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Prevea Health

Preserving extra food

 
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Since people have been instructed to stay home, they don’t venture out as often to go grocery shopping and are making more food at home. Therefore, people are more likely buying larger quantities of groceries. Hoarding or purchasing extreme amounts of groceries is not necessary, but do you find yourself buying larger amounts of produce, staples, dairy and breads, etc. anyway? Here are a few tips for the best ways to store these items and preserve their freshness.
 
Produce: Some fruits naturally emit ethylene gas and this gas can speed up the ripening process of other produce near it. Keep fruits and vegetables stored appropriately according to whether they produce ethylene gas or if they are sensitive to it. For example, leafy greens are the most susceptible to ethylene gas spoilage, so be sure to keep them away from producers like apples, stone fruits, bananas, pears and tomatoes. Check out more ways to store your produce based on sensitivity.
 
Dairy: Dairy items have varying shelf lives based on how it’s produced.
 
Cheeses, based on their variety, have unique storing needs to help retain their freshness. Click here for specific details from eatingwell.com. Bottom line, store cheese in a refrigerator drawer because it contains higher humidity to maintain its freshness.
 
Store milk in the back of the refrigerator where it is colder, away from the door. Milk can also be frozen if you won’t use it by the “use by” date on the carton. To freeze milk, take a little out of the jug to allow room for expansion and then label the milk. To label, write the number of days remaining before the due date. For example, 1 week before its due date, put 7 days on the carton. When you unfreeze the milk, you will know you have 7 days to use it from the day it was unthawed.
 
Butter should be stored in the refrigerator where it can be kept cold and fresh. Even though leaving it on the counter makes it easier for spreading, it is best kept cold.
 
Bread: If you purchase too much bread, you can store the extra in the freezer. For homemade bread, you will want to consume it in a couple of days as it was not made with preservatives. Keeping the bread in the refrigerator can slow down the spoiling process.
 
Eggs: Store eggs in their original carton on an inside shelf of the refrigerator. Try to keep eggs away from pungent foods such as garlic, onions or raw fish to avoid absorbing odors. If stored this way, you can expect raw whole eggs to stay fresh up to three weeks after purchase.
 
Flour and grains: Flour should be refrigerated or stored in the freezer. Whole-grain flours are especially in need of cold storage, as the natural oils present in these grains cause them to go rancid more quickly. An airtight container should be used to store flour away from other pungent-odor foods.
 
Meats: Once you leave the grocery store, meat should be transferred to your refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible to reduce the risk of spoilage. Keep meat wrapped tightly to minimize air exposure and place in a bowl or pan with sides to prevent leakage onto other foods. If you aren't planning to use meat within a few days after purchase, you can freeze it for six to 12 months (depending on the type of meat) in freezer-safe packaging.
 
Nut and oils: Store nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh. The natural oils in nuts can cause them to go rancid if they aren't stored at cold temperatures. Likewise, exposure to light, heat, oxygen and humidity can make them go bad quickly. You can also store your natural nut butters in the refrigerator as well. Oils are fine to keep in your pantry or in a cabinet, as long as they are in a cool, dark place. Light, air and heat all contribute to oil's deterioration, so keep your oil away from the stove when you're cooking or baking. When purchasing oil in bulk, or if you know you won't get through a bottle within a month or two, you can refrigerate the bottles and let them come to room temperature before using.
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