Bacteria can grow exponentially fast on food that hasn’t been stored correctly, leading to food poisoning. Bacteria or harmful fungi are not always visible and may not affect the taste and smell of the food in question, making them hard to detect. This is why it is necessary to ensure that your food is stored correctly. Since each food item may require different storage conditions, the storage process may be confusing to some. Here’s how you can make sure that your stored food doesn’t go bad.
Some foods have a higher tendency of going bad than others because bacteria find it easier to grow and proliferate on some foods more than others. These foods include both cooked and raw meat, poultry, seafood, or food items containing them. Dairy products, eggs, and dairy-based dishes or desserts are also high-risk foods. Cooked pasta and rice, salads, fruit salads, and any sandwiches or fast foods containing the mentioned ingredients can go rancid quickly as well. When storing these food items, it is critical to be keen on cooking, cooling, and keeping them safely and correctly. This can be done by emptying food in Tupperware and storing it in the freezer or the fridge if you plan to serve them in 48 hours or less.
Temperature Danger Zone
Many hazardous bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Enteritidis, and Campylobacter can grow on foods that are left at room temperature for too long. The temperature danger zone or the climate most likely for food to develop bacteria is between 40 °F and 140 °F. To prevent this from happening, don’t leave food outside the refrigerator for over 2 hours.
If the temperature is above 90 °F, you should not leave food out for over 1 hour. It’s urgent to make sure that your refrigerator is functioning correctly. If you are considering an upgrade, buying a refrigerator online will easily compare specs and prices. If you want to keep your hot food hot, make sure to reserve it at a temperature that is 140 °F or higher. To save cold food cold, store it at 40 °F or lower.
The minimum internal temperature for safety is 165 °F. You should never go lower than that when you are cooking raw poultry and meat. The minimum temperature for roasting poultry and meat is 325 °F. Within 2 hours of cooking, you should move your leftovers to suitable containers and refrigerate them at 40 °F. Ensure that you reheat your food thoroughly at an initial temperature of 165 °F until it is steaming hot. If you plan to use the microwave, cover your food, and ensure that your microwave is rotating so, the food is heated thoroughly and evenly.
To freeze your food quickly, you can divide it into smaller parts first. You should also cool your food before freezing it. This is because the freezer temperature will rise once you insert hot food inside, which will defrost other food. Ensure that your containers are sealed before you pop them in the freezer to prevent the food from dehydrating. If you don’t wrap your container properly or tighten the seals, the colder areas in the freezer will draw in moisture from the food, affecting taste and texture. When defrosting, don’t thaw more portions than you know will be consumed.
You can also label your Tupperware as well as the date they were frozen to be extra safe. Make sure not to consume anything frozen for longer than the recommended time frames in optimal temperatures. You should also know that some items, like egg-based and milk-based foods, vegetables with high water content, and soft herbs, are not freezer friendly. Consider maintaining your freezer if it forms ice because frost usually indicates that a freezer is inefficient.
It’s important to defrost food safely, too. Allow 24 hours of thawing for every 4lbs of food. Once it is thawed, you should eat it within 24 hours and avoid refreezing it. If you use the microwave, make sure to cook it right away. The microwave will allow it to get warm enough for bacteria to grow, but cooking it will immediately kill the bacteria.
To ensure that your food doesn’t go bad, you must store, freeze, cook, and defrost it correctly. If your food is left in unsuitable conditions, food-poisoning bacteria will grow and proliferate. Follow our tips on how storing and cooking your food correctly, and you’ll never have to worry about stale taste and texture or consuming harmful bacteria.