Tuesday,21 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1172, (14 - 20 November 2013)
Tuesday,21 May, 2019
Issue 1172, (14 - 20 November 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Entre Nous

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers. amoneim@ahram.org.eg

Food storage 101

Have you honed your cooking skills over years of practice, but still are not quite sure of the optimal conditions to store foods? How we store our foods is indeed a matter of personal preference and everyone grew up with different rules and traditions. However, there are certain items, even against popular belief, that are at their prime when stored at room temperature.

After a little research, here’s a handy short-list of what you do and don’t have to refrigerate.

Things you should not refrigerate:
Honey: The refrigerator will thicken and crystallise the honey. It is all-natural and can stay good almost indefinitely in the pantry.
Hot sauce: It can last up to three years in the pantry.
Potatoes: Refrigeration affects their flavour and cold temperatures turn their starch into sugars. Store them at room temperature in paper bags (plastic bags trap moisture and speed decay).
Batteries: Stash in a drawer at room temperature. Extreme cold (or heat) can diminish performance.
Tomatoes: Refrigerator can ruin the consistency and texture of a tomato. Leave them on the counter, out of plastic bags. They will last for about three days.
Bread: The refrigerator dries it out fast. Instead, keep what you’ll eat within four days, in a bread box, at room temperature and freeze the rest.
Oils: They get thick and cloudy in the fridge, though this disappears when you take them out. The only oils that must be refrigerated are nut oils. Otherwise keep them in the pantry.
Onions: Stuff them in a mesh bag or any bag that allows for air circulation in the pantry. Keep them away from potatoes, which emit moisture and gases that can cause onions to rot.
Garlic: It will do well for about two months in the pantry. Much like onion, store loose, so air can move around it.
Coffee: The fridge creates condensation, which can affect the flavour of both ground coffee and coffee beans. Storing at room temperature in an airtight bag or container is a much better bet for freshness.
Nail polish: Keeping it in the fridge can cause it to thicken. Store it at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

Foods you can refrigerate, but don’t need to:
Peanut butter: Keep it in the pantry and it’ll be fine and easier to spread.
Baked goods: Chilling baked goods will make them last longer, but they’ll go stale faster. Unless they contain some sort of filling that requires refrigeration (like custard), you don’t have to put them in the fridge. Leave them out and eat them fast.
Fruits: Certain fruits like apples, berries, peaches, apricots and nectarines taste good at room temperature. They can change their flavour if refrigerated. But if you want to keep the fruits fresh for a few extra days, store them in the fridge. To avoid soggy or moldy berries, rinse just before eating.

Foods you should refrigerate:
Meat: It will go bad if not refrigerated. Fresh meat (or packaged meat, after opening) should be eaten within 3-5 days; ground meat and fish within 1-2 days.
Milk: Store it until about a week after the stamped “sell by” date, and then throw it if you haven’t finished it.
Eggs: It’s highly recommended to keep all your eggs in the fridge. For recipes that require eggs at room temperature, just leave them out for almost 10 minutes before using them.
Cheese: Should be refrigerated. For optimal texture, take them out of the fridge for half an hour or so before serving.
Condiments, jams and salad dressings: You can store them in the pantry before you open them, even mayonnaise. Once you open them, stick them in the fridge.
Butter: The USDA guidelines recommend freezing if you aren’t going to use it within 1-2 days, and refrigerating all soon-to-be-eaten butter. It says you can leave it out for about 10 to 15 minutes for enhanced spreadability.

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