Neighbourhood Lifestyle Desk: Summers are here and your refrigerators have got some serious work to do. Refrigerating your food correctly is important to ensure that it remains bacteria free and safe to eat. Here are some important points to be remembered with regard to refrigerated and frozen foods:
- Cold storage of raw, processed or packaged food should be according to the type and requirement of the food concerned.
- The temperature of the refrigerator should be maintained at -5°C.
- The temperature of the freezer should be maintained at -18°C.
- Food to be kept for refrigeration should be distributed in small volumes to ensure uniform cooling.
- Freshly cut or juiced fruits should ideally be consumed immediately. However, it can be covered and stored for short periods in a refrigerator.
- Cooked food to be consumed later should be cooled quickly, and kept in the refrigerator – labelling the food packages with date using stickers to keep track of food prepared is a good practice.
- In the refrigerator, keep cooked food on top shelves and raw food on bottom shelves.
- Potentially hazardous food like meat, fish and poultry should ideally be stored frozen at or below -18°C, but may also be refrigerated at or below 5°C. These items must be covered and stored below cooked food in the refrigerator.
- Pre-cooked food items such as French fries, aloo tikkis, etc, require to be kept frozen.
- Tin can cause your food to develop a metallic taste while stored. Instead, transfer the contents to a different storage container before refrigerating
- When food is not stored properly, it can grow harmful bacteria that can make a person ill. Plastic storage bags can burst or tear when moving food around in the refrigerator, which can cause growth/spread of bacteria.
- Packaging must obviously be able to withstand temperatures without breaking, cracking or shattering.
- The packaging chosen must be able to preserve flavour, colour, moisture content and most importantly the nutritional value of the food. Using inappropriate storage for your food reduces the quality of the product.