Food Safety Advice: How and Where to Properly Store Food

When it comes to food safety, you can't be too careful. That's why we put together a list on proper storage and how to keep food fresher longer. Following the tips below will go a long way in keeping...

When it comes to food safety, you can't be too careful. That's why we put together a list on proper storage and how to keep food fresher longer. Following the tips below will go a long way in keeping you and your family healthy.

But before we begin, make sure your refrigerator is set for 40 degrees F or below and your freezer is set for zero degrees F or below.

Where to Store Your Food in the Refrigerator
Where to Store Your Food in the Refrigerator

Food Safety Advice: Where to Store Your Food in the Refrigerator

Top Shelf - This is the warmest part of the refrigerator and it works best for storing prepared foods such as spaghetti sauce and yogurt.

Bottom Shelf - As the coldest section of the refrigerator, it's great for keeping raw fish, meat, and poultry.

Door Racks - Because the temperature on the door rises and falls, the racks are good for foods that aren't affected such as condiments, fruit juice, and jam/jelly. It's okay to keep your milk on the door, but it probably won't last as long. Do not store raw eggs on the door. Place them anywhere in the main part of the refrigerator.

Crisper Drawers - If they have humidity controls to help retain moisture, this will help prolong the life of vegetables including broccoli and cucumbers.

How to Keep Food Fresh Longer

Bread, Cereal, Flour, and Pasta

  • For day old muffins, add a little water to them and place in an oven safe bag, then bake for approximately five to ten minutes. The steam will restore moisture and freshen the muffins.
  • After opening products such as cereal and pasta, transfer them into an air tight container.
  • Freeze flour for 48 hours in order to kill off insect eggs or weevils. Then add it to an air tight container and store in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling.

Dairy Products

  • To prolong the life of cottage cheese and sour cream, set the container upside down in the refrigerator. This creates a vacuum that slows down the growth of food spoiling bacteria.
  • If stored improperly, butter can rapidly turn rancid. While it can safely be kept at room temperature for a few days, it's best to store it in an environment that is dark and cool. For long-term storage, place any butter that will not be used within two weeks in the freezer. If it's properly wrapped, it will keep for six to nine months.

Fish, Meat , and Poultry

  • Keep meat and poultry in its original package, and set it in the refrigerator if you are going to cook it within two days. Don't rewrap because the risk of exposing the food to harmful bacteria is too great. You can store meat and poultry in the freezer that is packaged in a polystyrene tray (usually how it's packaged at the grocery store) or you can use cling film or freezer bags that are heavy-duty and moisture resistant. Don’t store food products in plastic grocery bags because the chemicals used in manufacturing them may react with food products.
  • You can broil fish and store it in the refrigerator or freeze uncooked fish for future use.

Fresh Fruits

  • Do not store apples in the refrigerator with other fruits and vegetables. They give off ethylene gas which causes vegetables like carrots to have a bitter taste.
  • Store blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries in the back of the refrigerator in their original plastic container or resealable plastic bag.
  • Don't refrigerate fruits such as peaches, pears, plums, and nectarines until they are fully ripened. Early refrigeration will cause them to have a mealy texture and lose flavor.

If you take something out of the pantry, refrigerator or freezer and it doesn't look or smell right, don't take any chances. Just throw it out. To learn more about food safety and proper storage, contact us.