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Enjoy Convenient & Safe Food Storage with These Helpful Hints

October 17, 2018

Stick it in the refrigerator? Freeze and forget it? Storing food is an easy task, to be sure, but getting it right preserves the flavor and nutritional quality of your food longer while also keeping you and your family safe. Foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cut or cooked vegetables, most sauces and dairy foods can be unsafe when held between 40° and 140° Fahrenheit for more than two hours. Along with selecting a quality refrigerator or freezer for your home, here are a few simple habits for storing items in the refrigerator or freezer, as well as when food should be discarded.

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In the Refrigerator

Refrigeration slows bacterial growth by keeping food below 40° Fahrenheit.

• You can safely place hot foods directly into the refrigerator.
• Cover foods to retain moisture and prevent odor.
• Use shallow containers to store portions of a large pot of hot food, or small slices of cooked meat.
• Marinate foods in the refrigerator to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
• Clean the refrigerator regularly and wipe spills immediately.
• Remove spoiled foods promptly, as they can cause foul odors which may be absorbed by other items.
• Store raw meats separately from other foods.
• Use airtight wraps and containers.

Another good tip is to discover your refrigerator’s humidity settings. Have you ever noticed how some of the drawers have a little window? Here’s how to use them:

• Closed = high humidity. This is great for foods that tend to wilt or go bad when exposed to ethylene gas emitted by some fruits like apples and pears. Use this setting for leafy greens like lettuce, kale and spinach and for other items including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers and strawberries.
• Open = low humidity. Some fruits and veggies will rot sooner in the presence of humid conditions, as will ethylene emitters like apples and pears. Other foods to store in low humidity include avocados, cantaloupes and stone fruits like peaches and plums.

Many of today’s refrigerators offer precise temperature management and easy cleaning with spill-resistant shelves. At Metro Appliances & More you’ll find a number of Energy Star Certified models, including GE’s commercial kitchen-inspired French door design, which include advanced technology for filtering out bacteria, mold and odors to keep food fresher longer.

In the Freezer

Freezing stops bacteria from growing, which is why food lasts longer in the freezer.

• Use containers and wraps specifically designed for freezer storage. This helps to prevent freezer burn.
• Cool food freezes faster than hot. Place hot foods in the refrigerator first. Once they are cold, then move them to the freezer.
• Arrange foods in a single layer to help them freeze faster.
• Keep freezer temperature at 0° Fahrenheit.
•When it’s time to thaw foods for cooking, move to the refrigerator ahead of time. Other acceptable thawing methods include placing the item in cold water or using the microwave oven.

Metro Appliances & More offers a wide selection of energy efficient chest and upright freezers from a number of reputable brands, with user-friendly temperature control, defrost and other advanced features.

And if you need a little flexibility, the Samsung Hub comes with four separate sections. The top two sections are for refrigeration, the bottom left is for freezing, and the bottom right is a FlexZone which can be used for freezing or refrigeration -- depending on your storage needs!

Know When to Discard

Besides checking for foul odor or the appearance of mold, there are a few other guidelines for making food last longer and knowing when it’s time to throw something out.

• Whether the item has been handled safely
• Whether it is packaged correctly
• The temperature of the refrigerator or freezer. The refrigerator needs to be 40° Fahrenheit or below and the freezer should be at 0° Fahrenheit.
• Whether there is enough room for air to circulate around the product.

Many people also wonder whether it’s safe to eat refrigerated or frozen foods after a power outage.

• An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for up to 4 hours
• An unopened freezer will keep food below an adequate temperature for up to 48 hours
• When the power comes back on, check to make sure the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer are at least 40° Fahrenheit or below
• Discard any food that has been above 40° Fahrenheit for more than two hours

You can also download a handy one-page chart from the FDA that tells you how long you can refrigerate or freeze a wide variety of your favorite foods.

And when it’s time to select a new refrigerator or freezer to keep your favorite foods fresher longer, visit Metro Appliances & More to find the best model to meet your needs!

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