How To Store Food Or Leftovers In Your Fridge
When it comes to food, most of us just store it where the packaging instructs us to store it. However, we can’t take that approach if we’ve made the dish ourself. On top of that, food packaging doesn’t exactly detail the ideal conditions to keep the food as fresh and as safe as possible either. And what about leftovers? In this article, we’re going to detail the most effective ways to store the most common food items in your fridge.
So some foods require storage in a refrigerator to not only keep the food fresher for longer, but also as a way to slow down the spread of germs that could make the food unsafe. When buying shop-bought, pre-packed items, this will be indicated by labels such as “keep refrigerated” and, of course, the likes of “before before” and “use by” dates.
But when it comes to leftover food that you’ve cooked, it’s best to let leftovers cool down for a couple of hours and then store them in the fridge. While many people believe you have to store food into the fridge right away, it is totally safe to allow it to drop to room temperature before storing. You should consume these leftovers within two days. If it’s over two days, then it’s best to tip it into the bin.
However, you should avoid refrigerating tin cans that have been opened – this can cause the food to taste metallic. Instead, simply place the can’s contents into a container or a covered bowl, and then refrigerate.
Understanding “Use By” And “Best Before” Dates
There are a lot of myths surrounding “use by” and “best before” dates – and some have come to be accepted as fact.
So let’s start with the basics: you can’t cheat “use by” dates; but “best before” dates are more flexible. They are not one and the same.
“Use by” is specifically used to denote foods that are quick to go off. Once food goes past its “use by” date, it can actually become unsafe and even dangerous to eat food past this point.
“Best before” is for foods that tend to have a longer life, but lose their quality as time goes on. So while you can eat past a “best before” date, it won’t be – simply put – at its best.
When it comes to “use by” dates, this is where one common misconception arises. People think that even if the food looks fine, or it still smells good, that it’s fine to consume. This is untrue and potentially dangerous. Even if food looks or smells fine, this doesn’t mean that it’s not ridden with bugs that could pose a health risk to you or loved ones. As germs and bacteria are microscopic, you are taking a risk by consuming food that is past its “use by” date. However, when it comes to “best before” dates, just expect the food to be of a reduced quality if it’s past that date.
How To Store Eggs, Poultry and Meat
They should be stored in the fridge as this ensures a regulated temperature. You can also freeze eggs by cracking them and either separating the whites and yolks into individual food bags, or by cracking them into a plastic tub and beating them prior to freezing.
Poultry and Meat
Poultry and meats should be stored in the fridge to reduce the risk of bacteria and food poisoning. If it’s out the pack, put it in a sealed container and on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. Make sure to keep it separate from ready-to-eat foods or ready-meals to reduce the risk of contamination.
Tips For Leftovers
- Divide it into segments before storing to make it easier to portion.
- Reheated food should reach, at least, 70°C for two minutes to ensure it is safe
- Food should only be reheated once – the more times food is cooled and reheated, the higher the chance of food poisoning
- Leftovers need to be completely defrosted via a microwave or the fridge
Maintaining Your Fridge
To ensure your food is safe, and to keep your refrigerator well-maintained, make sure to clean out your fridge with regularity.
The right temperature for your fridge should be below 5°C – ideally sitting somewhere between 3°C to 4°C to ensure maximum energy efficiency.
Lastly, if you have a digital, built-in temperature display on your fridge, it can be a good idea to compare it with an internal thermometer. This way you can ensure that the display is accurate and isn’t broken.
This will not only ensure your food is safe, but it also means that you will keep your fridge safe for food and keep it working at its optimum to reduce the need for a refrigerator repair company.