Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What is Lurking in Your Refrigerator?


What is Lurking in Your Refrigerator?
I have started my fall housecleaning. It was prompted by a look in my refrigerator and the need to really give this appliance a good cleaning. So have you taken a serious look at what is inside your refrigerator lately? 
Here are some tips for keeping your refrigerator in tip top shape.
  •  Don’t judge produce by its appearance. Just because something does not look pretty does not mean that you can’t eat it. Transform bruised or wilted foods by cooking them. Overripe tomatoes can be used to make pasta sauce. Remove bruised spots from apples and cook them for applesauce. The pasta sauce and apple sauce can then be used at a later time.
  • Buy more herbs than needed. Place the herbs in a single layer on a dinner plate lined with a paper towel. Cover herbs with another paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. This is a easy way to dry herbs. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid or zipper sealed plastic bag.
  • Remember the phrase “first in, first out” or FICO. Stash newer foods in the back of the shelves and move to the front items nearing expiration or that have been there longer.
  • Make friends with your freezer. Do you have foods like cheese, pasta sauce, or broth that you will not use prior to the date on the container? If so, freeze these foods.
  • Reduce the amount of food that is wasted. Americans waste 21 percent of all edible food, according to the USDA. Check the refrigerator every week to determine what foods need to be used, which are fine as is, and those that need to be frozen. Plan menus around these items.
 Another tip is to buy a refrigerator thermometer. People assume their refrigerator is cold enough when in some cases it is not. An incorrect temperature can increase the risk of spoilage and food-borne illness. Bacteria that can make you sick thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees, so buy or utilize the refrigerator thermometer you may already have. Stick with a setting no higher than 40 degrees. 
 
After a refrigerator cleaning, and there is food to be tossed, check to see if your community has an organic food dumpster where out-of-date food can be taken. We have an organic food dumpster at our office and I am pleased with the amount of food that is placed in the dumpster. Food is picked up and put in a bio digester and through a process is used to generate energy.    
 

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