Food stays fresh for longer when it's stored in the right place
If you've ever helped put the groceries away after a food shop, then you'll know that everything has its place. We're here to explain why that is.
Potatoes and onions like to be kept in a dark place. Dairy products, meat and vegetables are best kept cool. And spices don't like damp conditions. If stored incorrectly, these foods will spoil ahead of time, sprout or lose their flavour – and end up in the bin. In order to prevent this from happening, you will need to make proper use of your fridge, storage cupboards and spice rack.
Storing food correctly is also good for the environment. The less food you throw away, the less food has to be produced. This saves on resources and CO2 emissions.
The fridge is ideal for storing fresh food with a short shelf life. This includes milk and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, as well as meat, sausage and fish. Salad and certain types of fruit and vegetables are also best kept in the fridge. Tinned food that has been opened and not consumed straight away should also be stored in the fridge.
Are you aware of all the different compartments in your fridge? They have a role to play as the fridge is not the same temperature all over. The different temperature zones are suited to storing specific food types. Here are the different zones:
The vegetable compartment: You will find one or two drawers right at the bottom of the fridge. The temperature here is around 8-10°C – perfect for storing salad, carrots, leek, mushrooms, herbs, berries, cherries and grapes.
The door compartment: Here the temperature is around 9°C. This is ideal for drinks, butter, eggs and jam.
Lower section: The lower section of the fridge, just above the vegetable drawer, is the coldest part of the fridge at around 3°C. This area is for storing food that spoils quickly such as meat, sausage, fish, fish products and cheese.
Middle section: The temperature in the middle of the fridge is around 5°C. This is ideal for keeping milk and dairy products such as yoghurt, quark, whipped cream and fresh milk. Smoked food and ham are also best kept here.
Upper section: At 8-10°C, the upper part of the fridge is the same temperature as the vegetable drawer. Here is where you store opened jam jars, sauces, sliced cheese and cake.
In the olden days, every household would have had a pantry for storing non-perishable foods at room temperature (around 15-20°C). These days, however, few people have an extra room like this. Instead, we have storage cupboards for keeping things like pasta, rice and tinned food. It's important that these cupboards are not right next to the oven and also not in full sun so that the humidity inside doesn't fluctuate.
When stocking up your storage cupboards, it's important to always place the new supplies at the back so that you are sure to use up the older items first. If the packaging splits, transfer the contents to a container with a lid in order to keep the food fresh.
Everyone's a fan of cinnamon, right? Spices can be found in lots of our favourite dishes and they add incredible flavour. However, they will only keep their full flavour if they are stored correctly.
Spices should be kept in dry, dark, airtight conditions where possible, otherwise they will lose their flavour. If any moisture creeps in, mould will quickly begin to form. Light not only affects the wonderful flavours but also strips the spices of their nutrients. If the spices are kept in open containers, the volatile substances will escape and the spices will become stale and unusable.
Where to put them then? Even though it might seem practical to store your spices above the oven, the steam produced during cooking makes this area warm and damp. Ideally, spices should be kept in a spice rack in a dark corner of the kitchen or in a storage cupboard. They can also be kept dry and dark in a drawer. Once opened, bags should be emptied into airtight containers – and well labelled so that you always know what's inside.
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