In the spirit of making plans ahead that fit your diet plan, you need to know when to toss food out.
I know how busy we get with life; we do a one-time grocery shopping – buy fresh produce to be used and stored for a long period of time, cook/order food for weeks ahead and store in refrigerators. The refrigerator is always filled with fresh and cooked food items in the bid to preserve them and make them safe for consumption at a later time, but not all these foods will make it to the dining table.
To know what food to get rid of and when:
- Have a Food Count Journal: This is needed because we forget the items we bought at the market and by the time we remember, they have gone bad or sour. Either ways, they have lost taste and aren’t good for consumption. In this journal, you’d pen down each item you bought, the day you bought them, how much you bought and how long you plan on storing/eating them.
- Trust your sense of smell. This is probably the safest way to know whether food is still edible or not, although, not all food smell bad when they have gone bad. Just take a sniff and follow your guts.
- Any meal that has mayonnaise in it shouldn’t stay out of the fridge for more than 8hours. Once it’s been out for up to or more than 8 hours, say your goodbyes. Such foods will include salads, sandwiches, toasts and coleslaws.
- Butter should always be stored in a cool, dry place. Water, air and light will turn butter rancid. Keep your butter tightly covered and stored in the fridge/freezer. You can bring out to thaw for 10-15 minutes. Once you see that butter has shown some other colour other than its original colour, let it go.
- Dairy products just make us worry and once you worry about you them, toss it out. Just do it. Bacteria grow rapidly in stale milk/yoghurt. Dairy products should be tossed out once they have been out of the fridge (or cool environment) after 2 hours.
- Cooked meat and chicken can only be fresh and safe to eat after 5 days. The myth that it’s stored in the freezer/fridge doesn’t cancel this fact.
- Uncooked beef should be good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge, but throw it out after that. If it’s vacuum sealed, that might give you a few more days.If it’s frozen, it could stay for months but it would never taste as they should.
- Eggs are just one of the hardest food to toss out. Most people don’t even know how to store their eggs properly. Once you refrigerate your eggs, keep them that way. Bringing them out of that condition and keeping them at room temperature will only aid the growth of bacteria. If you are going to keep your eggs at room temperature, you can only keep them for one month. Whatever method you store them, eat your eggs within one month.
- Fish is another touch food. Everyone should keep their fish refrigerated. Keep them on ice in the fridge. Once they start to look pale and lifeless or at worse, start to smell, throw in the garbage.
What other foods do you toss out and what’s your ‘litmus’ test to make that call?