Food products stored in different conditions by some time are a subject of many changes: microbiological, biochemical, chemical, physical. Several changes in time can lead to lower nutritional, health and organoleptic value due to improper storage temperature, humidity, oxygen access and other gases that surround the product. Storing food in the refrigerator is used to prolong their life for a few or several days. Freezing preserves the durability for longer, even up to several months.
Vegetables and fruit
* When buying fruits and vegetables pay attention if they are fresh and undamaged. If you choose a product packed in foil, see if there’s no fluid under it.
* Wash fruits and vegetables in running water, not only when you eat them with their peel, but also when you’re going to peel them. You can use a soft brush for this purpose.
* Wash the products just before eating. If you washed them earlier they go off faster.
* The majority of vegetable and fruit should be stored in the fridge - apart from those that are still growing ripe, such as bananas and products with longer durability, such as potatoes or beets. If you want to keep them for a long time, the bottom drawer in fridge would be the best place.
* Some fruits and vegetables (potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsley, celery, leeks, apples, tomatoes) can be stored at home even for a month, however most of them should be eaten within a week (bananas, pears), and even in 2 - 3 days (strawberries, cherries, sour cherries). Frozen - will keep their flavor up to one year.
* Fruit and vegetable preserves should be stored at temperature below 15 degrees, with limited light access .
Flour and grain products
* Bread is usually edible by a very short time, due to processes of becoming stale and mould. First one occurs mainly at low temperature (that’s why you shouldn’t store bread in the fridge), mould occurs in warmer, anaerobic conditions (i.e. when you store the bread in foil bag). The best place to store bread is a wooden or plastic breadbasket that gives access to the oxygen. You can also use paper bags.
* Frozen bread or rolls may stay for a few months, keeping all the flavor values.
* You can safely freeze the dough, dumplings, noodles and various types of puff pastry or pizza.
* Biscuits and rusks can be stored in a glass jar or tin. You can throw a bit of thick salt, which absorbs moisture.
* Fats should be stored in a fridge or dark and cool place.
* Butter, margarine and lard keep in a closed glass or stoneware container - fat absorb odours quickly.
* Fresh butter should keep its properties of use until the date written on the package, however, if we keep it for a long time outside the fridge it may become rancid.
* Olive oil and can be stored in temperature of approximately 6-7 centigrades for 2-3 months.
* Dairy products tend to have very short time of usage and can be stored for only a few days. Only pasteurized milk and milk drinks in closed cartons are valid a bit longer (up to several months), and vacuum packed kefir, yogurt, cheese and processed cheese (about 1 month).
* Eggs can be safely kept in a fridge for about 1 month, preferably on a special shelf on the door.
Fish and seafood products
* Fresh fish are edible for only 1-2 days and should be stored in a fridge on a bottom shelf.
* Fish when they are gutted and cleaned, also ready fillets or seafood can be stored in the freezer for 6-8 months.
* Smoked fish should be kept at 5-6 centigrades, in a closed container so that other products won’t take characteristic smell of fish.
* Canned fish after opening can be stored for 2-3 days, provided that you remove them from tins and place in a closed container.
Meat and meat products
* Raw sausages and frankfurters should be stored in a fridge at an average temperature up to 4 days, dry sausage can stay up to a month, however whitish coating can show there can often on their surface, it’s better to clean it before consumption.
* Washed and dried raw meat can be stored in a fridge in containers designed specially for this purpose.
* Meat divided into small portions and placed in plastic bags can be stored in a fridge for 2-3 days.
* Once prepared meal shouldn’t remain at a room temperature longer than 2 hours (1 hour if the weather is extremely hot). Then you should put it in a fridge or freeze - otherwise it can lead to dangerous bacteria growth.
* Food that remains after a meal replace to a new clean container – don’t keep them in a pot in which they were prepared.
* Prepared food should be stored than 2-3 days.
* If you are going to freeze soup, noodles or meat, first cool everything in a fridge - this way you save the most of nutritional value.
* Thawed dish need to be boiled before serving.
* Absolutely don’t freeze thawed products once again.
7 practical tips and information
1. Stored food is a subject of constant changes, which influence not only on its microbiological, chemical and physical composition, but also may change its nutritional and taste value, structure and properties;
2. Storage conditions have the greatest influence on food going off (temperature, humidity level, the access of oxygen) also water content in the product - the more it is, the changes occur faster;
3. Most products naturally contains different types of microbes and even pathogens in their composition . Their elimination is possible only through careful preparation and proper storage of food;
4. Bacteria multiply fast at the temperature from 5-7 to approximately 60 centigrades; pay attention to store food as short as possible within these temperatures;
5. the term of validity refers to the product closed in factory, after opening they should be consumed as soon as possible;
6.Plastic containers for food storage should be certified by the National Institute of Hygiene;
7. Packed meals should be stored and prepared according to the instructions.