How to store your groceries

I always wondered why certain grocery items needed to be stored in a specific manner, so I thought I would start putting together a list.  Just this weekend, I was dubbed the “Food Network” because of all the random food trivia I know – add this to the list!  I’ll continue to add to this list as I learn new things – do you have any food storage tips?

Potatotes – when potatoes are chilled, the starches convert to sugar which makes the potatoes sweet when they are cooked.  I keep my potatoes under the sink in a basket and only buy small amounts at a time.

Carrots – if your carrots have tops on them, make sure to remove them as they continue to seep nutrients from the carrots

Garlic – by keeping garlic in the refrigerator, it gets exposed to humidity which leads to early sprouting.  I keep my garlic and onions in a basket under my sink.

Tomatoes – it’s tough to keep tomatoes out, especially if you bought them ripe, but it is the best option to ensure maximum flavour.  I usually try to use my tomatoes right away after buying them – if that doesn’t work out, they end up in a cooked sauce.

Mushrooms – when buying mushrooms, make sure you grab the paper bags meant for them.  The bag absorbs the excess moisture from the mushrooms without drying them out.  Store your mushrooms in this bag in your refrigerator.

Berries – as tempting as it is to have these ready to eat in the refrigerator, don’t wash berries in advance.  The water causes them to break down almost immediately.  Also, your best bet is to store them in a container that allows for a bit of ventilation – I use my Tupperware FridgeSmart containers for storing my berries – protects them from bruising and keeps them fresh.  Also, keep the tops on strawberries when storing them as well.

Avocados – keep them out of the refrigerator to ripen, but put them back in to slow down the process. If you are in a pinch and need your avocados to ripen quicker, place them in a paper bag with some bananas.

Bread – as tempted as you may be to keep your bread in the refrigerator to maximize its life, try to keep your bread in a bread box instead.  When we got our kitchen renovated, we had them retrofit one of our drawers into a bread box.  Keeping bread in the refrigerator causes the starches to change structure and lose moisture faster, which makes the bread texture tougher.  That being said, if we think we can’t use all our bread, we freeze it to use it as toast or for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Oils – these should be kept in your pantry except for nut oils – they will go rancid eventually and keep best in the refrigerator

Chocolate – keep it out of extreme heat to prevent it from blooming (when the cocoa butter starts coming to the surface).  If you freeze or refrigerate your chocolate, keep it in an airtight container, and keep it out until it reaches room temperature to prevent condensation from forming.

Cheese – when using cheese, keep it away from any wet utensils or cutting boards.  I usually find it best to remove any leftover cheese from the existing packaging and wrapping it in fresh plastic wrap each time so it doesn’t get exposed to any moisture.

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