tips and tricks
Store food safely and conveniently.
WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTO BY CANDICE NYANDO
To get the most out of your garden (or supermarket) bounty, you should organize your food, filing each fruit and vegetable into its proper place. Storing your food properly encourages you to eat it before it withers away, and it can keep you safe from harmful bacteria and foodborne illnesses. Here are some food storage tips, just in time for spring cleaning.
Buy local, in-season produce! It travels fewer miles to get to you, so it’s fresher and lasts longer.
“If you store your food incorrectly, you run the risk of foodborne illness,” says Tony Macaluso, environmental health supervisor at the Washoe County District Health Department in Reno.
To avoid cross-contamination and the growth of harmful bacteria, store ready-to-eat foods on the top shelf of your refrigerator, away from raw meat, poultry, and fish.
Properly dating homemade or leftover food is part of storing it safely. According to health department officials, meats, cheeses, and other dairy products should only be stored for a maximum of seven days if they’re leftovers or their packages are already open. Routinely clean out your refrigerator and pantry every few months to avoid eating expired food.
Ketchup doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless noted on packaging. Most ketchup is acidic enough to prevent bacteria from growing.
Store grains and baking flours in the freezer, which helps you avoid creating an ideal environment for insects to flourish in the pantry.
Use airtight containers to store foods in the freezer. This helps prevent freezer burn (when moisture from the air freezes and creates ice crystals that burn food).
A high-tech fridge can do more than just keep your food cold. Sub-Zero refrigerators (pictured) contain strategically placed ethylene filters which remove gases that certain fruits and vegetables naturally release. Eliminating these gases helps prolong the life of your food.
“A new refrigerator is a good investment because it is designed and engineered to store food better,” says Steven Gunderson, who works in kitchen design and sales at Czyz’s Appliance in Reno.
Did we motivate you to organize your fridge? We hope so! Proper food storage helps ensure food’s safety, and can even encourage you to eat the fresh stuff first. Who can argue with that?
Erin Meyering is associate editor at edible Reno-Tahoe magazine. She routinely rids her refrigerator of expired condiments and several-day-old takeout.
For those of us who can relate to buying a bushel of cilantro and using only a few leaves before the rest gets soggy and is expendable, there’s good news. This storage container is designed to keep herbs fresher longer. The suspended slotted tray at the bottom allows herbs to stand upright in the little pool of fresh water at the bottom, which helps maintain the color, texture, and taste of the herbs. Available in different shapes and sizes, Herb Keepers are available at Nothing To It!, 225 Crummer Lane in Reno.
Missing a lid to your favorite Tupperware? Find a lid to fit nearly any bowl or casserole dish for simple, stress-free food storage. These lids seal in air but are easy to remove. Find silicone lids locally at GJ Rhodes Gift & Home, 35 Foothill Road, Ste. 1, in Reno.
Use clean glass or ceramic containers or canisters for food storage (avoid harmful BPAs). Find artistic containers and Lake Tahoe-themed kitchenware at Welcome Home Shoppe, 2277 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe.