Sure, you buy the right kinds of food as advised by your doctor or dietitian. But how much of the goodness of fresh foodstuff goes into your diet? This depends greatly on how you store your food. If you take special care in selecting what you eat, you also ought to be especially careful about how you store all the selected foodstuffs.
Here are some tips that will help you to preserve the food value in what you cook or eat.
. The refrigerator is a wonderful invention in this respect, and the predominant kitchen appliance you use for storing food. But are you using your refrigerator in the right way to retain the freshness of the stored foodstuffs? For stopping the growth of harmful bacteria and other microbes that spoil food, you need to keep the inside temperature of the refrigerator somewhere between 33-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer temperature, however, should be sub-zero. If things inside the freezer aren't frozen solid, then the temperature is too high. Reset it accordingly to lower degrees so that all your meat, fish, seafood and other foodstuffs that require freezing temperatures remain fresh for longer periods of time.
. Try to keep the door of the refrigerator closed for most of the time. Open it only briefly and close it as soon as your job is done. Don't chat on the phone holding the door open with one hand. It reduces the effectiveness of the machine and thereby the quality of foodstuffs stored inside. Follow this rule more strictly if you're experiencing frequent power cuts.
. There are some kinds of foodstuffs that do not refrigerate well. Dairy products with a high fat content, like butter, cream and cheese, will tend to separate into their components when taken out and defrosted. Certain types of cheese and cream will not spoil easily, so it's probably better to keep them outside. See labels for more instructions. If your cheese becomes moldy, you can normally cut off an inch on that side and use the rest. However, in the case of the softer cheeses like Cottage, Brie or Cream, it's best to throw the whole thing away.
. Certain vegetables with high water content, like lettuce or cucumbers, tend to become soggy when kept in the fridge. Buy only as much as you need to, and eat them fresh.
. When storing vegetables in the fridge, put them in directly without washing, and wash them only when you take them out for cooking or eating. This will keep them fresher, and preserve more food value.
. It's a good idea to defrost food in the microwave. But when you do, don't delay much before cooking it. Thus quickly cook the microwave-defrosted foodstuff and avoid putting remaining portions of such defrosted food back into the fridge. Remember, the microwave cooks it partially while defrosting, and it's not at all a healthy practice to store partially cooked food in the fridge.
. You can store fully cooked food in the refrigerator, but only when you have let it sit out for at least 2 hours after cooking.
. Food items that aren't easily perishable, like canned foods and spices, should be kept in a cool, dark place rather than in the fridge. The best places are inside storing cabinets that aren't anywhere near stoves, ovens, microwaves and such heated areas. Most spices will keep well for at least six months and up to or more than a year from the manufacturing dates, so you needn't really worry about them.
. Be careful about canned food though – if any of the cans are even a little bloated, bulging or puffy, throw them away directly without even trying to open them. They may contain food that has gone stale and is capable of causing food poisoning.