Hints and tips for good food preservation
Here are some hint and tips on the best way to store food in the fridge to ensure it stays fresher for longer.
You must always ensure that the fridge is kept clean and free from ice build up on the interior walls. Also make sure that the contents within the fridge does not touch the rear or side walls as this will create a build up of ice. With regards to the food certain foods should be stored in a particular way to ensure that it last longer. Mushrooms and salad should be wrapped in absorbent paper, while fruit and vegetables are best washed in water and vinegar and then wrapped in paper bags.
Some food items such as apples we do not advise that these are put in the fridge as they will last longer in a fruit bowl as this will stop them maturing or deteriorating.
Other foods that can be spoilt if refrigerated are exotic and citrus fruits, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers and courgettes.
Any fruit and vegetables that has yet to mature should always be stored at room temperature.
Hot dishes need to be cooled down completely before being placed in the refrigerator, this will prevent a sudden rise in temperature inside the fridge and therefore prevent condensation.
To avoid contamination, ensure that raw and cooked food is stored away from each other. Food should be stored in a clean container with a secure lid.
Best area in the fridge to store food
Depending on the type of food you are storing in the fridge will determine where it is best to position to use. If you are storing meat or fish this should ideally be kept in the coldest part of the fridge or the chiller zone if available. With fresh fish you must ensure that it is gutted and washed before putting into the fridge and it will need to be eaten within 24 hours.
Fruit and vegetables should be stored in drawer at the bottom of the fridge as this is a warmer area and will prevent the food from deteriorating.
Matured cheese should be kept in the highest part of the cavity as this area is protected from excessive cold or warmth.
Storing food in the freezer
The freezer is ideal for storing fresh and pre-frozen convenience foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables will last considerably longer frozen, ensure that it is washed and packed in freezer bags or clean containers. It is best to label containers and add the date of freezing. This will help you to organize of your freezer.
Ensure that cooked food has cooled down before it is placed in the freezer.
To defrost food that you have removed from the freezer, place it on a plate in the refrigerator until it has thawed.
There are a number of ingredients that people do not think of freezing, such as chopped onions, garlic, and herbs. Freezing these items could make life easier when cooking. If you cover herbs in olive oil before freezing they will last longer.
Bread is another item that is ideal for freezing, just slice the bread before freezing and defrost as needed.
Please note; thawed food can only be frozen once and should be eaten as soon as possible.
The fridge freezer should be place away from a direct heat source. The best temperature in the fridge is 4-5 °C and in the freezer is around 18oC. Always ensure that the fridge and freezer doors are closed after use.