Unfortunately, it is common for people to accidentally waste their hard earned money by purchasing food that will quickly spoil if the appropriate methods aren’t used to prolong its quality. There are a few simple methods that can be utilized to prevent food from spoiling so readily.
First, and perhaps the most important, is avoid cross-contaminating the food. Uncooked meats, like chicken and beef, need to be kept in a lower department of the fridge away from the ready-to-eat foods. This will prevent the bacteria from moving from the raw meat and onto the already prepared foods. Most refrigerators will have a pull-out drawer at the bottom specifically designed for raw meat. However, the drawer is not necessary as long as the food is kept on the lowest rack to prevent it from dripping onto other foods.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Of course, another important factor in ensuring the quality of food stored in any refrigerator or freezer is keeping the temperature at an optimal level. This is primarily because bacteria grow exponentially in a certain temperature range, which is why food cannot be left out at room temperature for an extended period of time before going sour. It is typically recommended that the fridge should be set to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below; whereas the freezer needs to be set to a minimum of zero degrees Fahrenheit to keep the food lasting much longer than it would in a refrigerator.
The first part in properly storing food is to keep your food in airtight packages. There are many containers that can be used for storage that are fairly air tight, but using a vacuum packaging device is the only sure method for air tight storage. These packages will greatly increase the amount of time that food will last before spoiling. If a vacuum packaging device is not readily available, tightly packaging meat in freezer paper and sealing it with freezer tape will also maintain the meats quality by preventing freezer burn.
Freeze the Food
Items of food that aren’t anticipated to be used in the next couple of days should be considered for freezing. The majority of food items can be put in the freezer, if packaged properly. As mentioned before, packaging the food in an airtight bag with a vacuum would be the most optimal, but there are other options available. For instance, freshly baked goods should be given time to cool off before freezing to remove most of the moisture. It should be noted, however, that freezing foods is not an indefinite way to store them. They will still spoil after a set amount of time.
All in all, it is a combination of all of the previously mentioned techniques that will help keep the household from wasting money on spoiled food. The ability to package food in airtight containers with a vacuum device will be a great initial investment in reducing grocery costs, but being mindful of the ‘best by’ dates and deciding whether something should be placed in the fridge or frozen in the freezer is also very important.