As a food scientist it is extremely frustrating for me to find food stored in the wrong way. Once you get home from the grocery store, WHERE you put your food is important. If you’re going to put it in the wrong place, you might as well just throw it out and save yourself the time.
There are 3 main conditions that dictate a good storage area from a bad one:
- Humidity – wet or dry?
- Temperature – hot or cold?
- Sunlight – dark or light?
Some foods I would say are okay to put where ever you want, wet/dry, hot/cold, dark/light, who cares!? These product are known as none perishable food items; they could last you through an entire winter. However, others are NOT okay to put anywhere. In my experience here are the top 4 misplaced foods:
- Potatoes – they like to be put in cool, dry and dark places. Put them in the fridge and they’ll become soft. Which is just gross.
- Bread – do NOT put bread in the fridge. This means, bagels, buns, pitas, loaves, ciabattas, focaccias and anything else that resembles bread. The only exception here is a sandwich, because what’s inside usually trumps the actual bread part. Think about that the next time you buy a pre-made sandwich. Why care? Bread in cooler fridge-like temperatures, goes stale due to starch retrogradation. What this means is, if your going to eat it, just leave it out, if you won’t, put it in the freezer for later. Too late? Put the refrigerated bread in a toaster. That should reverse most of the staling effects.
- Olive oil – Unless you buy olive oil in a dark/opaque container put your olive oil in a dark place. Light will make this costly product go rancid faster. If your oil is rancid, it’ll smell like plastic & obviously not taste as good.
- Milk/Meat – Generally, people are pretty good about this one. The time people forget is when they go grocery shopping early in their day of running errands. Once they come home their milk or meat has been sitting in their car for over hours! The generally accepted rule is to throw away your food if it’s been left out of the fridge for more than 2 hours. Unless you like food poisoning that is. Also try to put your lunch in the fridge, the time in between 9 and 12 is more than the 2 hour maximum.
Hopefully these rules have helped!
Why eat stale or potentially hazardous food when you don’t have to?