Apr
23
2013
Easy Tips on Food Storage

Eating Healthy

Everyone wants you to eat healthier.  There are hundreds of TV commercials about eating healthy.  Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter are rampant with posts and ads about eating healthier.  Your health nut relative (you know you have one) keeps nagging you to pick up something green and leafy.  Even Oprah, freely acknowledging her own struggles has been a long time proponent of eating healthy. She made Bob Greene a household name and kick-started his Fit For Life empire.

Okay, so we have to eat healthier because Oprah said so, and deep down inside we know we need to.  Everyday there are multiple news reports about scientific studies proving what we already intuitively know: eating less processed foods and eating more fresh food leads to less disease and longer, healthier lives.

Even our childhood rhymes give us a clue “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. When was the last time you ate an apple?  No, not apple pie, not apple cobbler.  Just an apple? How about broccoli or spinach? Tried Kale?

But were so busy!  And those darn fresh foods don’t keep for a year in the pantry like good ol’ Hamburger Helper does.  We concede, those convenient (and possibly poisonous) preservatives make life a little easier…that is until your weight creeps up, diabetes starts looming, your vitamin levels become deplorable, and your energy level plummets.

A challenge many people experience when make those initial steps towards healthy eating is coping with food that will spoil if not used in reasonable amount of time.  Maybe you didn’t eat that apple because it turned a rather frightening shade of brown before you remembered it was in your home.

Storing fresh food is a bit more challenging than throwing boxes and cans into your pantry. To help you and save the lives of countless apples, bananas, tomatoes, etc… the i spa Health Studio team has put together a handy list of popular fresh foods and storage guidelines.

First, we must confess that we did not spend months experimenting by storing various fruits and veggies until they turned into penicillin in our refrigerators.  Noble as that endeavor may have been, we skipped the scientific method in favor of research.  Accordingly, we must credit the following websites for their freely shared knowledge:  www.sparkpeople.com, http://www.fda.gov, www.vegetariantimes.com and www.foodsafety.gov.


Temperature

A key to safe food storage and extending the life of your food products is having your refrigerator and freezer set at the optimal temperatures. Set your freezer to operate at 0oF and keep your refrigerator at 40oF or slightly below.  If your refrigerator does not give you temperature readings, pick up a couple of refrigeration thermometers.   These tools are very inexpensive and can save you hundreds of dollars a year by helping you prevent food spoilage.


Poultry

Keep uncooked, fresh chicken or turkey in your refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Make sure the package is sealed tight and that no liquids spill or touch any of the other contents in your refrigerator.  Cooked poultry is safe for 3 to 4 days. Freeze uncooked chicken or turkey in air tight packaging in your freezer for up to 9 months. Safe food guidelines recommend thawing your poultry in your refrigerator taking care that it does not touch anything or drip. Cooked poultry will keep in your freezer for up to 4 months.


Meats

Ground meets like hamburger, turkey, pork, or veal will spoil quicker that fresh cuts.  Keep these in your refrigerator for on 1 to 2 days before using.  They can be frozen safely for up to 4 months.  

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork steaks and chops can safely reside in your refrigerator for 3 days and will freeze for safely for 6 to 12 months.   All refrigerated cooked leftovers are best consumed within 2 days.


Vegetables and Fruit

This is where we start getting to what may be for some, unchartered waters. And there are some really clever guidelines based on whether the produce items is a gas releaser or not (ok, ok, go ahead and giggle).

• It is recommended that you do not store these gas releasers in the refrigerator - Avocados,  Bananas,  Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Tomatoes

• Okay to refrigerator these gas releasers - Apples,  Apricots, Cantaloupe, Figs, Honeydew

For best results, keep other produce away from the items. They speed up the decomposition process in sensitive produce like Broccoli, Cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.  Yes, it’s ironic, but true.

Now you know who does and does not play well together.  What about storage times?  No worries, we have that covered too!


Counter Top

Apples, Bananas, Tomatoes store well on a countertop for up to 7 days. The countertop also works well for Basil, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginger, Grapefruit, Jicama, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Oranges, Papayas, Peppers, Persimmons, Pineapple, Plantains, Pomegranates, and Watermelon.


Refrigerate

Most other fruit and veggies will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. These include Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Corn, Grapes, Green Beans, Green Onions, Herbs (except Basil), Lima Beans, Leafy Vegetables, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Peas, Plums, Radishes, Raspberries, Spinach, Sprouts
Strawberries, Summer Squash, Yellow Squash, and Zucchini.


Produce Pantry

These delicious healthy options do best when stored in a cool, dry place: Acorn Squash, Butternut squash, Onions (away from potatoes), Potatoes (away from onions) Pumpkins, Spaghetti Squash, Sweet Potatoes, and Winter Squash. Apparently onions and potatoes have an ongoing family feud. To avoid produce battles, keep them apart. No one wants angry onions and screaming potatoes.

Alright, you have everything you need to stock up on fresh food and start developing healthier eating habits. If you need ideas on healthy meals, visit our Recipe Corner.

If you would like to learn more about healthy eating, call i spa Health Studio at 727.386.4004 and ask to speak to our certified Weight Loss Coach.

 
     
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The goal of each practitioner within i spa Health Studio is to aid you in your journey to health and wellness. We offer acupuncture, massage therapy, psychology, weight loss programs and facial skin care services. Our wellness center is located in Largo, FL, and is convenient to the Tampa Bay area including Clearwater, Seminole, Pinellas Park, Dunedin, St. Petersburg, and Tampa.

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