Tips for Safely Storing Food at Home

Food safety.

On the one hand there are a lot of opinions and practices surrounding keeping food safe.

On the other hand not all of those are actually based on science.

Our friend, who lived in Spain, had spent a lot of time in somewhat remote jungle areas in his early days as a veterinarian. Refrigeration was non-existent. They kept food safe by heating it to a high temperature while securely covered which created a sterile environment. He continued doing that in Spain, which, of course, drove me a bit crazy. No one ever got sick at his parties.

On the other hand he refused to keep a jar of purchased mayonnaise after opening it. He did not refrigerate it…. Just tossed it out.

Read on for tips that may be a bit more…. acceptable.

Tips for Safely Storing Food at Home

Food hygiene is something we all expect from our supermarkets, restaurants, and food suppliers, yet it is a practice that is often overlooked in our own homes. As food is such an integral part of our daily lives (and essential for our overall health and nourishment), it follows that we should also maintain the same high standards of hygiene and food safety when it comes to our kitchens.

This is especially important due to the prevalence of foodborne diseases such as Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, and Staphylococcus that are rife today. According to figures published by the CDC, approximately 48 million Americans get sick each year from foodborne diseases and another 3,000 die as a result.

In an attempt to lower these numbers, there is a vital need to focus on food inspection practices and myths, as outlined by TDI Packsys, along with adopting improved food storage measures in your own home. This article has outlined some practical steps you can take to adopt proper food storage habits at home, helping to ensure the food you and your family consume is safe.

Safe Refrigeration Rules

You should always refrigerate perishable food products like meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products as soon as possible after you purchase them and ensure they are not left unrefrigerated for more than two hours at room temperature. When the room temperature is above  90° F this time limit is reduced to one hour. According to information from the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service, bacteria grow the fastest between 40 °F and 140 °F and double in number in just 20 minutes. Given this fact, this temperature range is also referred to as the “Danger Zone.

You should also refrigerate hot food items such as takeaways and leftovers once they have cooled to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. In addition to the safe storage of food items, it is also important to maintain proper hygiene practices for your refrigerator by practicing the following rules:

  • Clean up: Make sure to regularly clean your refrigerator and immediately wipe up any spillages that can become a breeding ground for bacteria and harmful pathogens.
  • Contain: When storing opened packaged food or leftovers in the refrigerator make sure to transfer them into an air-tight container or securely seal them in an airlock bag or cling film. This will minimize exposure to air, reducing the growth of bacteria and also prevent moisture loss, helping your food stay fresher for longer.
  • Close: To preserve the freshness of your food and minimize the growth of harmful bacteria, do not open food items like dairy, meat, or seafood until you are ready to consume them.

Freezing Food

Bacteria present in frozen food items can begin to proliferate once it has thawed. To reduce this risk, frozen food should be safely defrosted in a microwave and once defrosted should be stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to cook or consume.

As a general rule, once defrosted, food should not be refrozen as the thawing process promotes the multiplication of bacteria. However, if necessary, it is advisable to cook defrosted food before freezing it again as this will help to destroy the bacteria and pathogens present.

By following these suggestions you can ensure a safe food environment at home, ensuring healthy and hygienic meal times for you and your family.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Safely Storing Food at Home”

  1. We knew someone who spent months at a time on a boat. A small yacht would be a closer description. But they’d been boaters for many years and prior to having refrigeration on their boats, if they opened a small jar of mayo, they would never put the same implement in it twice meaning, they would use a knife to get some for a sandwich, then a clean knife if they needed to scoop a second time, etc. And would always make sure to keep the lid tight and not place it in direct sun or the dark. It would last almost two weeks that way and they never got sick. There were a lot of ways they kept their food safe without refrigeration while on their boats before they traded up.

    Also, I don’t ever refreeze meat because the texture gets terrible. The pre-packaged here will often have a notice on it “pre-frozen” so one doesn’t take it home and toss it in the freezer again.

    Reply
    • There are ways to live without a fridge – but when the power goes out suddenly it’s a panic to keep what’s in there lol
      I don’t refreeze anything either – except, probably, shrimp. I think it’s all flash frozen on the ships. But what I get is peeled and cooked, so I’m freezing it the first time in that state. I think. Texture is fine so I think I’m right.

      Reply

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