How does one check if an egg is fresh? What is the parameter for the freshness of fruits and vegetables? How long can canned food be stored? Eric Pesach Harbor food consultant will tell you what you need to know about food storage in the hot season
At room temperature, bacteria found in food doubles themselves every 20 minutes. Bacterial reproduction increases the risk of disease. In winter, food might spoil at room temperature within two hours, in contrast with the summer, where food will spoil after only one hour. Food should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible, since cold prevents bacteria from reproducing.
Many people are concerned that placing hot food in the refrigerator is problematic but this is not the case. The refrigerator should be set at 5-6°C and the freezer at 18° below zero. If there is a large quantity of food designated for several meals, it should be divided into separate containers after cooking, preferably glassware. Smaller quantities of food refrigerate more easily and there is no need to remove the entire quantity from the refrigerator each time.
Frozen food should be defrosted in the refrigerator and not at room temperature. 2kg of frozen food defrosts within 24 hours in the refrigerator. Food can also be defrosted outside the refrigerator on cold days, as well as in the microwave if the food will be cooked immediately thereafter.
In order for food to retain nutritional value and contribute to our health, it must be not just quality but fresh. We are accustomed to checking the ‘expiration’ date on the packages of meat, eggs and dairy products to make sure that the food is safe for eating. In most cases, the date imprinted on the package cannot be relied upon since we have no information about the delivery and storage of food until it reaches the supplier.
Eric Pesach Harbor food consultant states that these are the rules for storing fresh products:
Fruit loves to ripen at room temperature. Refrigeration of fruit affects the flavor and aroma (the same holds true for tomatoes). Once the fruit is ripe, its deterioration is brief, particularly in our hot climate. Over-ripening reduces the amount of Vitamin C and causes a loss of nutritional value. Fruit must be stored in the refrigerator (other than bananas) in order to inhibit the ripening process.
2. Meat and fish
Fresh packaged meat and fish from the supermarket can be stored for up to two days. They can also be frozen on the second day. Frozen meat and fish might defrost, even if for only a short time, and become a platform for bacterial growth. For this reason, these products should be delivered from shop to home in a cooler with ice and immediately stored in the refrigerator. At the same time as the check of the expiration date, the product itself must be examined. Meat should be a light pink or red hue and not gray. Fish must be solid without any questionable odor.
A can of tuna that was opened can be used within two days as long as the contents of the can were transferred to a covered container. Smoked fish such as salmon must be thoroughly packaged and refrigerated, after which it can be used within one week of its opening (should be stored in the rear section of the refrigerator). Fish dishes such as Chraime (Sephardic fish dish) can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days but should be eaten within two days.
Whole fresh vegetables should be eaten within three days but they can be refrigerated for up to five days. The parameter for checking the state of fruits and vegetables is change in the color of the peel, possibly indicating the presence of toxic substances. For example, green that develops on the peel of a potato indicates the presence of a toxic substance solanine. This substance is also found in sprouts that appears on the potato. Any potato that shows signs of greening must be discarded. Do not cut off the green part and use the rest. If sprouts appear, without any green color, they can be removed from the potato before use.