Your health and the good taste of your food depend on how you store your food, how you arrange it in the fridge and freezer. Proper food storage is especially important after the holidays, when we have plenty of food left.
Storing food in the refrigerator
Store jams and preserves here, as well as milk, kefirs and yoghurts. On the lower shelves, where it is colder, they will spoil faster. That’s because good acidifying bacteria thrive at higher temperatures, and when it’s too cold, harmful putrefying bacteria come into play.
Hide short-life products here: white cheese, cottage cheese, sliced meat. You can keep them for a few days, it’s best to follow the best before date indicated on the packaging. Also include home-made dishes, e.g. a pot of soup (but be sure to cover it tightly).
The temperature here is around 10 degrees Celsius and the humidity is higher, like in a cellar. It is the perfect place to store vegetables and fruits. The less durable ones, such as raspberries, strawberries, can be kept for a day or two without washing. Lettuce or chives for up to several days.
Make sure the lettuce packaging is leaky. When there is no air access, nitrates (which can be a lot in young lettuce) turn into nitrites that are dangerous for us. It is also worth putting hard cheese in containers in the lower drawers. This is where they mature wonderfully.
They are suitable for holding vegetable oil. It’s best to buy it in a glass container or pour it into a dark glass bottle. Place here also jars with preserves, horseradish, juices in cartons, bottles with sauces, e.g. ketchup. There is usually an egg tray on the refrigerator door. They can be stored for 2-3 weeks, but not washed! The shell is covered with a natural, special protective layer that does not allow microorganisms to pass through.
Did you know that the temperature in a modern refrigerator does not depend at all on where the freezer compartment is, which may be at the top or the bottom. Keep raw food separate from ready-to-eat food. It’s best to allocate other shelves for this.
Remember, you can keep ready-made food for no more than two or three days. Only what is later cooked or fried should be frozen. When defrosting, the microorganisms in the food wake up. They will die during heat treatment.
Vegetables should not always be refrigerated
The cold of the refrigerator – paradoxically – accelerates the spoilage of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. They get stains when taken out of it. If we buy frosted tomatoes (from the cold store) in the supermarket, we should eat them right away. They are firm, but the cooling temperature destroys their resistance to mold and bacterial diseases.
The optimal temperature for tomatoes is the same temperature as in the cellar, i.e. 10-13 degrees C, for cucumbers – not lower than 7 degrees C. If we have a choice of a room temperature of 20 degrees C or 6 degrees C in the fridge, we should rather choose 20 degrees Celsius, especially for 2-3 days. Cucumbers and tomatoes will have a much better taste, and tomatoes that are not fully red will ripen quietly (but not in the sun, because they will be too warm).
All root vegetables, potatoes and longer-lasting fruits, such as apples, can be stored in the cupboard for a few days. Potatoes can be stored well in the cellar temperature, that is 10 degrees Celsius, and if we cannot provide such temperature, potatoes must be bought on a regular basis. They will start to break down starch into simple sugars in the refrigerator and they will become sweet, and in a heated cellar – they will sprout.
The cold is tolerated well by lettuces and root vegetables – beets, carrots, parsley, radishes – even 0 ° C (but not below). Citrus fruits are also not afraid of cold, because they are protected by a thick peel, but they will also withstand at room temperature, but dry faster in it. Perishable berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, wild strawberries, blueberries) are better to be stored in the refrigerator, but not longer than a few days (raspberries and wild strawberries up to two days).
Tomatoes (and apples, melons and peppers) should not be stored with lettuce and cucumbers, which turn yellow faster in this company. This is due to the ethylene emitted by tomatoes, which is used in ripening rooms.
Food storage containers
Relatively dry air circulates in the refrigerator. To prevent the food from drying out, store it in containers, special parchment paper and plastic or aluminum foil.
The foil insulates and is not permeable to water vapor, air and fragrances, but as a result, mold grows faster.
On the other hand, paper protects less against drying out and loss of aroma. It is best to wrap the slices of ham in breakfast paper and put them in a clean “breakfast bag”.
Put pots and dishes with ready-made meals in the refrigerator tightly covered.
Most newer models of refrigerators automatically defrost, so steaming food accelerates the defrosting of the back panel and reduces the cooling effect. For safety reasons, do not freeze meats, especially pate, tag, brawn, cheese or delicatessen products.
Defrosted products must be prepared and eaten immediately. It is safest to freeze for 3-12 months. It is best to check the information on the label or consult the manual of your refrigerator.
Place the food tightly in the freezer compartment, unlike in the refrigerator, so that it runs smoothly. Set it to a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius or lower.