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Storage Basics for the Home Kitchen

Updated on October 28, 2015

Food Storage

Food Safety Basics for the Home Kitchen

Food safety in the home is just as important as it is in a restaurant. Harmful bacteria can grow just about anywhere, and you want to keep your family safe from food poisoning that can endanger their health.

Cleanliness in the kitchen is up to you; wash your hands with soap and water before beginning any type of food preparations, cooking or between individual preparation stages.

Here are some very important rules:

• Always wash kitchen utensils in soapy, hot water between each preparation stage.

• Use plastic cutting boards; they are less likely to harbor germs. Wooden cutting boards tend to collect germs down in the cracks.

• Always use 2 different cutting boards, one for raw and one for cooked foods.

• When you are cleaning after yourself be sure to change dishcloths or dishtowels frequently because they collect bacteria and germs. This includes sponges.

• When grocery shopping pick up the refrigerated and frozen foods last and when you get home put them away immediately.

• Do not leave raw foods or leftovers at room temperature of any length of time, this can cause bacteria to grow and make you sick.

• Remove the garbage daily.

There are some items in the kitchen that need some special attention, they are listed below.

• When preparing meats, such as beef, fish, poultry, pork, and eggs take precautions to ensure that bacteria will not have the chance to grow. Don’t leave these items at room temperature for very long, and do not cross contaminate.

• When you are thawing out meats, make sure to store them on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so that any juice that may drip will not get on other foods. Thoroughly wash meat under running water and cook.

• Take the time to cook meats all the way through; the core temperature should reach 160 degrees F for at least 10 minutes in kill salmonella.

• Make sure that you use only fresh eggs for dishes that require raw eggs, store the prepared egg dish for no longer than 24 hours in the refrigerator.

• When you purchase shellfish it should be cooked the same day as purchase. Wash thoroughly before cooking and take care to pay attention to cooking times.

Velzipmur aka Shelly Wyatt

More Food Storage

Tips for Cold Storage

Once upon a time the pantry or the cellar was the only place people had to store produce so they could have it later for winter use. Today you can go to the grocery store and buy what you need fresh just about any time of the year. When the fruits and vegetables that you like are plentiful they are less expensive, you can buy these things when they are in season and store them thus saving you money. Some of the methods used by our grandmothers and great grandmothers still will work well today.

For the best conditions you will need a cool, well-ventilated basement or storage room or a frost free garage. The best temperature is between 39 and 41 degrees F. with humidity of 80 to 90 %. If your room is not humid enough you may place one or more buckets filled with water in the cellar. You can leave a bucket of damp sand in areas where the space may be to dry or warm. Before you begin to store your supplies you will want to wipe down your shelves with baking soda and water or vinegar and water to keep mold from growing and spreading.

  • Only store undamaged fruits and vegetables
  • Fruits with the exception of apples, pears, and grapes are not meant to be stored for long periods of time in a cellar. They suffer from cold damage starting at 50 degrees.
  • You can store apples individually wrapped in tissue paper or newspaper with the stems up on a shelf for about 6 months.
  • Pears are treated the same way as apples, be sure to store them when they are still firm.
  • Grapes can be kept for a fairly long time as long as you let them free hang, pluck the rotten grapes and close the cut surface of the stem with candle wax or a sealing wax so that it is airtight.

Veggies are great to store, so squirrel them away for a later date.

  • Potatoes can be stored in a wooden box that is well ventilated on the top and bottom or in a wire basket. You need to keep them in the dark, because light will cause a green spots on the potatoes and these are not good for your health.
  • Cover carrots in damp sand in a box to prolong their life.
  • Squash should be hung in clean pantyhose to decrease the strain of their own weight.
  • Cabbages can be tied together by the stem and hung on wires or beams with the heads hanging downward if possible. You can also store them on wooden shelves with good ventilation.
  • Store endives and root vegetables in a bed of sand on the floor.
  • Tomatoes can be placed on boards on the floor, not touching each other, in the Fall you can even pull up the tomato plant with green tomatoes on it and store upside down in a cool, well-ventilated place. In time you will have vine ripened tomatoes.

Storage in the yard, sometimes the cellar is just not big enough.

  • Choose a shady place in your yard
  • Carefully place small amounts of fruits or vegetables in a wooden boxes and bury them in a pit right under the surface
  • Line the box with a fine mesh wire to keep mice and other creatures out.
  • The moisture in the ground will help to keep the vegetables fresh. You can keep apples, carrots and celery for many months this way.
  • However, garlic, onions, ad citrus cannot stand to much moisture. They prefer dry conditions.
  • Onions should be harvested and placed in the sun for a few days to dry, then hand them individually, head down, in old, clean pantyhose with knots in between to keep them separate. Store in a cool, dry place
  • Garlic should be done the same way as onions.
  • Store oranges and clementines in a cool, dark environment and wrap them in tissue paper or newspaper. Check periodically and remove any rotting ones.

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