- Food and Cooking
How To Shop For Fresh Groceries!
Mapping Out Your Grocery Shopping For Maximum Freshness!
In the not so long ago past our trips to the grocery store were specific "Get the Food and Go". Now with all these, "Super-city-block-sized" retail markets opening up everywhere, the consumers find themselves able to buy from Shoes to Bed Linens and Color TV's along with their regular grocery requirements. This ritual has easily doubled if not tripled the usual time allotment to food shopping.
In order to preserve freshness and quality of your groceries, a route or map of sorts needs to be set up and used. If you want to look everything over first and "window shop" the smart choice is to do that before beginning with the food.
1. Non-perishables: Although the beauty of the fresh produce attracts all your senses do not start with them. The first items to put into your shopping cart are what's called the "non-perishables" and they are all the center items of the store; such as canned and packaged goods, etc. Place items carefully to ensure that cleaners and bleach items remain away from your consumables.
2. Produce: Work from the back of the produce department starting at the "root" so to speak; potatoes, carrots...etc first. Zigzag through the vegetables and if at all possible double bag everything from the "wet counter". Remember most of these items still contain dirt from the farmer's fields. Bagging and tying all these items up keeps you from cross-contaminating your produce. Next on the list is the hard fruit, i.e. melons, apples... again double bagged, and then finally the soft fruit
3. Deli/Bakery: If possible get Deli sliced meats and cheeses double bagged too or use extra ones from produce. Remember to place all bakery items: bread, buns etc on the top of everything to prevent them from getting squished.
4. Meat/Seafood: Make sure all fresh meat and seafood items are properly packaged. Double bag if at all possible, especially the ground beef and shellfish products; i.e. fresh beef patties and raw shrimp. Get the poultry last. All frozen meat items can be carefully placed on top of all "cooler" products, including the deli meats.
*****At this point you're on the stretch for the ‘finish-line' there is product in the shopping cart that needs to be kept cold for optimum freshness. Stay focused on the task at hand now. (no little side trips to check out that gorgeous sofa)*****
5. Dairy: Pick outall dairy items needed leaving milk and eggs for last. Never pick the first or front bag or carton. Better dates are always at the back. Naturally check eggs for breaks -make sure egg cartons are clean, with no dried egg stains. Cheeses need to have a tight vacuum seal. Check best before dates on yogurt, sour cream etc... again the better dates are at the back.
6. Frozen food: All frozen food items should be evenly loaded on top of dairy items. Always get ice cream last.
This mapping of a grocery store will give a safer less "squished" shop.
Examine the cart:
All heavy items line the base, with the produce above piled beside the bread, all cooled items, meat and deli, are surrounded by frozen meat boxes, keeping the "cool" cool. Dairy items are covered with the frozen products and your ice cream has been out of the freezer for a minimal time. Everything is bagged to prevent cross-contamination. All that's left is a very careful pack up. When ever possible use cardboard boxes for all "cool" items these help to insulate foods for the ride home.