Food Storage Guidelines
Proper food storage is absolutely essential to food safety and helps extend the life of your food. Thankfully, storing food safely is simple once you know the basics. Below, we’ll go over some common rules of food storage, which will help you properly keep your foods fresh and delicious.
All produce will last longer in the refrigerator. Even the life of foods like onions, which are often not refrigerated, can be extended in the refrigerator.
- Store greens in an open-ended plastic bag
- Store parsley and cilantro in a jar of water, with the stems in water
- Store other herbs by wrapping them in a tight plastic bag
- Store mushrooms and stone fruits in brown paper bags
- Consider prewashing and drying fruits and vegetables before storing for easier access
Out of all foods, raw meat is the most likely to make you sick if stored improperly. Here are the basics for storing meat:
- Food storage experts say meat should never touch other food items in your fridge, and you should pay close attention to the expiration dates on the meat you buy.
- Shelf life varies, but in general, fresh meat needs to be cooked within a few days of purchase, while frozen meat should be cooked within 1 year (for food taste/quality).
- If your fresh meat is nearing its expiration date, you can buy more time by sticking it in the freezer, properly wrapped.
Leftovers will probably make up a big part of what you store. Observe the following food storage tips for leftovers:
- Let hot dishes cool down a bit before placing them in the refrigerator.
- Use designated food-storage containers that are space efficient, such as Snapware® Total Solution™
- Thoroughly wash all food-storage containers between uses.
- When serving leftovers, thoroughly heat meat (to 165°F) and bring soups and gravies to a boil.
Rather than simply keeping them in the bags they came in, grains, flour and sugar will last longer when stored in designated containers, such as Snapware® Airtight Plastic Containers for maximum freshness.
Store cans and bottles in a cool, dark place. Cans don’t respond well to extreme temperatures, and certain bottled foods, such as olive oil, don’t respond well to excessive exposure to light.
- If you’re storing a lot of food, you’ll want to check your pantry periodically to ensure freshness.
- Make sure to mark a date on the lids with marker. It easily cleans off of any plastic Snapware products. You should look through the produce, leftovers and meat in your fridge at least once a week to ensure that nothing has expired or gone bad.
- In addition, you should check your refrigerator’s temperature periodically to ensure that it is at an appropriate level. Keep the refrigerator temperature at or below 40°F (4°C). The freezer temperature should be 0°F.
- Non-perishables don’t need to be checked as often; two or three times a year should be enough to weed out any questionable items.