How to Store Food Properly in Your Fridge & Freezer

LIFESTYLE  |  November 15, 2016
  • 1. Frozen meat for thawing
    1 / 11 1. Frozen meat for thawing

    After purchasing fresh meat or seafood, separate into your preferred cooking portions, then wrap with foil or paper, or place in a sealed glass container. Label with the date of purchase, and set in the freezer. When ready to thaw, transfer from freezer to the lowermost shelf of the refrigerator, to prevent juices or liquids from leaking onto other foods. Avoid defrosting on the countertop as the outermost parts of meat can reach temperatures high enough for microbial growth.

    (Also read: Is It Safe to Refreeze Raw Fish & Meat That Has Thawed?)

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  • 2. Milk
    2 / 11 2. Milk

    While it’s convenient to put milk cartons at the door of the refrigerator, it’s an invitation for bacteria to grow. Temperatures at the door fluctuate with each open and close, and can easily dip into ranges that are higher than ideal for milk storage. The vitamins in milk are photosensitive, and best kept away from light. Store milk at the back of the refrigerator where temperatures are consistently cooler and it’s comparatively darker.

    (Also read: 8 Reasons to Have Milk in Your Diet – Even if You’re Lactose-Intolerant)

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  • 3. Eggs
    3 / 11 3. Eggs

    Eggs can be stored at room temperature, but refrigeration more than quadruples their shelf life, from one week to up to 40 days. Keep the eggs in their original carton, on a shelf at the back of the fridge. Hard-boiled eggs (with shells on) can be kept for up to a week on the refrigerator shelf.

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  • 4. Leftovers
    4 / 11 4. Leftovers

    To preserve freshness and avoid spoilage, leftover food should be eaten as quickly as possible. Put them at the front of the shelf at eye level, so you’ll constantly be reminded to finish (or clear) them. To be safe, toss out unconsumed leftovers after two days. Consider labelling glass containers or takeaway boxes with the date before storing to help you keep track. Of course, remember to warm the meal properly before eating. More tips on storing leftover food here.

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  • 5. Whole fruits
    5 / 11 5. Whole fruits

    If your refrigerator has a separate bin for fresh produce, use it. This compartment is usually temperature- and moisture-controlled to keep your fruits and veggies fresh for longer. If you don’t have a dedicated space for fresh produce, place them at the front of shelves for snack inspiration. We often open the fridge door hungry and undecided. Keeping fruits within easy reach will keep you on track with your nutrition goals.

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  • 6. Sliced fruits
    6 / 11 6. Sliced fruits

    Fruits are best kept whole and unwashed – with skin, rind and peel intact – for as long as possible. When fruits are sliced and exposed to oxygen in the air, their natural enzymes and micronutrients (especially vitamin C) decline rapidly. When kept in the fridge, they are also more prone to spoilage. Slice just before eating whenever possible. If you really have to store sliced fruits, don’t keep for more than three days.

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  • 7. Salad greens
    7 / 11 7. Salad greens

    You may think lettuce, spinach and kale can last for up to a week, but in fact, spoilage starts in a few days when there’s insufficient moisture in the original bag or box. At the supermarket, avoid picking greens that have condensation drops in their packaging. After purchase, wash your greens, run them through a salad spinner, and pat dry with a towel to remove residual water. Store in a covered salad bowl or box lined with absorptive paper towel.

    (Also read: Quick & Easy Jar Salad Ideas For Lunch)

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  • 8. Smoothies
    8 / 11 8. Smoothies

    Obviously, freshly made smoothies are the most nutritious, as the nutrients, phytochemicals and enzymes are most active and concentrated. After just 24 hours, bacterial growth can become a concern. To save your leftover smoothie, store in a tightly-closed glass jar, and add a twist of lemon or lime. The citric acids act as a natural preservative.

    (Also read: Make a Guilt-free Rainbow Yogurt Smoothie)

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  • 9. Yogurt
    9 / 11 9. Yogurt

    Yogurt is loved for its healthy bacterial count that supports immunity and digestive health. Interestingly, these probiotics double up as built-in preservatives, extending yogurt’s shelf-life and staving off moulds. The challenge here is figuring out when harmful bacteria starts flourishing. Large tubs of yogurt can last for seven to 10 days when tightly sealed and cooled, while small cups can’t last longer than a day. In general, unsweetened plain products tend to live longer than flavoured blends. So how to tell if your yogurt is safe to eat? A little liquid separation at the top is perfectly normal; that’s beneficial whey protein so you should stir in the liquid. But if you notice a large pool of discolouration or visible mould, trash the yogurt.

    (Also read: Greek Yogurt Or Regular Yogurt – Which is Better For You?)

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  • 10. Butter
    10 / 11 10. Butter

    Thanks to its low moisture content, unopened butter can be kept for a month in the fridge. Once unwrapped, its lifespan shrinks to just two weeks. Storing butter at the door of the fridge – the warmest spot – cuts it even shorter. Unless you’re using the whole stick of butter at once, consider dividing the stick into small sections and placing them in a sealed container in the freezer, where butter can last for up to nine months. Remove one or two chunks as needed. The result: food safety, superior freshness and portion control!

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  • 11. Chocolates and candies
    11 / 11 11. Chocolates and candies

    These sweet treats are actually best consumed at room temperature – that’s when your taste buds can detect the most flavours. However, this humid climate (sans air conditioning) causes sweets to melt or soften easily at room temperature. Keep them in the fridge and remove 10 to 15 minutes before eating. To minimise temptation, tuck them in a drawer or corner of the fridge so those sugary items won’t be the first thing you see when you open the fridge door.

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