Nine Things to Consider When Storing Organic Food

 

 

organic produce marketAn interesting thing happens when foods aren’t laden with artificial preservatives or any unnecessary processing.

And that thing is they don’t last as long as less natural options.

Add to that, the fact that organic foods tend to be more expensive, any spoilage can be very costly. So considering all this, here are some things to keep in mind when storing your organic foods.

1. Buy produce in season. Out of season fruits and vegetables generally have a longer travel time, so that can reduce the amount of time you’ll be able to keep them before they spoil. Local produce is also often cheaper and it helps ensure maximum nutrient content. When produce is shipped long distances, it is often harvested just a little earlier than it normally should be.

2. Wash your produce. Never assume that the lack of pesticides means produce doesn’t need to be washed. Dirt can still have bacteria and other harmful substances.

cleaning fruit

3. Whole fruits can be stored in the usual manner. Use your crisper or storage containers in your fridge. Of course, some produce like bananas, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and onions shouldn’t be refrigerated. If you cut up any fruits or vegetables, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

5. Store grains like flour and pasta in airtight containers. It will keep longer if you store in the fridge (up to 6 months) and even longer in the freezer (up to 1 year).

6. Fresh meat and poultry needs to be used fairly quickly. Large cuts last up to 4 days; items like steaks, chops and chicken pieces last up to 3 days; and ground meats should be used within a day or two.

7. Freeze meats that won’t be used right away. Do the same for excess fruits and vegetables you won’t be able to use. Make sure all products you freeze are in airtight packaging. When using storage containers, make sure to fill them as full as possible, so buy a variety of sizes for best results. Any extra air in your container can contribute to freezer burn.

8. Canning is another possibility for organic produce. You can create jams, pickle a variety of items, make compotes, can fruits and vegetables in water and more. Of course, do note that the high temperatures in canning can affect the nutritional quality of your produce.

canning pickles

9. Dehydrating food can also help with preservation. Dehydrated fruits make a great on-the-road snack, instead of processed food items. In addition, dehydrated produce is excellent for emergency kits, camping trips and more.

However you store your food, include a date on the packaged food item before you store it. This will give you an idea of when foods might spoil and which items should be used first.

Next theme link here: The Eternal Debate: Does Organic Living Require Supplements

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Organizing Your Refrigerator

Organizing Your Refrigerator

Organizing your refrigerator is more than just knowing where everything is located. Organizing is to maximize the space and maximize the shelf life of the food items stored in the refrigerator. Thus, it is important to keep a refrigerator in an organized state. The following suggestions will help you in your efforts to organize your refrigerator.

Start with removing all items from the refrigerator and washing the inside shelves and compartments of the refrigerator. Hot sudsy water will do to disinfect.

Before returning food items to the cleaned refrigerator, throw away any item that is expired or has been cross-contaminated.

Know the correct temperature setting and if you are not sure read your refrigerator manual.

When returning the food items sort them by groups, like produce, meats and dairy.

Place any item that does not have its own container in a see-through container. This will let you to see the food items when searching through the refrigerator for something to eat.

Stock your refrigerator according to designated compartments, such as vegetables in the crisper and deli meat in its drawer.

Perishable food items should be placed on the bottom shelf as it is cooler than the top shelf and will prolong the shelf life.

Store jarred and glass items in the door. But do not store milk in the door.

Your refrigerator may have an egg compartment, but eggs will stay fresh longer stored in their original cartons.

Leftovers can quickly build up and be hard to identify after time. Designating a shelf just to leftovers will help to prevent them from getting pushed back into a corner.

Each time you open a perishable food item, write the date opened on the container as a reminder. This makes cleaning out the fridge a lot easier.

Have a magnetic organizer on the refrigerator door or one side of the fridge to hold pens and food labels so they’re easy to find when you’re marking and dating leftovers.

Food items with closer expiration dates should be at the front of the fridge and items with later expiration dates towards the back.

Vegetables should be stored in the crisper drawer as it was designed to keep in humidity.

Lastly do not over pack your fridge as cool air must circulate the compartment of the fridge to keep food from spoiling prematurely.

 

Image Credit: The Shiksa

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Foods to Freeze for Later Use

Foods to Freeze for Later Use

Fruit in Season: Cut up and freeze peaches, cantaloupe, pineapple, or apples for a year-round vitamins and minerals. Before freezing add juice of half a lemon juice to the cut up fruits, to prevent browning while boosting vitamin C. Vitamin C is a heat sensitive vitamin not found in canned fruits.

Here is a video on how to freeze apples.

Freezing cantaloupe is simple. Cut in half…each half cut into four….remove the rind completely as well as the seeds. Leave in strips and place into freezer bags with wax paper in between fruit. Store the melon frozen from 4 to 6 months.

Pineapple is frozen the same a melons. Remove outer layer as well as all eyes, cut into rings, chunks etc. Place into freezer container with wax paper between fruit. Store up to 6 months.

Nuts: Nuts are a healthy fat. Now days they are too expensive to store at room temperature as they can go rancid. Protect their nutrition and your investment by storing them in the freezer.

Berries: Fresh berries can be frozen in your freezer. These include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Rich in vitamins and fiber, these low-carb fruit fruits give you nutrients and anti-aging antioxidants.

Here is a video on flash freezing blackberries and strawberries, but can apply to any berry.

Citrus Juice: Freshly squeezed citrus loses its vitamin C when bottled because of being pasteurized, which is a heating process to kill germs, but also destroys vitamin C. Freeze fresh juiced lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. Store the juice in ice-cube trays and use later when preparing recipes that require fresh juice or to use to prepare dressings for fruit salads, or to infuse water and teas with fruit juice.
Fresh Vegetables: Buy seasonal local vegetables at your Farmers Market and freeze them for autumn and winter use. Freezing them also retains their vitamins, minerals, plant chemicals and fibers unlike canned vegetables. You’ll also avoid consuming processed additives like sodium or sulfites. You can fresh freeze asparagus, beets, broccoli, green beans, peas, and carrots.

To freeze prepare the vegetables buy cutting them into your preferred sizes (peas not included), for carrots leave on their skin for added fiber.

Bring to boil 4 quarts of water and add cut vegetables and blanch for 3 minutes and remove from hot water and add to iced water for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from iced water and place into freezer bags or containers. You can store vegetables frozen up to 9 months.

Image courtesy of : Dessert Now Dinner Later

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