But before I share ideas and recipes with you, I want to find out just how versed you are on food preservation. One of the best-known methods of treating food is heat processing, or forming airtight seals around food in jars — but there's also fermenting, jellying, pickling, salting, and curing. Do you have the basics in the can? Let's find out when you take this quiz!Take the Quiz
- Keep unripe green tomatoes, stem side down, in a paper bag or single layer in a cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red in color.
- Perfectly ripe tomatoes, fresh from the garden or farmers market, should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up. Consume within a couple of days.
- Overripe tomatoes that are soft to touch with very red flesh are best kept in the fridge. The cold air will keep the tomatoes from ripening more and they should last for another three days. Before eating refrigerated tomatoes, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. This will allow the fruit to develop some of the flavor it has lost due to refrigeration.
What's your method for storing Summer's bounty of tomatoes?
Well, first things first, don't wash the berries until you're ready to eat them. Excess moisture could cause them to spoil quicker. Start by removing the berries from the store-bought package. Discard any that are starting to look bad.
If you've got a large fridge with plenty of space, store them in a single layer on a paper towel lined cookie sheet or plate making sure that none of the berries touch. Don't have a lot of room in the fridge? Place them in a glass container with a lid. If you're lucky, they will stay fresh for up to a week!
What's your tried-and-tested technique for storing fresh strawberries?
Along with those kitchen appliances that need to be stowed away and the cabinets that are waiting to be wiped down are probably a number of pantry items and refrigerated goods that have long surpassed their prime.
After all, what exactly is the shelf life of that bottle of ketchup, anyway? Before you get to that major project of deep cleaning your kitchen, brush up on your food storage knowledge.
Let's get started, shall we?
How long will . . .Take the Quiz
If storage and freshness are the only things that prevent you from going big, then check out my five ideas to keep food fresher . . . for longer. Dig into these tips and your pets will surely thank you for it (if they could talk anyway).
Now that I've got a new apartment, I'm joining the buy-in-bulk clique. More space to store . . . means less trips to the grocery store! While I had a tiny, cute pet food tin in my old place, I've upgraded in size to one of these Pet Food Containers ($20 and up) from The Container Store.
Not only is it big enough to keep North's jumbo bag fresh, I love the wheels to roll it out of the closet and in when mealtime is done. Easy to serve and preserve — well, that's what I call a win-win!
I was alarmed to read the results of a Consumer Reports study that said two-thirds of store-bought chickens were contaminated with harmful bacteria. The study tested 382 birds from 100 stores from 22 states around the country. Tyson and Foster Farms chickens scored the poorest — salmonella was found in 80 percent of those samples, while air-chilled chickens fared the best, with only 40 percent carrying bacteria.
The message is crystal clear: when it comes to food safety, a lot is left in the hands of the consumer. One of the biggest opportunities to cut down on contamination happens once the meat leaves the grocery store. If this new study worries you, always cook your poultry to 165°F to kill any bacteria that may be present.
Do you know how to properly handle your meat once you get it home? Take my quiz to find out . . .Take the Quiz
Take a peek into my kitchen cabinet for a healthy eating tip. If you can't tell from the picture those are jars with chalkboard labels. I've been using them for almost a year now and for two good reasons: health and money.
I love nuts but find that it can be easy to eat too many at one sitting. I use the chalkboard labels to remind myself of the nutritional breakdown of the stored nut and its serving size. For instance, on my almond jar I've written 20 almonds equal 180 calories, 14g fat, 7g protein, and 6g carbs. This method has been a really great way to keep me from overindulging.
Having these jars is also an incentive to buy from the bulk aisle. Most food, especially organic, is cheaper when purchased in bulk. Plus buying in bulk cuts down on wasteful packaging, and I don't confuse things that look alike. The labels create an easy way to remember cooking ratios — if I'm storing a whole grain or beans, I write the name of the grain and the ratio of the grain to how much liquid it needs to cook.
When I first saw Evert-Fresh Bags, I thought they were a gimmick. The thought of a bag being able to keep produce fresh for up to a month seemed impossible. But one of my old colleagues said that they worked for her, which made me curious enough to try them myself.
The bag is supposed to keep produce fresh by slowing down the ripening process and keeping bacteria from forming. The claims are pretty impressive — it absorbs the harmful gases that fruits and veggies give off like ethylene and ammonia, controls humidity, and minimizes moisture. From a scientific standpoint I have no idea if that's what's really happening inside those bags, but I can say that they do work.
To hear how they worked for me, read more