Fruits and veggies are delicious and good for you too, as long as you follow safe handling tips. Fresh produce can be contaminated with dirt, harmful bacteria or pesticides, so it’s important to wash your produce before prepping or eating. You can buy washes made for produce, or save money by making your own DIY natural fruit and veggie wash. Fill a large bowl or clean kitchen sink with water, and add one cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of salt. Stir and add your produce. Soak for ten minutes and then rinse with cold water. You can also make a spray by combining one cup of water, one tablespoon of white vinegar (or baking soda for a foamy wash), and one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Spray on fruits and veggies and gently scrub before rinsing and patting dry. Keep perishable fruits and veggies separately in the crisper bins of your refrigerator, stored in clean bags or containers. When stored properly, food is safer, and retains quality, nutrients and flavor. Plus food lasts longer, saving you money! Here are some more tips for safe food storage in your kitchen.
Food Storage 101
- Keep your refrigerator below 40°F.
- Don’t keep perishable foods at room temperature for longer than two hours.
- Store all foods wrapped or in covered containers.
- Avoid overloading your refrigerator because cold air needs room to circulate.
- Once a week, clean out your refrigerator and throw away any expired or questionable food.
- Use fresh meat, poultry and fish within a couple of days. If you do not plan to cook it soon, freeze it!
- Store raw meat, poultry and fish safely sealed, and on the bottom shelf to avoid drips and cross contamination.
- Store eggs in their carton, in the fridge, and use within three to five weeks. Remember, eggs that float are no longer good.
- Keep dairy near the back of the refrigerator, sealed tightly.
- Whole grains stored in airtight containers should stay fresh for a month to three months in pantry cabinets, or six months in the freezer.
When in doubt, you can reference this handy list of Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer from foodsafety.gov, with helpful guidelines for salads, hot dogs, lunch meats, soups, leftovers and more.
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