Helpful food hints

Food will spoil faster if your refrigerator is too tightly packed.

With just a little effort, you will be surprised how simple it is to keep food at its best. First, check that your refrigerator is at the right temperature and is cold enough — below 40 F or 4 C. This is to ensure food safety. Also leave space around the items so cold air can circulate. Food will spoil faster if your refrigerator is too tightly packed.

1. When radishes, celery or carrots have wilted, simply place them in a bowl of ice water, along with a slice of raw potato, and watch them freshen right before your eyes.

2. To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags in the freezer.

3. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta or rice will help repel bugs.

4. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard cheeses sealed in wax.

5. Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables to rot.

6. Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them — they spoil less quickly in a bunch.

7. Put rice in your salt shaker to absorb condensation that can cause clumping and hardening.

8. Butter can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. Pack in an airtight container to eliminate flavors of other foods.

9. Cottage cheese or sour cream will last longer if the container is placed upside down in the fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria, which causes spoilage.

10. If honey crystallizes or becomes cloudy, microwave on medium heat in 30-second increments to make it clear again.

11. Keep brown sugar in the freezer to stop it from hardening. If you already have hardened sugar, soften it by sealing in a bag with a slice of bread or microwaving on high for 30 seconds.

12. If you only need a few drops of lemon juice, puncture the fruit with a metal skewer and squeeze out exactly what you require.

13. If you are unsure of an egg’s freshness, put it in a cup of water — fresh eggs sink; spoiled ones float.


Sources: and

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 3, June/July 2012.


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