Food items, even when stored in the refrigerator, have only a few days of shelf life. Dairy and meat products can especially get spoiled very easily if they are not stored properly. Listed below are some safety and storage tips for refrigerating food like meat and dairy products properly:
- Refrigerating dairy products
Many dairy products we use in our everyday cooking, like fresh milk, cream, and some soft cheeses, lose quality quite rapidly when exposed to warm temperatures during the storage process as they tend to have short shelf lives. It’s important to check the temperature of your refrigerator and ensure that it is high in case you have some of these dairy products stored in it. You will also need to keep dairy products wrapped or covered as they tend to pick up flavors from the other food items stored in the refrigerator. Although hard cheese has a longer shelf life, it develops surface mold. Eggs also need to be stored in the refrigerator to lengthen their shelf life considerably and also help maintain the quality of the eggs.
- Storing raw meat products in the refrigerator
The term meat generally refers to and includes beef, pork, lamb, and such. Meat products need to be stored in the coldest section of your refrigerator. Fresh meat that is wrapped can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, and unwrapped fresh meat can be kept for five days at cold temperatures. Meat stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator can also become slimy and go bad when stored for long periods of time. Also, it is advisable to store meat in an adequately ventilated container so that air can circulate through the meat, ensuring that it stays fresh for longer.
Uncooked liver, minced meat, poultry, and seafood need to be stored carefully as they usually carry a large number of microorganisms and get spoiled faster. These can grow even in the refrigerator, so you need to store all these products in the coldest part of your refrigerator and ensure that you use them as soon as possible. These products should be stored for a maximum of three days, but you can store meat in the freezer for a long time. However, with this, keep in mind that the quality of the meat will deteriorate, so an important safety and storage tip for refrigerating this food is to consume it as soon as possible.
- Meat, poultry, and seafood must be refrigerated as soon as cooked
You need not let them cool on the countertop before refrigerating them. Modern refrigerators are quite capable of handling hot food items placed in them. Microbes start growing when the food is warm, and placing the cooked food in the refrigerator stops the growth process of the microbes, making it a helpful safety and storage tip for refrigerating food. Delicatessen meats like ham, corned beef, polish salami, and most other luncheon meat must also be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 4-5 days.