Sunday, 3 November 2013

Storing Fresh Food

I live far from "a close & quick drive" to the shops, & it has been a long time in me discovering the easiest and freshest way of storing food bought from the markets.

Nuts, Seeds and Grains are best stored for up to 3 months in a glass jar in the cupboard. I personally prefer to store these in a second refrigerator I bought or in the freezer as a back up. If they are soaked and dehydrated, they should not be frozen.
Dried Fruit is best stored in the refrigerator to prevent bugs from hatching. You can also freeze dried fruit with little or no effect on its vitality, since it lacks water.
I find for absolute freshness, spices should be replaced every 6 months, and stored in clear glass jars in your cupboard out of the light.
Fresh fruit is best at room temperature as the flavors seem to be much better. If you put these in the refrigerator, put them in a separate drawer with fruit only, as the gases will make other foods possibly go bad.
Vegetables are best stored in green plastic bags found for sale in a lot of produce sections. They help the vegetables to last much longer than regular plastic bags. If you store in any type of plastic bag, make sure the end is closed to prevent wilting; a piece of paper towel in the bag soaks up condensation & keeps the veggies dry. If you can fit your veggies into a glass container with a lid, that is always best. You can revive wilted herbs by placing them in a glass of cold water like a flower. Mushrooms need to be in a paper bag to avoid sweating.
Glass is always the best choice when storing food. In a personal experiment, I found that strawberries lasted 2 times longer when stored in glass on a paper towel, instead of their plastic container.
Even large salads can be stored in a sealed glass bowl. They look beautiful, and you can see them smiling at you in your refrigerator.
Always store your food in clear glass rather than plastic containers if you can, and label it with the date. There are lots of glass storage sets with plastic resalable lids available at a variety of stores.

Freezing destroys some of the nutrients in fresh food because of its water content. Some recipes can be frozen and defrosted and still be delicious. Some examples are raw burgers, raw apple pie, raw cheese cakes & sweet treats or anything that has low water content. Dried fruits, nuts, seeds and grains are fine frozen because they have no water.
Refrigeration - I like to go through my refrigerator at least once a week to prevent fresh foods from spoiling. I never know what's hiding back there!
I think bench/countertops are great for foods you really want to eat like fresh fruits, and raw snack foods in glass jars. If you can see them, you are more likely to make a healthy choice.

Labeling is important to keep foods rotated and fresh and to remember what that little "is it a seed or a grain or what?" thing is, especially in the freezer. Using a piece of masking tape or store bought label, write the date including the name of the item on the front edge of the container, this helps when looking for a specific made up dish or food in a hurry.

There are of course many other ways to use surplus  fresh food before spoilage; soups, juices, smoothies all use quite large quantities of fresh produce, & some of you may preserve your surplus or bulk buys by fermenting, drying, cooking or bottling.

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