Spoiled food is money down the drain.
Getting the best of food nutrients all depends in consuming it during its shelf life. Eating spoiled food will cost you more than saving some pennies for your groceries. Even frozen food can be bad too.
Follow this basic guidelines to know how long our foods stay fresh and when to throw them on the bin:
Red meat will last 2 – 3 days in the fridge once you’ve gotten it home from the shop. The best way to store it is to remove it from its packaging and transfer it to a clean plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Store the meat in the bottom of the fridge – right up the back – this is the coldest part of the fridge and it won’t drip onto other food, which will contaminate it.
Mince should be used within 24 hours of bringing home from the shop.
To freeze red meat, place it in a freezer proof zip lock bag expelling all the air you can (air in the bag will cause freezer burn). Red meat can be safely frozen for up to one year.
White Meat (Chicken and Pork)
Chicken and pork are good to eat within 2 – 3 days after purchase. Like red meat, take the chicken out of its packaging and keep it on a clean plate covered in plastic wrap. Again, keep it in the coldest part of the fridge, which is the bottom shelf right up the back.
Chicken can be frozen for up to three months in a zip lock bag with all the air expelled. Never re-freeze chicken unless it has been cooked first. To defrost chicken from frozen, remove from the freezer and place on a plate in the fridge – it can take up to 24 hours to defrost. Never defrost chicken on a bench or you risk food poisoning.
Most veggies can be stored in the vegetable drawers of your fridge for about one week. Any root vegetables, such as potatoes are best stored in a dark place or the bottom of your pantry cupboard. Never store potatoes in plastic, put them in baskets or similar where the air can circulate around them. Fresh herbs should be wrapped in a damp tea towel and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Most fresh vegetables are not suited to freeze raw. For best results, you need to ‘blanch’ them first. Blanching means to immerse them in boiling water for up to 30 seconds, before immersing them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Then store in an air proof zip lock bag. Most vegetables can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Dairy and Eggs
Cheese is best kept on top of your fridge, sealed with plastic wrap – don’t let any air get in or it will go mouldy. Cheese also freezes well if grated first. It will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Just make sure you seal it in small zip lock bags – otherwise, the cheese might all stick together.
Eggs will last six times longer in the fridge than if you keep them at room temperature. They are best kept in the carton you purchased them in – placed on top of the fridge. When cooking, it’s usually always best to allow the eggs to come back to room temperature before using it. To test and see if an egg is still good or not – carefully drop the egg into a tall glass of water. If it floats, get rid of it. If it sinks, it’s fresh!
You may also label practice the principle of FIFO- First In, First Out. Putting the expiry date on food will help you determine when to cook meat and veggies.