UBER COOL: Good Tips for you
These days it is good to buy foods by bulk. You get bigger discounts, and it saves you countless trips to the grocery.
If the foods are non-perishable like canned goods, you can easily store it in cupboards. Just take note of its ‘best before’ date.
Perishable foods, though, have to be kept cool or refrigerated to last longer. These food items include dairy products, vegetables, fish, and meats.
Aside from refrigerating them uncooked, you can also cook them instead, and store them in the freezer or refrigerator.
You can cook a big batch of casserole, portion it into smaller servings, and refrigerate in food-grade bags. So when you need it, you just have to pop it in the oven or microwave to heat.
Cooling or refrigerating is one of the more common methods of preserving food. The cooling process, which reduces temperature, slows down the growth and multiplication of micro-organisms that cause food to spoil.
HOW COOL IS COOL?
To preserve food, we use the cooling process. But how cool is cool? What should be the temperature of your refrigerator?
The ideal temperature is 35 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit. At 40 degrees, bacteria grow. At 32 degrees, foods freeze, and we don’t want that. We just want to refrigerate, to cool it.
How do you set the temperature? Refer to the manual of your refrigerator unit. The newer models have thermometers. The older ones use dials with numbers. Refer to your manual to know what each number indicates in terms of temperature. If you want, you can readily purchase a separate, freestanding refrigerator thermometer to be sure. It would work best to check on the different areas of your refrigerator.
Your freezer has a different temp. The upper shelves would have a different temperature from the shelves on the door. It is good to know specific temperatures so you can place dairy products in the coldest part, as they are more likely to spoil first, and condiments on the door area, which is the least cold.
UBER LOVE FOR YOUR REFRIGERATOR
Your refrigerator is not just any other machine. If you take care of it, it will ensure the safety and good health of your family. It will make sure your food products will not spoil. Take care of your unit very well.
Check temperature of different areas. Make sure containers are tightly sealed. Some members of the family may have taken a peek on a sealed container and may have forgotten to close it. Unsealed food will cause your refrigerator to smell. If there is a smell in your unit, place a small box of baking soda inside to absorb it. Wipe down the outside of your refrigerator, and the handles so you can get rid of sticky parts or spills.
Clean out your freezer. Remove ice. Firstly because too much will make it difficult to close the freezer door. Your food containers in the freezer will also get stuck. Secondly, ice may have been contaminated by odor or flavor of food left unclosed. You can remove freezer odor by placing a box of baking soda inside.
Every three months
Check your refrigerator door. Put a paper money half-way in, half-way out. If it slides down, your door does not close properly. It means cold air is let out, and your refrigerator is working double time to keep things cold. It can eventually slow down or damage your motor. You can clean the gaskets with soap and water, rinse it, and then dry. If it still does not close correctly, you need to have it changed.
TO CLEAN OR NOT TO CLEAN
When do you defrost and clean the whole refrigerator? Experts suggest doing it when there is too much ice. Or, every month as stated above, whichever comes first. After you defrost, it is good to clean the whole thing, inside and out. You can schedule your defrosting when there is not much content in your refrigerator.
Most refrigerators have a defrost button. Let your food products stay inside while it defrosts, so you can lessen the time it stays in room temperature. When the ice has melted some, you can remove it and place it in the sink. Put off your refrigerator, or better yet, unplug it. Wipe all areas of your ref with a clean cloth. If there is any odor, place a container of baking soda. Lastly, don’t forget the drain at the bottom. All the ice water would be there after defrosting. Remove it and wash. Then you can put back inside your food items, and put the refrigerator back on.
Remember, your refrigerator can keep food from spoiling, but it has its limits, too. If you want longer storage, you will have to freeze it. The freezer of your refrigerator can do the job, but for longer lasting and serious freezing, you need a real freezer for that. In a freezer, your food items can go for months.
Uncooked or raw food products, like meats and vegetables, are to be put in the refrigerator at the soonest time possible. Don’t let it sit at room temperature for a long time. You want to refrigerate it at its freshest.
Meanwhile, make sure to consume your refrigerated food items following this timeline:
Leftovers, cooked – 3 days
Salads – 3 days
Cold cuts, unopened – 2 weeks
Cold cuts, opened / sliced – 3 – 5 days
Meat products – 3 – 5 days
Poultry – 1 – 2 days
Also, to extend the freshness of food five times normal, you should vacuum seal your foods by using foodsaver vacuum sealers.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is the health of your family. Before serving or using any refrigerated food items, check it. Look, smell, and if possible, taste a little. If you have any doubts as to its quality and safety, throw it out. Don’t even give it to your pets.
Food poisoning can happen if any member of your family eats rotten food. Symptoms include upset or aching stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. It is recommended to consult a doctor when this happens. Food poisoning can be fatal if not treated promptly.
To avoid food poisoning, make sure to prepare your food using clean equipment and utensils. Your work area should also be clean and without pests, like cockroaches. Refrigerate your food at its freshest. For cooked foods, put in small containers, and let it cool before putting inside the refrigerator. Once a food has been heated, don’t put it back inside the refrigerator for later consumption. That is why it is important to heat only what you will consume.
Be safe. Eat, live and be happy!