Storing food correctly will keep it fresher for longer, saving you time and money.
SBS TV host Renee Lim shares her tips
The 'use-by' date on food labels tells us when food is no longer safe to consume. However, for fresh food and food with 'best-before' date labels, it's not so clear cut. The shelf life depends on how we store it. When we store food correctly we extend its shelf life and preserve its nutrition better.
Oxygen, moisture and heat are the main reasons bacteria or fungi reproduce, causing food deterioration. Clever kitchen appliances, containers, utensils and tools can help you to store your food wisely and keep it fresher for longer.
Follow these simple storage tips to save time and save money:
- Freezer – A freezer works like a 'pause' function. The quicker food is frozen, the faster the natural deterioration process stops. Freeze food in containers or wrap it in foil or plastic to avoid freezer burn and cross contamination. The freezer is great for storing leftovers, frozen vegetables and extra bread, etc.
- Fridge – Storing food in the fridge will keep it fresher for longer. Make sure your fridge is running effectively. Check the door seals and make sure the temperature is set at 3–4°C. You can buy fridge thermometers at kitchen supply shops to check the temperature.
- Airtight containers – Airtight containers with snug-fitting lids are perfect for storing items in the fridge, freezer or cupboard. Using the right size is essential; it reduces oxygen in the container.
- Airtight jars – Airtight jars are great for storing flour, rice and couscous in the cupboard, as well as storing leftover liquids like salad dressing in the fridge
- Paper towels – Some vegetables sweat moisture (e.g. mushrooms, strawberries and cucumbers) and this causes faster deterioration. Absorb this moisture by placing one or two paper towels on the top and/or bottom of the airtight containers the food is stored in. Change the wet paper towels every few days for the best result.
- Keep the original packaging – For many types of food, the original packaging is the best way to keep the food fresher longer.
- Preservation – Explore preservation techniques for fresh food like pickling, drying, salting or making jams and chutneys.