If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for ways to improve your approach to food storage. It could mean the quantity of items stored, how they are organized, what containers to use, how often to rotate, and more. Well, look no further! I’ve compiled a list of 23 food storage guidelines that will blow your mind. Who knew that watermelon could be stored for so long? Check out these tips and tricks and get started on improving your food storage today!
Food Storage Guidelines: The Basics
First and foremost, you want to make sure you are storing your food safely. If you are concerned about whether or not you are storing your food safely, be sure to check the FDA food storage guidelines. These food storage guidelines will help you steer clear of foodborne illnesses:
Refrigerate or Freeze Perishables ASAP
You want to put any foods that require refrigeration away as soon as you get home. If you can’t get them refrigerated right away, stick to the “2-hour rule.” So, never allow meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or produce to sit at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Keep Your Refrigerator At The Right Temperature
Your refrigerator temperature should be at or below 40° F. And, your freezer temperature should be 0° F. Appliance thermometers are the best way to check your temperatures periodically to make sure the appliance is maintaining the temps you want. Sometimes the seals around the doors will get compromised due to something getting between the seal and the door jam. Sometimes the seals get brittle as they age, and then don’t truly “seal.” Sometimes the doors aren’t fully closed because the shelves are too full and keep the doors from closing tight.
I heard once that refrigerators and freezers are more efficient if the unit is kept more full since the contents help hold the temperature where it should be.
Marinate Food In The Refrigerator
If you’re going to marinate food, always do it in the refrigerator – never on the counter. Marinating food at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow.
Freezer Burn Doesn’t Mean It’s Bad
If you see a freezer burn on your food, it doesn’t mean that the food has gone bad. Freezer burn is simply the result of air coming into contact with food. While it may not be as aesthetically pleasing, freezer-burned food is still safe to eat. Simply cut off any freezer-burned portions before cooking or serving if you feel you need to.
Keep Foods Covered
You want to make sure you’re keeping foods covered in the fridge and in the freezer. This will help prevent possible cross-contamination and freezer burn.
Always Check “Use By” Dates
Use by dates are there for a reason. Be sure to check the use-by dates on all of your food, and try not to eat anything past its expiration date. I know there is a lot of controversy over “Best Buy Date” and “Best If Used By Date”. You can decide for yourself what works for you and your family. You may have found some foods seem to be ok beyond those dates. I would certainly act on the side of caution. I have my own opinion. Let me leave it at that.
Food Storage Guidelines That Will Blow Your Mind
Now that you know the basics of food storage, check out these guidelines that will blow your mind!
Watermelon actually lasts longer at room temperature until it is cut. Then, you can wrap the cut watermelon in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for about 2-weeks.
Keep Avocados at Room Temperature
Avocados will ripen faster if you store them at room temperature. Once they are ripe, you can store them in the fridge to help them last longer.
Ripen Fruit Faster by Putting It In A Paper Bag
You can ripen fruit faster by storing it in a closed paper bag. The ethylene gas that is released by the fruit will get trapped in the paper bag and speed up the ripening process.
Store Cheese In The Freezer
Cheese can actually be stored in the freezer for up to 2-months. Just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil to prevent freezer burn. If you freeze chunks of cheese, be aware it may crumble when you try cutting it, or at least it has for me. I only freeze shredded Parmesan, Mozzarella, Mexican blend, cheddar, and Swiss cheeses.
To keep bread fresh, store it in a cool, dry place. I use bread bags for my homemade bread. Please remember, homemade bread doesn’t have preservatives in it, so try making smaller loaves and freezing some loaves for later. Small One-Pound Bread Pans and Bread Bags with Ties.
Apples can last up to 6-months in the fridge. To help them last even longer, store them in the crisper drawer with a paper towel under them. This will help absorb any moisture that can cause the apples to spoil.
Real Maple Syrup
Real maple syrup can last up to 2-years if it is stored in the refrigerator. Real maple syrup has no preservatives and can become moldy after opening if it’s not chilled.
Garlic is best stored at room temperature. In fact, it can be stored on the counter for 3-4 months. Individual cloves will last 10-days on the counter. You can also freeze garlic for even longer. My favorite garlic tool, Garlic Press/Slicer and Roller
Keep Potatoes Away From Onions
Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place. But, they should not be stored near onions because they can tend to make each other spoil faster.
Onions can last up to 2-months when they are stored in a cool, dry place. But, like potatoes, they should not be stored near other fruits and vegetables because they will make each other spoil faster.
Tomatoes should not be stored in the fridge. In fact, storing them in the fridge can cause them to lose their flavor. Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature on the counter or in a pantry.
You can store eggs in the fridge for up to 2-weeks. But, you can also store them in the freezer for up to 1-year. Just be sure to crack them and mix them with a little water before freezing. How to Freeze Eggs: Everything You Need to Know
Butter Lasts Longer in the Fridge
Butter can last up to 2-months in the fridge. But, it will only last 1-month if it’s stored at room temperature. And, if you have a hot or humid kitchen, your butter could spoil within a few days, so it’s best kept chilled. You can also use a Butter Bell.
Coconut oil can last up to 2-years without going bad. But, it will last even longer if you store it in the fridge.
Bananas are best stored at room temperature on the counter or in a pantry until they become ripe. Once they are ripe with lots of spots, putting them in the refrigerator can help slow down the overripeness.
Honey can last indefinitely if it is stored properly. But, it will start to crystallize, so please store your honey in smaller containers, preferably mason jars. You can set the jars outside in the sun to naturally restore the honey back to its original state.
Nuts can last for months, or even years, if they are stored properly. The best way to store nuts is in an airtight container in the freezer.
Berries will last longer if you store them in the fridge. But, they should be eaten within a few days for the best flavor.
Coffee beans can last up to 2-years if they are stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Ground coffee will only last a few weeks because it has been more exposed to oxygen.
Loose-leaf tea can last up to 3-years if it is stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. But, tea bags will only last a few months because they are more exposed to oxygen.
To keep flour fresh, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you’re going to store it for more than a few months, you can also freeze it.
Sugar can last indefinitely if it is stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Be sure to keep it somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of heat and humidity. Keep your sugar dry.
Dried Herbs and Spices
Most dried herbs and spices will only last 6 months to 1 year. But, some can last 2-3 years if they are stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
More Food Storage Information:
- 17 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About Stocking Food
- How to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan
- 7 Reasons Why Food Storage Is Common
- Why You Should Invest in Food Storage
These are just a few of the many food storage guidelines that you should follow to keep your food from going bad. By following these food storage guidelines, you can be sure that your food will stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible.
What are your favorite tips for storing food? Share them in the comments below! May God Bless this world, Linda