When the pandemic started over a year ago, it disrupted the U.S. food chain with the closure of meat processing plants. An executive order later remedied the situation by mandating these plants to remain open during the pandemic.
Despite this, people started to plant vegetables in their backyard to have a ready supply of fresh produce in case something similar happened again. But these gardens provided more benefits aside from a steady food supply. They also enhanced the mental health of people who had to stay home to avoid catching the virus.
But having an abundant supply of food requires people to ensure the proper storage of the food. This means they should have a refrigerator to store food that requires low temperatures. If necessary, homeowners should have their refrigerators repaired to ensure they keep food stored in them longer.
Here are the other ways that people can store food to let them last longer.
Store Food Appropriately
People should make sure that they store food appropriately. Some fruits and vegetables require storage inside the refrigerator. These fruits and vegetables include grapes, berries, apples, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, and celery. Storing them in the crisper section allows these fruits and vegetables to last longer.
On the other hand, some fruits and vegetables are better off stored on the counter, including bananas, cucumber, onions, squash, eggplant, potatoes, green beans, and garlic.
But some food items are first placed on the counter before being moved to the refrigerator once they ripen. These food items include mangoes, stone fruits, avocados, pears, kiwi, and melon. They have to stay on the counter first since they will not ripen if people store them immediately inside the refrigerator.
Set the Right Refrigerator Temperature
Storing food in the refrigerator is a great way to make them last longer. Chilling food at the right temperature slows down bacterial growth and keeps the food safe to consume. People should make sure that the temperature of the refrigerator is under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. For the freezer, they should keep it at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
To monitor the temperature, they can use an appliance thermometer and make the necessary adjustments to the temperature. They should have one for the refrigerator and the freezer. Maintaining the correct temperature ensures that the food can last longer.
Put a Food List on the Fridge Door
When people store food inside the refrigerator, they tend to forget about them until they are not usable anymore. For instance, they may find a container filled with blueberries that they stored inside the refrigerator a long time ago. And by the time they discover it, it becomes moldy already. In this situation, they have no choice but to throw the food away.
To avoid this, they can put a list of the food that they have in the refrigerator. They can change the list as they take out or put in additional food inside. They can even put the date on the list so they’ll have an idea how long they stored the food. This is useful for food that has a short shelf life.
Wash the Food Before Storing
Before storing any vegetables, it’s important to wash them to remove the dirt on them. If they bought the vegetables from the market, washing them can remove herbicide or pesticide residue. But before putting the vegetables in storage, they should pat dry them thoroughly since the moisture can cause mold and mildew to form.
For greens, you should store them in a plastic container with paper towels on top and under the vegetable. The paper towel will absorb excess moisture that is on the greens and keep them from going bad.
Use Bags to Keep Food Fresh
People can also use a bag when storing delicate food items in the refrigerator. This allows these items to retain moisture and prevent them from going limp. Among the items that people should store inside a bag are carrots, hearty greens, and celery. They can use reusable cloth bags to store these food items. These types of bags can help reduce plastic waste.
Use the Freezer
The freezer is not only useful to store meat since people can also use it to make food last longer. For instance, they can store a ripe mango in the freezer by slicing it and putting it inside a bag or Tupperware with parchment paper before freezing it. They can also cut and blanch vegetables before freezing them to make them last longer. But they should make sure these food items freeze before putting them in the freezer.
To avoid wasting food and making them last longer, people should buy the right amounts and store them properly.