I think everybody, myself included, in one way or another is making some kind of mistakes when it comes to food storage.
The whole point of websites like this is that we learn from each other. My hope is that our readers can learn something from our posts but also that we learn from the comments that our readers leave with their own tips.
Read on for 10 food storage mistakes to avoid and please leave your own tips in the comments section at the end of the post. Once we have a further 5 or 10 mistakes from our readers, we can add them to another post.
1. Failing to Rotate
Your cans in the pantry probably have quite a long shelf life but they will never get used if you keep putting the most recent purchases at the front. Eventually they will expire. Instead start to rotate your food items so that after each shopping trip the newer purchases go to the back of the shelf and the older ones move forward. This will make sure that you are using up your food before it goes bad.
2. Not Labeling Frozen Foods
How many times have you pulled something out of the freezer and had to try and work out what the heck it is? This is a dangerous guessing game and one that could end up very costly to your health. You may remember everything that is in your freezer now but it may not be so easy a few months down the road.
Before anything goes into the freezer, properly label the item with what’s inside and the date that it is being frozen.
3. Not Repackaging Dry Goods
You may think that dry goods are perfectly fine to be stored away in their original packaging but this isn’t the case. All these types of foods should be repackaged into airtight glass containers. Rubbermaid containers are not ideal as mice won’t have any problem getting through them. because mice can chew right through them.
4. Dry Goods and Damp Spaces
While we are on the subject of dry goods, where you store them is also as important as what they are stored in. Store them in a damp area and you are inviting mold. Never keep dry pasta or cereal in the cupboards above (or near) the stove, as any moisture that evaporates from kettles or pots will be absorbed into the food.
5. Using the Incorrect Refrigerator Shelf
I remember about a year ago me and my partner visited a friend and I went in the fridge to get the milk out to make a drink. What did I see? Raw meat on the top shelf. This might not sound like a big deal but actually raw food should never be placed above ready-to-eat or prepared foods. Why? The juices from the raw foods can drip into the ready-to-eat or prepared foods. These juices can be contaminated, yuck! Instead, all raw foods should be stored at the bottom only.
6. Overfilling the Fridge
A full fridge may mean that you won’t be going hungry but it may also mean that you end up making yourself ill. The problem with a full fridge is that the air inside can not circulate properly meaning that the foods inside are not being stored at the correct temperature. This allows bacteria to multiply fast.
There is a difference between a full fridge and an overfilled fridge.
7. Storing Food in Sunlight
Warm places and sunlight destroy the quality and nutritional value of the food. Instead, ALL food items should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
8. Storing Eggs in the Refrigerator Door
It has always surprised me why so many refrigerators come with an egg rack in the door. You would think that if these companies are doing this then that must be the best place to store your eggs but actually this exposes them tio sudden temperature changes when the door is opened and closed which will make them go bad quicker.
9. Incorrect Refrigerator Temperature
The fridge needs to remain below 40°F and the freezer should be 0°F to keep freezer burn at bay. If your fridge and freezer are regularly warmer than that, you’re risking faster spoilage. The easiest way of monitoring temperatures is to invest in a fridge thermometer.
10. Incorrect Use of Food Containers
How hard can it really be? You store your food in the container, close the lid, and open the container again when it’s time to use the food. But the problem is more with what was previously stored in the food storage containers. Plastic will hold on to residue even after being washed. The best option is to use glass storage containers which will not hold on to the residue the same way. If you must store items in plastic then you should let the food cool prior to storage.
Food storage is serious business. Failing to store food properly can lead to food spoiling faster, sickness if the food is eaten and wasted money. The mistakes above should be avoided at all costs.
What ideas can you share? Let us hear them below.