad. On the other hand, if you notice your food going bad, even after storing properly, use it immediately if it’s still good. If it can be remade into another dish, use your creative skill to whip up another meal.
However, this does not mean you should use bad ingredients or food. If the food is beyond salvageable, trash it.
How long should you store perishable food?
As long as they are good. Raw perishable foods do not last more than a week, and therefore, should be used within that window. Meanwhile, cooked perishable foods in a cooler and not a refrigerator can only last a day or two.
Therefore, keep your perishable foods within these times before throwing them in the trash or washing them off.
For a cleaner and better cooking record, there are food storage mistakes you should avoid. Never overlook keeping your food items well, it is your kitchen duty and obligation.
Make it a daily responsibility to check the conditions of your food only by then can you be sure of not committing any of these mistakes. Also never store tubers in the fridge, resist the urge to engage in such.
Thanks for reading.
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