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The longer your food lasts, the longer you can enjoy its sweet, sweet merits. But not all people know how to store produce properly. However, it is not only about storage; the fact that you obviously have excess amounts of food, and you let it go to waste, shows just how bad you are at shopping.
Do You Shop in Bulk?
Filling those big supermarket carts can sure make you feel important, but let’s not forget that shopping in bulk is a good idea only if you are shopping for tube socks and toilet paper and not food that can’t survive in your fridge for more than a week. Why are people so reluctant to think before they do anything, I don’t know. However, let us just imagine for a second that you had to get all those perishable groceries in advance for some reason, and now you don’t know what to do with them all.
Well, there are some “tricks” you can try although they are not so much ‘tricks’, but a simple chemical/biological understanding of why food goes bad.
Why Does Produce Spoil?
Well, just like people, fruits, herbs and vegetables tend to die, rot and fade out of existence. From the moment they are harvested, to the moment they are in your gut, vegetables degrade and deteriorate. More simply put – they rot. Rotting is a natural process associated with all organic matter – the final stages of before losing structural integrity, if you will. But what causes something, that was fine just a week ago, start showing signs of rot?
Decomposition due to natural enzyme breakdown and oxygen activity is not only natural (for every living thing), but it is also an unstoppable and, sadly, an unpreventable process – well, almost. The biggest contributor to the aggressive spoilage of food can be found elsewhere. Tiny animal like creatures, colloquially referred to as ‘microorganisms’, are in constant struggle to assimilate everything that is in their path (and looks tasty enough). They can be either fungal, bacterial or yeast infections, and once those processes start happening, there is little you can do.
How To Prevent Food Spoilage
The most important thing you must take into account is the humidity and temperature of your storage space. If it is too hot or too humid, you can be sure spoilage will occur in a matter of hours. To retard certain bio-degrading processes, keep your food in a dry, cold storage space. The colder something is, the less it spoils – common knowledge! In fact, living tissue subjected to no less than −273.15 degrees Celsius can virtually go without decaying forever!
Moisture, on the other hand, promotes the development of fungus, which uses spoiled produce to feed and reproduce (destroying the plant from the inside out).
What Can We Do?
Well, as we discussed above, you have to reduce the temperature and moisture levels respectively. And keep food separated, for cross contamination will aid the spread of bacteria and molds, and we do not want that. Things like apples, onions and potatoes can be stored for longer periods of time. Keep them separated, and individually wrapped (newspaper works fine) in a cold (BUT NOT FREEZING) dry storage space until they are needed. Almost all kinds of fruit should be kept at room temperature (a pantry works fine) away from sunlight.
Herbs are best dried in newspaper and kept in a dry, well ventilated area. You can also freeze chopped vegetables and beans; however, this way you destroy most of the nutrients inside. There is no substitute for fresh food, of course.
Jessica loves to write about foods and healthy eating. She works for http://www.qualitycleaninglondon.co.uk/cleaning-services-n20-totteridge/ as a manager but her hobby is cooking.