The Italian nation sure know how to cook. Who doesn’t love a homemade pasta which has a sprinkling of fresh basil on the top? Someone who can say no to that must be an odd sight. It is safe to say that basil is a firm favorite. It is for this reason that when it is stocked at the grocery store, people tend to bulk up on the fresh and delectable leaves. For a few days they try to include it in every meal they prepare because basil is amazing, but inevitably in a couple of days the leaves turn black and they land up in the bin.
This does not mean that all help is lost. You do not have to simply stop buying the herb because it goes bad too quickly. If the herbs are stored correctly, then black basil need only be a thing of the past. The key to preserving the freshness and bright green color of basil is moisture and temperature.
Ideally, plants like this should be kept in an environment which closely resembles its natural habitat. This means that basil will last longer if the stems are placed in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill. This will stop the herb from dying and it might even start sprouting roots which could be planted in the garden.
If for whatever reason, this is not an option then the fridge is suitable. But, packaging and placement are important. The stems should be wrapped up in a damp paper towel and then put into a plastic bag. This must be placed in a crisp drawer or in the door of the fridge. The door is not as cold as the rest of the fridge and will keep the leaves from being destroyed by the cold climate.
Potatoes are bought in bulk. This is partially because they are mainly sold this way and party because we use so many of them on a weekly basis. Potatoes can be served boiled, mashed, fried, baked or even as a component of larger dishes. They are versatile, they are delicious, and they can be eaten by absolutely every member of the family. If the Irish love them and Matt Damon can survive on the on Mars, then why not stock up on these roots and go to town on them every day. This is absolutely fine and provided that these potatoes are not drenched in oil, butter or cream, they do make for a perfectly suitable and affordable staple.
But, they must be stored correctly. They cannot be stored in the fridge or in direct sunlight. The cold fridge will make them gritty and sweet while the sun will stimulate toxin growth. This is both a health hazard and a taste hazard.
Potatoes need to be kept in a location that is both cool and dry. This could be in a pantry or in basket drawers. They should be stored separate from other fruits, as these could land up taken on the flavor of potatoes. While potatoes are great, this is wildly undesirable.
If you have prewashed your potatoes, then ensure that they are completely dry before packing them away. Potatoes can start photosynthesizing and sprouting roots if the optimum environment for this is produced. Rotting is also a possibility and should be avoided at all costs. The take away here should be that these veggies do not need or want water, sunlight or any other fresh products near them.
Nuts are a wonderful source of protein and natural oils. They can be eaten as a snack, added to salads, blended up in a smoothie or packed into a baggie and taken on an outdoor adventure. The allure of nuts is that they are tasty, convenient and they are healthy. They are the perfect food. At least, they are perfect for people who are not allergic to them. If you are one of these unfortunate people, then rather skip to the next point.
While nuts are a much-desired little food, they are incredibly expensive. Peanuts may be affordable, but almonds, cashew nuts, pecan nuts, walnuts and the rest of them are quite able to break the bank. For this reason, nuts ought to be stored properly if you are to avoid tossing them in the trash prematurely.
Airtight containers and resealable bags are the only safe options. Unopened packages of nuts can be left alone for awhile but as soon as they are opened, they need to be placed into one of these. Regardless of whether the nuts are repackaged or in their original packaging, they cannot be stored at room temperature.
The naturally occurring oils in nuts may be desirable for health reasons but they are also the prime cause of spoiled nuts. Heat, even room temperature heat, makes these oils go rancid. This produces a sharp and bitter taste which is completely unwanted when it comes to nuts. If nuts are stored correctly, they can last for over a year. This simple storage routine will ensure the taste and quality of the nuts and will stop them from landing up in the bin.
In previous years eggs had been condemned because they were thought to have alarmingly high levels of cholesterol. It is only recently that studies showed that eggs actually have good cholesterol. This means that people can eat up to three eggs a day. This not only provides them with the aforementioned good cholesterol, but it also delivers a large dose of protein. With this newfound knowledge, people have been stocking up on eggs. They have poured through Pinterest recipes and started practicing new egg making techniques all in an attempt to eat more eggs.
There is a lot of misinformation on the correct storage of eggs. Each household each claim to have their own tried and tested method for preserving their eggs. Who is to know which is healthy and which is harmful? The simple answer is that eggs should be kept at a constant temperature. This obviously excluded leaving them out in the open. Room temperature fluctuates during the day which could hinder the integrity of the egg.
The best place for an egg is in the fridge. Here they can settle in an environment where the temperature does not fluctuate routinely. They can even be boiled first and then refrigerated safely for a few days. Eggs can also be frozen safely. But, this does not mean that they can be put carton and all into a freezer drawer.
There are two freezing options available. The first being to crack and separate eggs whites from the yolk and them place them in separate and sealable containers. This method is best for bakers. The second freezing method is to crack the eggs and beat them before freezing them. This makes for convenient scrambled eggs or omelets in the morning.
