It’s not a good idea to store food for a very long time. The nutrients in food are often lost during storage, especially if they’re exposed to heat and light.
However, if you’re eating on a budget, you like the security factor of having some food stored for emergencies, or you’re keen to avoid food waste, here are my top tips:
- Store food in a cool, dry place. Ideally, keep it at 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are cool/cold enough. Thirty-six to forty degrees is about right for a refrigerator. Use your own thermometer to check it. Your freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Keep pantry-stored food in tightly-fitting jars. They should be completely airtight.
- Keep meat, poultry, and fish in the freezer. Bacon, sausage, and chopped meat won’t last as long as fresh chops and steaks. But raw meat can last for between 3 and 12 months in the freezer.
- Buy dried goods like beans, nuts, and seeds in unopened boxes in a freezer, where they’ll keep for up to 12 months. You can also keep them in the refrigerator for up to four months, and at room temperature for between 3 and 12 months depending on which type you’re storing.
- Buy freeze-dried and dehydrated foods for their long shelf life.
- Specific foods that keep really well include oats, freeze-dried vegetables such as kale, onions and green beans, jarred applesauce, canned soup, and canned vegetables like mushrooms and peas. Tomato paste and powder also store very well.