Monday, May 7, 2012

Tips & Tricks for Keeping a Fresh Fridge

When purchasing fresh ingredients, think carefully about when you plan to use them and follow these general storage guidelines.

hands cutting vegetables
Use your produce while it's fresh.

Does the following scenario sound familiar? Sunday you go grocery shopping with every intention of cooking wholesome meals. Yet by the following weekend you’ve eaten lunches from the cafeteria, ordered dinner out and grabbed snacks from Starbucks. Meanwhile, those well-intentioned fruits and veggies no longer look so fresh.

The best way to combat the issue of storage is to cook in large batches whenever your schedule allows. This will use up fresh ingredients before they begin to lose taste and degrade in nutritional quality. As a bonus, you’ll also have premade meals for the coming days!

Whenever possible, store leftovers in glass containers with covers. Glass will not stain or absorb items from foods like spaghetti sauce, and glass is nontoxic so you don’t have to worry about dangerous compounds like BPA (a carcinogen found in many plastics). Leftovers should be used within three to five days but can be frozen for up to 12 months.

Most partially used fruit and vegetables can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to two days. When purchasing fresh ingredients, think carefully about when you plan to use them and follow these general storage guidelines:

  • Meat, fish and poultry — two days
  • Herbs, asparagus, berries — two to three days
  • Most fruits and greens — three to five days
  • Melons and most vegetables — one week
  • Roots and tubers — two weeks
  • Citrus — two to three weeks
  • Apples — one month

Remember, once a food has been removed from the Earth its vitality begins to decline. Use it while it’s fresh!

— Sarah Martin, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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