There's nothing worse than having to throw out food because it's gone fuzzy or mushy. It's even worse when it's something that you purchased organic because that means you paid an even higher price for it. With proper food storage habits you can make sure that your food lasts as long as possible.
It's easy to wind up with an abundance of fresh produce for a number of reasons:
- it was on sale
- you've just visited the farmer's market and it looked inviting
- you have a CSA share and have limited control over how many tomatoes they give you (when tomatoes are in season of course)
- you have a home garden and discovered the awesome power of a single zucchini seed.
Whatever the reason for having a bountiful supply of fresh food (or even dairy, eggs, and foods of that nature which can also spoil), it's important to know how long it can be stored for. It's also a great idea to understand proper food storage. After all, knowing which things go in the refrigerator, what has to be wrapped, and the best way to wrap it, can be the difference between eating what you paid for or creating expensive compost.
As you go through this infographic below keep in mind that there are a significant number of items which need to be purchased organically.
- The Dirty Dozen:those 12 fruits and vegetables which need to be purchased organically in order to avoid pesticide residues) – This list changes annually, be sure to revisit it every year
- Dairy products: All dairy should be organic in order to avoid the artificial hormones (rBGH), antibiotics, and pesticide and GMO-laden feed that is part of conventional dairy
- Eggs: Whenever possible eggs should be sourced from someone who has free range or pastured hens, in order to produce the healthiest egg. Farmer's markets can be a great source for this, or ask around. Many more people are beginning to raise chickens at home for the eggs. When it's prime season, at one egg per chicken per day, they may have extras to sell
One final note, I really don't like to wrap food in plastic. Plastics, containers and wraps, are comprised of chemical compounds that are hormone disrupting. For more information about why plastic, and especially BPA, are harmful for you watch my interview with Lara Adler. For storage if you must wrap use plastic, place wax paper over the food first and then wrap over that. If at all possible try using glass or steel containers.