Effective Home Food Safety Practices: Part II

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In our last episode we talked about food safety in terms of preparing, but once it’s cooked let’s talk about how to store the food so that we don’t fall ill.

Show Notes:

1.20 min          Storing foods in refrigerator.
3.55 min          Storing meats refrigerator vs freezer.
5.27 min          Freezer burns.
6.35 min          Freezing fruits.
9.10 min          Nutrient retention in refrigerator.
12.20 min        Expiration dates.

Storing Food In The Refrigerator

The holidays and family get togethers are approaching us. That would mean plenty of produce in the refrigerator and leftovers to be stored away.

Food, cooked or fresh, when stored properly, can retain quality and flavor for a long time.

First off, the optimal temperature in the refrigerator should be below 40 degrees celsius. At this temperature, bacteria growth slows.

Leftover food should not be left out for more than 2 hours and should be stored properly to prevent spoilage as bacteria growth will double within 20 mins in normal temperature.

Foods should be wrapped up or put in an airtight container when stored to prevent moisture loss and contamination from other items in the refrigerator.

Usually foods, fresh or cooked, can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-5 days whereas unopened or processed meats can be kept to up to 2 weeks.

With days being mentioned, a good practice to keep track of your food is to label and date the foods being stored.

Storing Food In The Freezer

Unlike the refrigerator, foods can be stored for longer in the freezer at freezing point or below.

Apart from produce, like fruits and vegetables, that may not always freeze well, meats, soups, and leftovers can be kept for months.

In the case of meats, it can be stored in their frozen state for up to a year, being that it is wrapped well and not exposed to the freezer air and moisture.

For more information on the types of foods and recommended storage times, check out this chart compiled by FoodSafety.gov

Are Freezer Burn Foods Safe To Eat?

Freezer burns on frozen foods occur when the water molecules escape the food to find colder air.

This will usually occur when the food is not tightly wrapped, also resulting in oxygen to seep in causing oxidation and discoloration.

Freezer burned food are actually safe to eat, however texture and taste may alter and make an untasty dish.

To prevent freezer burns, remember to wrap your food properly or store in an airtight container with labels and dates.

Storing Food And Nutrition

Another issue to discuss is how much nutrition can be retained when kept in the refrigerator.

As mentioned, food stored properly in the refrigerator can retain its quality and nutrition for a long time (within the recommended time frame).

As for fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, nutrition content does decrease over the course of week in the refrigerator.

So for better nutrition quality, it is best store what is needed for the week or less and not longer.

By taking a little notice and making adjustments to safe food practices, we can rest assured our food is safe and we are far away from illness.

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