12. Meat, fish, and poultry
Every month there is a new fad diet that hits the market. A few years ago, it was the paleo and banting diets. These had people eating large quantities of animal protein as the claim was that a person who ate like our cavemen ancestors was healthier and happier than their modern counterpart. Whether these diets produced the desired result or not is unclear. But, people wound up eating vast amounts of meat.
If these products are purchased organically, then they can form part of a very healthy diet. The other requirement is that they are stored properly. Meat, fish or poultry that has been left to go bad cannot be eaten. There is no grey area here. Rotten meat can make a person extremely sick. Meat that is not cooked properly can make a person extremely sick.
The first step to avoid this kind of food poisoning is to store meat in the correct place. If meat is being stored in the fridge then it must be kept at the bottom and in a resealable container. It cannot be eaten after its use-by date and it must not be stored with already cooked meat or other pre-made food.
Meat can also be safely frozen for extended periods of time. Meat that has been frozen before its use-by date can be left in the freezer for up at six months, and even longer. To avoid freezer burn, these must be packaged properly. Freezer burn affects the integrity and quality of the meat. If left in the freezer for more then 6 months, then try marinating the meat in order to improve the texture.
Only an experienced chef or person with a large family does not have to deal with leftovers. For the most part, no matter how much planning is involved, meals do not all get eaten in one sitting. There are generally leftovers. This can be quite a blessing on those evenings where the thought of cooking a whole meal is simply unpalatable. Utilising leftovers is also the key to living consciously and mindfully. Letting these go to waste is irresponsible. But, how does one make the most of these?
Cooked leftovers need to be cooled quickly. Letting it cool at room temperature is fine, but it is better for these dishes to be cooled within 2 hours of cooking. Once cooled, they can be frozen or placed in the fridge.
Leftovers that are placed in the fridge need to be eaten within 2 days. They should not be left in the fridge for longer than this. If this is too short a period, then it is safer to freeze these foods. Frozen leftovers should de be divided into individual portions and placed into sealable containers. These can then be left in the freezer for a few weeks.
When you are ready to eat these already made meals, then it is safe to remove them from the freezer. Frozen food must be thawed fully before eating. They must also be eaten within a day of being removed from the freezer. To achieve this, remove the correct amount of frozen food at a time. The last step that ought to be taken in order to maintain the integrity of the dish, is to never refreeze already thawed food. This promotes the growth of bacteria which cause food poisoning.
14. Food that can safely go in the fridge
As seen with the previous items, there are some products which cannot be stored in the fridge. While the cool environment of the refrigerator may damage certain products, it is quite vital to others. Before the invention of the electronic ice-box salt and vinegar was used to preserve food. This was done because both of these impair the growth of bacteria and it is bacteria which results in food poisoning. Luckily, this is not necessary anymore. While the fridge is a marvel, it does need to be used correctly.
Any product which has a label that includes the terms use-by and keep refrigerated obviously should be put promptly and permanently in the fridge. These include things like ready-made meals and dairy products such as milk and cheese. Opened canned foods should not be refrigerated. These can last months and even years if they are kept sealed. But, once they are opened, they can imbue a metallic taste from the metal of the can if left in the fridge.
It is safer to pour the remaining contents into a sealable container and only then place them in the fridge. These are the guidelines which govern refrigerating food, but they are thoroughly useless is the fridge itself is not in working order.
The temperature of the fridge must always remain below 5C. Your fridge may have a digital display and if this is the case, it should be routinely compared to the internal thermometer to check its validity. A fridge also needs to be cleaned regularly. This will maintain the hygiene of the environment and keep the fridge in working order.
15. Food that can be frozen
When it comes to the freezer, the sky is the limit. Basically, any and every type of food can be placed in it. If certain foods are left in the freezer for extended periods of time, then there may be an issue with quality, but most products should still be safe to eat.
Products which can be placed in the freezer include milk, yogurt, meat, fish, eggs, poultry, rice, bread, and baked goods. All of these do not require any intensive preparation. All that needs to be done is to place them in a sealable an airtight container. This prevents the cold air from coming in contact with the food. Cold freezer air can dry out food which essentially decreases its taste and nutritional value.
Products which have a lot of water in them tend to change consistency when frozen. This includes things like strawberries and tomatoes. Once frozen, these foods can become squishy. While this is undesirable when eating these products alone, they are still perfectly suitable for cooking. It is inadvisable to freeze dairy products such as soft cheese as the cold temperature may impact the protein structure.
Raw meat, poultry, and fish should never, under any circumstances be refrozen. If, however, you have defrosted it and are not ready to eat it then cook it first. Cooked meat can be refrozen but only once it has cooled down thoroughly. This is a marginally safe practice, but it should not be the norm. Refreezing meat, even cooked meat, can increase the chances of food poisoning and it will severely impact the quality and taste of the dish. A freezer must also be thoroughly defrosted and cleaned every few months.