Rules to ensure safe storage & reheating of food

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Rules to ensure safe storage & reheating of food
Learn the rules for safe food storage and reheating. (pizza leftovers image by igor kisselev from Fotolia.com)

Food storage is an essential factor in ensuring that the food you consume is still fresh and packed with nutrients. By following safe food storage and reheating tips to keep food fresh and edible, you can stay healthy and reduce waste of spoiled food--which will save you money.

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Reheating rules

Reheating foods is your best weapon for fighting against microbes that may have grown while food is being stored. Proper storing methods will slow down the growth of bacteria but will not kill it. Reheating food thoroughly or at least until it is at or just below the boiling point will kill bad organisms to make food fit to eat. Keep in mind, when cooked meals are left to cool down to room temperature, microbes will start to grow and to multiply. The longer it sits out, the higher the risk for spoilage. To be safe, eat the dish immediately or store it in the refrigerator or freezer before it spoils.

Food storage rules

When storing food, use storage containers that have covers and are airtight. Keep refrigerators and other storage areas clean. For raw or cooked food, use cling film, foil or plastic or glass containers for storing. Store nuts, dried fruits and sugar in airtight containers or screw top jars to keep pests away. Keep raw food away from cooked food and keep chemical-based products such as cleaning agents away from your food storage area. Finally, read and follow labels that indicate "refrigerate after opening" or indicate a use-by date.

Food storage containers

There is a plethora of food storage containers out in the market to choose from. It can be quite a challenge to choose the ones that are safe, effective and convenient to use. Only use containers that will ensure that foods will be kept fresh and nutritious. Whether you are storing nuts or cereals, spices or herbs, using the appropriate containers can be a great tool when it comes to your health and keeping up with the food budget. You should choose storage containers with labelling so you can indicate dates and descriptions of the items. Always read labels to determine the purpose of the containers (for example, not all containers are microwaveable.) Choose freezer bags that will help preserve food. Finally, containers should be durable, vapour and moisture resistant, and easy to clean.

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