With strict guidelines still being implemented with regards to preventing the spread of COVID-19 such as self-isolation at home and social distancing, we are left with home-cooked meals as our best option to eat. This now increases our need to have knowledge of proper food handling, storage, and cooking techniques.
Cut-down trips on shopping malls, more money saved, and food waste reduced: these are some of the many advantages you can get from being knowledgeable about making food last as long as possible. To help you make the most out of your stocked-up food, we have prepared a few smart ways to do it.
Setting your refrigerator to the right temperature can help perishable items to last as long as possible. Ideally, your refrigerator’s temperature should be set at or 40 °F (4 °C), and 0 °F (-18 °C) to ensure fewer bacteria on your food. Put items like milk towards the back of your fridge since this area will always be colder than the refrigerator door. As for the door, condiments like mayonnaise can be situated there.
For proper food storage, remember to not let leftovers stay out at room temperature longer than two hours. Into smaller 1”-2” deep, airtight containers, distribute the leftovers, and let the food cool adequately before putting it away in the fridge.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, allow the leftover food to reach 165° F (74 °C) before reheating. Stir the food halfway through cooking when using a microwave. Remember to use a certified thermometer to check the temperature of your food in several places.
Don’t throw out the boxed foods in your cupboard if the date on the “best if used by” label has not passed yet. These dates mean the food may not be at the peak of their freshness, but they are still okay to be eaten most often. Perishable items such as meat, fish, and dairy often has the “use by” label. These dates are meant to be followed for your safety.
To know if the egg is still safe to be eaten, use a glass of water. If you have eggs with a recently expired date, drop it in water. If the egg floats, you will want to pass on using it, but if it sinks, that means the egg is still safe to be eaten.
To defrost, thaw your food properly, here are some methods that you can use:
Keep in mind that thawing food on the counter top or at room temperature can cause uneven temperatures throughout the food.
When cooking from frozen, allot an allowance for the cook time. It will take 50% longer approximately than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry.
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