Increasing Shelf Life: How to Store Food Correctly?
Situations such as pandemic and natural disasters can make it difficult to buy groceries as regularly as we previously did. Instead, we rely on ordering in bulk, and less frequently. But buying food in large quantities means the chances of spoilage are increased. Here we’ve put together some tips on the proper storage of food to increase its shelf life.
How to Store Vegetables
Wondering how to store vegetables in the fridge properly? Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce stay fresh for longer when rinsed, wrapped in a tea towel and placed in a sealed container before refrigeration.
Store coriander and mint stalks in the fridge upright, with their roots dipped in a bowl of cool water. Pumpkins, potatoes, garlic and onions should not be refrigerated. Instead, find a cool, dry and dark spot for them and they’ll last much longer. Tomatoes can be stored at room temperature until ripe, after which they can be refrigerated. The blanching and freezing technique drastically increases shelf life, allowing most vegetables to last for up to a year.
Most vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, cabbage and celery should be stored in a refrigerator bag or container, in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Mushrooms are best stored in a paper bag. Make sure that you store vegetables and fruits separately in the fridge. This will prevent fruits from ripening too fast.
How to Store Grains
In general, whole grains have a longer shelf life than grain flours, and both last longer when frozen. With storage techniques like vacuum sealed mylar packaging, grain can last for years. However, if you’re simply looking to keep your grain fresh through the coming weeks or months, clean, dry airtight containers should do the job.
As opposed to their refined counterparts, whole grains must be stored more carefully. The healthy oils found in the germ of whole grains may get adversely affected by heat, light and moisture. So, take extra care while storing whole grains.
Be sure to choose good quality grain and check for pests before storing. It’s also important to choose a cool, dry and dark spot to store your containers as heat, air and moisture can spoil these grains sooner. Hard grains like wheat and corn tend to last longer than soft grains like quinoa and rolled oats.
How to Store Spices
We all know exposure to air and heat leads to a loss of flavour, so we store our spices in airtight containers in a cool space. However, light can also cause them to lose flavour, so it makes sense to store spices in a cupboard or drawer rather than on an open rack. It helps to keep spices away from the stove as moisture can greatly diminish their shelf life. It’s also best to avoid sprinkling spices from the container directly into a steaming pot. When it comes to containers, glass is a better option than plastic. Try and avoid freezing spices as temperature fluctuations can adversely affect their longevity. Adding salt to dried and crushed spices is also a good option, and you could choose to pickle whole spices like ginger and turmeric in brine for a prolonged shelf life.
Choose Tata Sampann spices as they are carefully packaged to retain their freshness for a longer time. Tata Sampann Spice Blends come in individual sachets designed to be perfect for a one-time use. This makes sure that the whole box is not exposed to the elements. This preserves the freshness, taste and aromas of the spices for a longer duration. The natural oils of the spices in Tata Sampann spices stay intact and these natural oils impart rich flavour and provide health benefits. Additionally, always pay attention to the expiration dates mentioned on the spices.
How to Store Fruits
Most fruit will last longer if refrigerated in containers with vents. However, certain fruits need to be allowed to ripen at room temperature before refrigeration. These include bananas, papayas, mangoes, melons, peaches, plums and guavas. Make sure to store apples separately as they can cause other fruit and even vegetables to turn ripe faster. Frozen fruit can stay fresh for up to a year. If you choose to freeze your fruits, be sure to wash and pack them in sealed containers before doing so.
Do you have any food storage tips of your own? Share them with us in the comment section below.
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