Most refrigerators are kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the standard in food storage and refrigeration in Austin, Texas. However, there are some other things you can do to best store your food and avoid what is known as “chilling injury”.
Chilling Injury happens when food is not properly stored and then the appearance, nutritional value, and food quality are decreased. Whether you run a restaurant, live on your own, or have a family to feed you don’t want this to happen. Below we’ll discuss some of the different storage methods you should use in different situations.
Different Ways to Store Food
There are mainly three ways your food should be stored. This depends on the type of food it is and when it will be or was cooked.
- Room Temperature
Some items are best left out of the refrigerator when they are stored. For instance, a potato will taste better if it’s stored at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. This may seem like a small difference from the refrigerator’s temperature but it makes a big difference in taste. What happens if the potato is stored at a cooler temperature is the starches break down and will become sweet sugar molecules. If you attempt to make french fries with these potatoes they will turn black when cooked because of the sugar.
Other foods you should store at room temperature are; unripened tomatoes, oranges, melons, bananas, cucumbers, and green beans. With these foods, the cold temps will speed up the decaying process.
Some foods should be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator. Most of us eat leftovers and making sure these foods are tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge will keep you safe. Another reason you want to tightly wrap your food would be to prevent other foods from taking on their smell or taste. Foods such as salmon and Chinese takeout are big culprits of this.
One other thing you need to keep in mind is not storing all your produce in the compartment it’s labeled for. If you put an apple together with a lemon you will most likely be eating a sour apple. You may like that taste but most of us simply want the original apple taste when we take a bite.
- Frozen and Thawed
A lot of us purchase foods in bulk from places such as Costco, Target, or Walmart. Most of these foods come frozen. Foods such as chicken and burgers need to be kept frozen and then thawed in your refrigerator before you are ready to cook them. You might want to speed up the process and thaw these foods outside of the fridge but this can be dangerous. Bacteria can take hold of your food and make you sick. Most of us have battled food poisoning at least once and anyone will tell you, it’s not at all pleasant to say the last.