House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Refrigeration.... Are you making mistakes?

There is more than one way to waste money. Eating out, buying shoes that are not needed, buying anything that you already have at home. But also food waste. Making too much with intentions to freeze leftovers, or eat leftovers for lunches.. but then don't. Forgetting to date your leftovers, or properly store them. OR heaven forbid, not handling food correctly in the first place.

Something I DREAD to the utmost degree.. illness. But more than that.. the type of illness, I'm talking about food poisoning. This can make you vomit, get a fever, severe dehydration, diarrhea, stomach cramps, kidney failure, and more. It is dangerous, it is horrible, I loathe it. I do have something I use for it. 30 drops of GSE in 1/3 cup warm water with 1 to 2 tablespoons redmond clay, stirred well, and chugged everyhour.

So did you know that you could accidentally help yourself to get food poisoning? Here are some things to think about. Food borne illnesses are usually caused by food spoilage or improper handling.
So here is a list of some very common mistakes made in the kitchen:

  • sloppy wrap job: air is detrimental to your food. Air in the fridge and moisture are your foods enemies. Make sure all lids and caps are on TIGHTLY. Foil and plastic wrap are loose, and can have small holes you don't detect, both cause leakage and are expensive
  • store wrap: Isn't it convenient that the store wrapped your meat and made it so pretty on that styrofoam tray? NO. Any original packaging, including plastic wrap should be removed from produce, meats, poultry and deli items. There could be holes you can't see, or a loose flap, but almost always air around the food.
  • storing in over sized containers:  Like I just said, usually the meat from the store has plastic wrap around it, and there is a lot of air in that package too! Leaving too much space at the top of the container can speed up spoilage and freezer burn. Use the smallest re-usable container possible for refrigerator storage; wrap food for the freezer so it doesn't have any air around it.
  • incorrect fridge temp: a few degrees off or temperature fluctuation can mean your food spoiling. The fridge should be set to 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower; freezer set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Use a separate thermometer to confirm your temperature settings. Too low of a temperature setting in either compartment are energy wasters. Avoid overloading of unchilled food of either compartment that can cause temps to rise above safe levels.
  • storing the wrong foods on the fridge door: the door compartments in the fridge are 3 to 5 degrees warmer than the shelves inside so will cause food stored there to spoil faster. Perishables like eggs, milk and fresh deli condiments should not be stores in the door compartments. Reserve this space for foods such as mustard, relishes, and catsup or other sauces.
  • hot foods in the fridge: Hot leftovers should be cooled before putting into the fridge or freezer to prevent warming food around it that increases the rate of bacterial growth. Larger pots of soup and chili can be cooled in a sink filled with ice water or transferred to smaller containers for cooling. Be sure to get leftovers into the fridge with in two hours to prevent bacterial growth. Or flies
  • relying on the sniff test: The reality is some spoiled (ex.: botulism, Listeria) foods do NOT have any odor yet can make you VERY sick. The NUMBER ONE rule of food storage is if in doubt throw it out! I cannot stress this rule enough. Do NOT rely on the sniff test and never taste any food you think may have spoiled!
  • losing track of leftovers: This has happened to everyone. We are busy and sometimes forgetful. Any leftover that has been in the fridge for more than 3 - 4 days should be discarded. I love my sharpies for this reason! My kids and hubby have all learned to date everything that goes into the fridge. If you won't use it within a couple days, is it freezable?
  • not repackaging bulk quantities of food: Any family or club pack of meats, poultry or other food should be repackaged in the amount you will use with in a 4 - 5 day period with remaining perishable foods being repackaged for freezing, canning or drying if appropriate for longer term storage. If raw bulk perishable foods cannot be repackaged, they should be cooked then frozen.
  • not using appropriate food storage containers:Food containers such as take-out cartons, margarine tubs and yogurt containers may be suitable for very short term refrigerator storage, but they are not suitable for longer term refrigerator or freezer storage. Ideally use glass storage containers with lids in the fridge rather than plastic to prevent any potential leaching issues while the food is cooling or reheating.

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