Posted on September 14th, 2018
Maybe you’ve worked in a restaurant or spent a lot of time helping family in the kitchen, or you watch every cooking show on TV. In that case, you probably already know these simple but vital kitchen basics that keep you healthy and safe. However, there are plenty of people who somehow missed a lot of kitchen basics growing up. Perhaps you find yourself living in your first apartment and want to try your hand at cooking instead of living on delivery or microwave meals. No matter the reason, here are some simple food safety tips every adult should know.
Just because you bought something that can be stored on the shelf before opening doesn’t mean it can stay on the shelf after opening. Check those labels to see if you should refrigerate after opening. When in doubt, put it in the fridge to be on the safe side. Condiments, canned goods, jarred goods, and anything that originally had an air-tight seal will most likely need to be refrigerated after opening. Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pudding, salsa, applesauce, and soy sauce are just a few of the examples of things that should be refrigerated after opening.
Of course, just because it’s in the fridge doesn’t mean it will last forever. Any canned goods should usually be eaten within a day or so of opening. Beans, tomato sauce, tuna, and other canned items should be put in a proper storage container if you’re not using all of it. Some jarred items like olives and pickles may last longer, but they should still have their liquid and be tightly sealed. Some packaging will suggest how many days an open package can be stored.
Speaking of sealing up goods, it is vital that you properly seal and package everything when you put it into the fridge. If you don’t, they’ll likely dry out; at worst, they could make you sick or contaminate other foods. Your kitchen should be stocked with multiple sizes of plastic or glass storage containers and Ziploc bags. For example, if you buy a package of hot dogs but won’t be eating them all, take what you need and then wrap them up in plastic wrap or freezer Ziploc bags and store the uneaten hotdogs in the freezer until you need them. You can do the same with buns, bread and a variety of items that defrost quickly. You’ll save money and stop wasting food.
Not all food items need to be refrigerated, but you do need to be careful with storage. Flour, sugar, rice, quinoa, and coffee all need to be stored in airtight containers once they’re open. Otherwise, you run the risk of small bugs invading. Fortunately, there are a variety of containers available that are perfect for storing these goods, from plastic storage containers to glass jars. Think back to those canisters marked flour, sugar, etc., that you probably saw on your parents’ or grandparents’ kitchen counter. They knew what they were doing!
These are just a few tips that may seem basic, but not everyone follows them. Hit up one of the home goods stores and the grocery store for plastic wrap, resealable storage containers, and Ziploc freezer bags to stock the kitchens in your home. And don’t forget to clean out your refrigerator regularly! Toss anything that’s even remotely questionable and don’t wait until you’ve got a science experiment developing. It’s better to be safe than sorry, plus, you’ll save money by not allowing as much food go to waste. Win-win!
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