Many of us store foods in a haphazard way; some items obviously require refrigeration, and others are less clear. But, if you fail to refrigerate certain foods, you can significantly shorten their lifespan and make them less flavorful. In this article, we will take a closer look at six foods that need to be kept in the refrigerator and some general storage advice.
- Cooking Oils
This may surprise many people, but it’s always a good idea to keep all of your cooking oils in the refrigerator. Cooking oils can easily become rancid when they are exposed to sunshine and the heat of a busy kitchen. They should be stored in tightly covered cruets and kept cool when not in use.
By their very nature, condiments need to be strongly flavored to enhance the tastes of other dishes. This can make condiments very susceptible to losing their flavors due to heat and other environmental factors. Storing condiments, such as ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, and horseradish in your refrigerator will keep them tasting better for longer.
Many people store their produce out in the open in a bowl or another open container. This will shorten the lifespan of the produce, and this can lead to a great deal of food waste. But, if you refrigerate produce, such as avocados, bananas, and citrus fruits, they could last four times longer than those stored in the center of your kitchen table.
Syrups have a strong taste, but they are affected by heat and sunshine, and they need to be stored in the refrigerator. Maple syrup can spoil very quickly if it’s left out on your countertop in sunlight. If you use chocolate syrup, it can be stored for up to six months if you keep it in a refrigerator.
Any types of nuts and associated nut butters should be kept in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Nut butter can go rancid quickly if it’s left out in the kitchen, and nuts could last for almost a year if they are kept refrigerated.
- TCS Foods
Temperature controlled for safety foods (TCS) are those that are particularly vulnerable to pathogen growth. They often have proteins, carbohydrates, or moisture levels that bacteria require as a growth medium. If TCS foods stay in the 41ºF-135ºF for long periods, the pathogen growth makes those foods unsafe to eat. There are many TCS foods, such as meat, poultry, dairy, cooked rice and vegetables, cut leafy greens, raw sprouts, cut tomatoes, garlic in oil, and cut slices of melon. Any TCS foods left out for longer than four hours should be thrown away to avoid becoming ill.
General Refrigeration Advice
Invest in a refrigerator thermometer to keep the internal temperature in the idea 32ºF-40ºF range. Keeping the temperature too high can spoil your food, and if you go too low, you’re wasting energy and driving up your bills.
Arrange the foods in your refrigerator by the cooking temperatures with lower requirements on top and higher temperatures below. This will keep your foods safer from any bacteria because leaks from food stored above will be subjected to higher cooking temperatures.
If there is a power outage, keep your refrigerator door shut as much as you can. A refrigerator can continue to keep your food cold for approximately four hours if you keep the door closed.
On each shelf, you can store your food by the expiration going from left to right. This is an easy way to see what you have and what you need to use first without too much thought. This will minimize food waste and save you money on your grocery bills.
If you are considering a new refrigerator to prolong the lifespan of your food, you can explore the options with our online collection of refrigerators or speak to a home appliance specialist for further guidance.