You took the time to select and pay for your groceries. Now protect your edible investments by storing food safely and conveniently.
- Keep a marker handy to write purchase dates on food packages before storing.
- Add new purchases to an inventory list of what you have in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, including purchase dates. Your inventory list makes creating a grocery list and meal plan easy without having to rummage through your kitchen.
Meat and Poultry
Ask the checker to place meat and poultry in separate grocery bags to ensure they don’t leak on other items. Unpack this bag first and chill within two hours of purchase or within one hour if temps are above 90 F. For the best quality, follow these storage times:
- Refrigerate raw poultry and ground beef for one to two days, and other cuts of meat for three to five days.
- Freeze poultry parts up to nine months and whole birds for up to one year. Freeze meat for up to 12 months. For ground meat or poultry, freeze up to four months.
Onions and Potatoes
Store these staples in a cool, dark place. Keep onions away from other produce, since fruits and veggies tend to absorb the onions’ flavor.
Prep grab-an-go portions of snacks, such as trail mix or pretzels, and store in a standard spot so family members know where to get them. Out of sight means out of mind. Designate a place in the fridge for nibbles as well, including cut-up veggies and fruits, hummus, grapes and cheese.
The produce listed here emit high amounts of ethylene gas as they ripen, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to deteriorate more quickly. Wrap these gas producers loosely to let the gas escape and store away from other produce: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes.
Cool foods to room temperature before storing. Trapping still-hot food in a container can promote the growth of bacteria. Freeze or refrigerate within two hours.
- Instead of jamming food wherever it fits, organize your fridge to keep like products together, older items in front with as many items visible as possible.
- Consider a lazy Susan to easily access condiments. Use shelf labels to map out where everything goes.
- For maximum food safety, allow for air circulation and keep your refrigerator at 40 F or below. An appliance thermometer is the best way to gauge the refrigerator’s temperature.
- Avoid cross-contamination by grouping uncooked meats separately in a refrigerator drawer or chill in the original packaging on a plate.
- Chill eggs in the carton for three to five weeks. Avoid storing in the door, since temperatures can fluctuate.
- Store produce unwashed. If washed before refrigerating, the excess moisture can speed up spoilage.
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