If it is turning green or has become that mystery food in your refrigerator, then you really don’t need to be reading this article. You should have your head examined for letting it get to the point of no return! Storing meats, eggs, and dairy products is one of those things that can either make your food the talk of the party in a good way, or send everyone to the hospital with illness that could potentially kill.
So, how to handle these foods so that you are only given accolades instead of death threats? It is simple. Here are tips for some of the products that would fit into these categories:
Storing meat would depend on when you need to use it. If you buy in bulk, you should only keep in the refrigerator the amount you are going to use for the current week. Any excess you should prepare for the freezer to keep it fresh and available to be used when necessary. Storing meat in the refrigerator can sometimes be a tricky thing. First you must find where the coldest spot is in your appliance. To do this you could place a thermometer in your refrigerator on each level for 30 minutes, checking and writing down each temperature for the individual levels. The level that is the coldest should be the level meat is kept. It keeps it fresher longer and helps to prevent germs and bacteria from spreading and growing. Also, to store meat in the refrigerator, you should place a shallow container under the meat so that any juices in the packaging will not drain onto other foods and contaminate them.
Storing in the freezer is simple. If you chose not to unwrap and re-wrap meats when you come in from the grocery store, you can simply keep a roll of freezer paper on hand and wrap a layer over its current packaging. Most meats are vacuum sealed from the store so this helps to keep foods from freezer burn. By placing freezer wrap around the meat, you increase it’s freezer shelf-life by at least 4 weeks.
Eggs are a food that can be deceiving to the purchasing party. There are really no tell-tale signs that they are bad until you smell them during or after the cooking process. Eggs can be on the shelf for up to 30 days before they even get close to their expiration date. This is a little known fact, but the process eggs go through to get to your table is a long and drawn out one unless you buy from a local egg house or farmer. Storing your eggs should be similar to the process of storing your meat. They should be on the coldest shelf of the refrigerator. Letting eggs become room temperature, and sitting in that environment for more than an hour can be a problem for the health of whoever eats them. Salmonella can be a real threat to a person’s health and is often cause for hospitalization.
Products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt should not be kept as cold as possible as well. All of these products have cultures in them that heat accelerates their growth. Getting sick on milk will be something you never forget if it happens to you. That sour milk taste in your mouth can last what seems like forever!
Keeping all these foods at the coldest temperatures possible without freezing them is the key to keeping yourself healthy, and making the best tasting foods from their base product. If a recipe calls for any of these items at room temperature, make sure you keep out only the amount needed for the recipe and put the rest up so that they will be the freshest possible for the next recipe.