Where would we be without refrigeration? Nowadays we take it for granted, but only a couple of generations back our grandparents were thrilled to add this wonderful new electric marvel into the family kitchen. Refrigeration has completely transformed the way we buy, store and use perishable foodstuffs and nowhere more so than for anyone involved in the catering industry.
Storing food correctly and appropriately can make all the difference between a product that goes off too quickly and needs to be discarded, and ensuring that the same product continues to be safe, hygienic and palatable for longer than a couple of days.
The Food Standard Agency offers practical advice on temperature levels and where in the fridge to store your food items.
Check that your fridge is up to the job, particularly if undertaking commercial refrigeration for catering purposes. Temperature settings must be accurate: if in doubt look for a more up-to-date model – sites such as fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk are a good place to start.
According to The Telegraph, there are some foods which should never be stored in the fridge, including pears, plums and peaches, as these fruits all emit a gas which causes your other perishables to degenerate sooner.
So once you’ve removed these culprits from your fridge, what’s the best way to store your refrigerated goods to maximum effect? Experts agree that overstocking your fridge is counterproductive as it lessens the cooling effect, but haphazard storage means that you won*t make full use of every last item. This is where you need to get up to speed with food containers.
Tupperware (and other plastic storage containers)
Usually transparent, making it easy to see the contents, plastic or Tupperware containers are one of the most commonly used food storage containers to be found in fridges up and down the land. Available in a huge range of shapes and sizes you can write on them in marker pen or add labels showing the contents and date.
Thin film that, as the name suggests, clings to itself is invaluable for wrapping small items or awkward shapes. Use it to cover food stored on plates to seal in freshness and keep odours at bay.
Unlike cling film you can’t see what you wrap in tinfoil, so make sure you date and label anything stored in this material.
Bottles, jars, bowls and dishes made from glass are a good option for a range of solid and liquid leftovers, allowing you to see at a glance what you have stored.
Usually made of foil or cardboard, disposable trays come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, often with cardboard lids which make it easy to write on the contents and date. They can go from fridge to oven saving additional time in washing up.
Baskets made from wire, plastic or cardboard are great for storing food items as they slide in and out easily allowing you to see at a glance the items that might otherwise be overlooked.
Wire-ties or plastic zips make accessing the contents easy for fridge or freezer use.