How much food ends up in landfills and trash bins? According to the Catalyst Magazine, it accounts for 40% of the total food supply in the United States. In Utah, about 600,000 tons of food becomes waste each year. Each wasted meal represents a loss of income and savings.
People waste food in many ways, and one of these is improper storage. With the wrong temperature and techniques, produce spoils fast before consumers can make anything out of it.
To help minimize waste, save more money, and feed the family healthily, Utahns need to learn the essential guide to proper food storage. But first—
Fix Your Refrigerator
People have come a long way from storing food in earthen pots buried underneath the ground and crude iceboxes. With refrigerators, consumers can now store their produce at the right temperature fast and easy. The problem is these appliances can malfunction.
Anytime the fridge fails to freeze goods properly, it’s time to call an appliance repair specialist in Utah. Food, mainly fresh produce, needs the right temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold:
- The ideal temp for freezers is below 18 degrees Celsius or 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The fridge’s temperature is around 40 degrees Celsius or less.
Now, that’s out of the way, let’s proceed to the checklist:
What Goes into the Freezer?
- Anything bought frozen should also go into the freezer. These include fruits, veggies, and meats.
- Although raw meats and poultry should be in the freezer, they’re better off wrapped tightly in paper or aluminum foil. Utahns can then place these packed meats inside a Ziploc bag. All these steps prevent air exposure that can hasten spoilage.
The USDA discourages washing these types of produce before placing them inside the freezer. It’s also ideal not to remove them from the fridge unless they’re for thawing. As much as possible, meats should be at room temperature no more than four hours.
- The freezer can also store eggs and herbs. However, consumers must avoid storing the egg tray directly inside. Instead, they need to break the eggs and transfer them to ice trays. For herbs, they can place them inside ice trays and layer them with olive oil. When cooking, they can pop one of these cubes.
What Goes into the Refrigerator?
Consumers can store many fruits and veggies in the refrigerator. These include:
Dairy products, from milk to cheese, also need to be in the fridge. Bread can last longer when they’re inside too.
A couple of caveats, however:
- Before storing lettuce, consumers can wash them, but they need to remove excess water. They can place the produce inside Ziploc bags, layered with a paper towel that helps absorb excess moisture.
- Store cauliflower in the crisper with their head above, not on the floor of the storage bin.
- Some types of produce, such as apples, bananas, and tomatoes, produce ethylene gas that can speed up the ripening process of other foods. These include apples, pears, watermelons, peppers, and grapes. Learn more about ethylene producers, sensitives, and non-sensitives.
- Allow bananas and apples to ripen in the counter and then move them in the fridge.
On average, people in Utah spend between $2,400 and $2,800 on food. Although it’s lower than other states, it’s still a good amount of money to waste. With this guide, consumers can now keep their produce last long.