How to Prolong the Shelf Life of Your Food
Keeping your food fresh and palatable for as long as possible is not an easy task. Most of us have struggled at some point with keeping produce from wilting and bread from going stale. However, there are ways to ensure this doesn’t happen as quickly. If you want your food to last longer, then follow these eight tips on how to prolong the shelf life of your food.
Keep your food in airtight containers
While this might seem like a no-brainer, it is critical to keep your food in airtight containers. This will protect your food from insects, pests, and odours that can be harmful to your food. Additionally, oxygen can make your food susceptible to mould and rot. Containers with a seal are crucial for keeping your food fresh for as long as possible.
Don’t store food in the fridge
You might be surprised to find out that a lot of fresh produce should not be kept in the refrigerator. While this might seem counterintuitive, most fruits and vegetables are better off being kept at room temperature. This actually slows the growth of bacteria, which can be harmful when refrigerated. Some produce can be refrigerated, such as apples and potatoes. However, you should use your best judgment when deciding what to put where.
Keep you food away from light and UV rays
If possible, keep your food away from light and UV rays. This includes covering foods when they are in your cupboard or pantry. While it might seem like an extra step, covering your food is an effective way to keep it fresh. This will also help protect your food from pests, such as moths, that are drawn to light.
Rotate your foods, regularly
You can extend the shelf life of your foods even further by rotating them. Many people only rotate their foods when they are running low. However, you should always be rotating your food. Doing so will ensure you aren’t eating old food when you don’t mean to be. Pay special attention to items that are high in fat and sugar, as they will go bad quicker. You might be surprised by how much longer your pantry items last when you make the effort to rotate regularly. It is easy to forget about items in the back of your pantry or cabinet, which is why it is important to keep a schedule.
Know the best storage times for different food types
There are certain foods that last longer than others. Knowing the best storage times for different food types will allow you to plan your meals better and keep your food fresher for longer. Below are some guidelines on how to store certain foods. Fresh meat: Keep your meat in the fridge, ideally on the bottom shelf, so it doesn’t drip onto other foods. Ground meat should always be kept in the fridge, while other cuts can be left out on the counter. Most fresh meat has a shelf life of three to five days, so plan your meals accordingly. Cereal: Cereal can last for about two weeks if unopened and a month if opened. If you want to extend the life of your cereal even further, store it in the fridge or freezer. Canned food: Canned food lasts longer than fresh food because it is sealed in a can. Most canned food lasts for a year, though this will depend on the specific item.
Freeze what you can – like bread, pasta and rice
If you have too much fresh food, you can freeze a lot of it. Freezing is a great way to keep your food fresh for longer, and it is especially useful for carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and rice. When freezing these items, make sure they are in airtight bags or containers. This will help prevent them from getting freezer burn and lasting longer. If you need to thaw frozen foods, do so in a refrigerator or a cold water bath. Doing so will prevent them from being exposed to room temperature, which can be harmful. Your frozen foods can be kept frozen for up to six months.
Don’t forget about expiration dates – know what is safe to eat, and what is not
Keep an eye on expiration dates and don’t eat foods that have gone bad. Food that has passed its expiration date should be thrown out, even if you think it looks and smells fine. Not only can eating expired food make you sick, but it can also be harmful to your body. There are many foods that last longer than others – in fact some ultra long shelf-life foods have been specifically developed to last up to 25 years. By following these eight tips on how to prolong the shelf life of your food, you can keep your food fresh and delicious for longer.