Extend The Shelf Life Of Fresh Foods

November 14, 2019

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Nobody wants to throw out good food nor toss out food that’s gone bad. The average American household throws away almost a third of the food it buys, but there are things you can do to make sure food stays good longer—even fresh foods such as vegetables and eggs. The first rule of keeping food fresh is to check the temperature in the places where you store it. Kitchen cabinets should be between 50°F and 70°F. Set your refrigerator temperature to 37°F and the freezer to 0°F or below. Next, don’t take those “best by” dates on packages as gospel, even for fresh foods such as yogurt, milk, or eggs. A "Best Buy" date is not an expiration date.  It is  simply a quality indicator in which the product may not taste or perform as expected but can still be used or consumed. And when you’re storing dry goods, the key word to remember is airtight, to help keep bacteria and moisture out. Finally, be sure to label containers and bags with the date you wrapped and refrigerated or froze the foods. Now, fresh foods do have an expiration, but how you store when can give you a few more days of freshness. Once bananas reach the level of ripeness you prefer, put them in the fridge. They’ll continue to ripen, but at a much slower rate. Never refrigerate bread or baked goods like bagels as it can go stale up to six times faster than if you stored them in a breadbox, a kitchen cabinet, or somewhere else dark and cool. Don’t refrigerate coffee beans either! They absorb moisture, moisture, smells, and tastes from the refrigerator. You can keep your week’s supply in an opaque, airtight container somewhere cool and dark to retain best taste. But you can store beans in small, freezer-proof packages for up to a month if you’re buying in bulk. Extend the life of all-purpose or bread flour by placing it in your freezer, where it will keep indefinitely. For more guidance on how to safely handle and store foods, you can turn to the USDA’s free FoodKeeper app, which offers specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for various food products.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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