What's the best way to store food in the kitchen?
The key to proper food storage is forward planning. Follow our tips and tricks for smart grocery shopping, proper food storage and genius pantry organization.
Clear out your pantry and food cupboards
A well-stocked, well-ordered pantry not only means less time spent shopping, it also means you can rustle up something tasty when friends or family stop by unexpectedly.
For food safety reasons, throw out food that's past its expiration date. After that, try to keep an overview of what you have in your cupboard, so you don't end up buying things twice at the store.
- Check your cupboards and shelves at least once a month. That way you can avoid food going bad and buying things you already have. It also helps minimize the risk of attracting rodents and bugs.
- Well-run warehouses keep an inventory list of what they have in stock and what they still need to procure. Why not do the same in your kitchen? Then you can see at a glance what you have and what you need to buy.
- Dry goods such as pasta, rice, lentils, flour, jam, honey, spices, nuts, coffee and tea are all basic items to keep in your cupboard. This can be supplemented with "ready-for-any-occasion" items such as snacks, sauces and canned vegetables and fruit.
- Regularly check your cleaning supplies. Multipurpose and special detergents are always useful to have in the house.
If you know what you already have in your cupboard, you'll be well prepared when you go shopping for groceries. Here are some things to keep in mind for a more efficient trip to the store.
- A shopping list makes a trip to the store a lot easier.
- Shopping when hungry often leads to buying too much.
- For freshness and food safety reasons, making sure your packaging is intact and undamaged is vital. When selecting items from the shelf, double check to see that the packaging is not defective in any way.
- If you plan on buying frozen items, consider bringing an insulated cooler or bag to prevent these groceries from defrosting before you get home.
Store goods properly
Correct storage is very important because it affects freshness and taste as well as nutrient and vitamin content. Good storage can help avoid waste and therefore save you money.
- Many packaged foods have instructions on how to store them, so read and follow guidelines.
- In general, distinct rules are in place for dry versus fresh produce.
- Dry goods, such as rice, pasta, flour, sugar, etc. can be stored for longer periods of time. These items can be stored in the pantry or store cupboard, where they will remain cool (ideally below 68°F) and dry.
- Storage in jars and cans is particularly suitable for dry goods, as it keeps them dry and prevents odor transmission and pest infestation.
- Fresh produce includes food that needs to be refrigerated, such as meat, dairy, eggs, etc. If you don't consume them immediately, it's advisable to store them in the refrigerator. Always refer to the package information for proper storage.
- Most fruit and vegetables, including cucumbers and tomatoes, don't belong in the refrigerator because, depending on the variety, they can lose their firmness, taste and vitamin content. Exceptions include green salads, leeks and cabbage, as well as berries, figs and rhubarb.
- It is advisable to store fruit and vegetables separately, as gases that fruit may emit as it ripens can lead to faster spoilage.
- Frozen foods also have an expiration date and therefore don't last forever. Check them regularly to ensure they are still edible.