Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proper Food Storage Conditions - Temperature

Storing your food properly and under the best conditions possible will extend its shelf life. This will help you obtain the longest possible storage time for your food. One of the main components for proper food storage is the temperature. An essential part of your food storage gear is a thermometer.

Some foods can be stored at room temperature for long periods, while others must be refrigerated in order to maintain the best quality. Freezing can also be used to extend the life of many food products. To obtain the maximum benefit from your three main storage areas a number of specific conditions will need to be maintained. One of the most important things you can do is to know the actual temperature of your food storage areas.

Shelf or pantry storage should be in a cool, dry area. Many food items should also be kept out of any type of direct light, including sunlight, as this can directly affect storage temperatures. The temperature in your shelf or pantry storage areas will need to be kept at 70°to 72° F or below if at all possible. A storage area above your stove may not be the best place. Keep a thermometer in a highly visible location in your pantry or shelf storage areas and check it frequently.

Your refrigerator should be kept at a temperature between 33° F to 40° F. This will keep your perishable foods items from freezing while maintaining the best temperature to insure proper shelf life. Place a thermometer in your refrigerator and check the temperature frequently. Keep it in a highly visible place so that you can see the temperature each time you access food items in your refrigerator. If there is a problem with your refrigerator, you may notice it in sufficient time to prevent the loss of your food items should your refrigerator fail to work properly or stop working completely.

Your freezer should be kept at a temperature of 0° F or below to maintain the best food storage conditions. Remember to check the temperature on a daily basis or as frequently as possible. You will know about a problem before it is too late to save your frozen food items. Frozen food items should remain frozen for at least 24 hours, even if it fails to work properly or stops working completely. Having a thermometer visible each time you open your freezer will allow you to check the temperature easily and quickly.

Got thermometer?

Staying above the water line!


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