Every time I hear anybody talk about food, the word ‘fresh’ comes up. It could be fruits, vegetables, or herbs, or it could be fish, chicken, or bread. No matter what, everyone is intensely interested in their food being fresh. Can you blame them?
Fresh is high quality and fresh is delicious flavor. One easy way to think of fresh is the food that grows nearest to your home. Maybe it grew on a local farm and maybe it grew in your own backyard garden. If you’re curious about local farmers’ markets, then read about them in my earlier blog here.
Practical Ways to Store Food to Keep It Fresher Longer
Yes, it matters how you store food and one size does not fit all. By far the easiest way to learn how to store fresh fruits and vegetables is to pay attention to how your grocery store does it. Come to think of it, pay attention to how your grocery store stores meat, fish, bread, and dairy foods, too. Here are a few important rules to follow:
- Fruits stay fresher longer when stored like this:
Bananas, avocados, tomatoes – store at room temperature
Apples, pears, ripe melon, ripe pineapple, grapes – store in the fridge
- Vegetables stay fresher longer when stored like this:
Onions, garlic, potatoes, butternut squash – store at room temperature
Bell peppers, green beans, mushrooms, fresh herbs, broccoli, spinach – store in the fridge
- Beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey stay fresher longer when stored like this:
Store up to 1-2 days past the sell-by date on the package
- Bread stays fresher longer when stored like this:
Store either at room temperature or in the freezer.
- Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt stay fresher longer when stored like this:
Store at proper fridge temperature of 40 degrees F. or below up until the use-by date on the carton or package.
- Frozen foods like meat, poultry, fish, vegs, fruits, and breads stay fresher longer when stored like this:
Store at proper freezer temperature of 0 degrees F. for 1-3 months or longer, depending on the food.
For a more detailed chart of how and how long to store foods, look here. You can also print out the chart and post it on your fridge or somewhere visible in your kitchen. Food safety is very important!
Food Storage Do’s and Don’ts
- Do store bread on your kitchen counter or in the freezer. Don’t store it in the fridge or it will turn stale quicker.
- Do buy frozen fish and shrimp. Do buy fresh fish if it smells fresh like the ocean. Don’t buy fresh fish if it smells fishy.
- Do store your bananas on the kitchen counter.
- Don’t store your tomatoes in the fridge.
- Don’t store an avocado in the fridge.
- Do store garlic on the kitchen counter.
- Don’t store unripe melon in the fridge.
- Do store ripe melon in the fridge.
What was your most important learning point on keeping food fresher longer?