keep all food scrumptious

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

With food prices going up, storing it properly brings many benefits, especially for refrigerated foods.

Some foods need to be kept in the fridge to help stop bacteria from growing on them, such as foods with a "use by" date, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods such as desserts.

According to Thando Ndlovu, who is a chef, the proper temperature for a fridge is 5C on the middle shelf. He adds that the coldest point in the fridge is the bottom shelf on the drawers used for vegetables which is 2C.

"This is the place to put fresh meat and fish. Placing them at the bottom also prevents them from dripping onto other foods. But, the temperature is not constant throughout the interior."

Ndlovu adds that what and how one stores food in the refrigerator can effect the amount of energy that is consumed.

"Keeping your refrigerator full helps increase energy efficiency because there is less air to cool when space is taken up. Be careful not to overfill."

Which brings us to a question, how to properly freeze foods.?

Here are basic rules for packaging for freezing:

Ndlovu advises people not to overfill the shelves of their refrigerators, as this can prevent the circulation of cold air flowing all around, leaving some products at a slightly higher temperature than they should be.

Keep liquids covered and make sure to wrap foods when they are stored in the refrigerator.

Ndlovu says uncovered foods dry out and and the taste is ruined.

The moisture that is released also causes the refrigerator's compressor to work harder.

Keep similar foods together on the same shelf, so you know where to look for them.

"Store small items, yoghurts, butter, cheese, dips, small desserts and snacks on the top shelf at eye level. Place any cooked foods and leftover dishes above raw meat, poultry or seafood.

"Store all raw meat, poultry and fish on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Leave these products in their original packaging and also place inside a plastic bag to prevent any leaking juices dripping on other foods," says Ndlovu.

He says fruit and vegetables should be stored separately.

"Vegetables should be stored in the warmest part of the refrigerator bottom drawers."

Ndlovu warns people not to store eggs in the egg trays on the inside of the refrigerator door.

"The temperature here is higher than other parts of the fridge and fluctuates with frequent door opening. Keep eggs in their original carton and place near the top of the fridge."

What not to freeze from

l Fried foods, especially deep fried. They taste stale

l Gravies and sauces with wheat in them. They tend to separate.

l High water content vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, celery, etc. They get limp.

l Raw fruit. They turn dark or get mushy unless blanched.

l Potatoes. They get grainy and soft.

l Cooked pasta. Tends to get soft and mushy.

l Soft cake frostings. They tend to get tacky.

l Sage. It tends to get bitter.

l Garlic. The flavor gets stronger when frozen.

l Salt. It tends to loose savour when frozen.

l Onions. They tend to lose their flavor.

l Green peppers: They tend to get stronger tasting when frozen.