Keeping things fresh
Almost all foods lose quality over time. Here are some tips to help you figure out when food needs to be replaced and to help you keep it fresher longer.
Use your senses, they won’t steer your wrong
Keep these tips in mind when going through the foods you keep on hand.
- Oils last longer in a cool, dry place, but even they go bad. Do your oils feel sticky? Do they smell or taste like varnish? These are signs that they should be discarded. If you have doubts, check the “use by” date on the package.
- Herbs lose their strength over time. Open the containers and smell them. If they don’t smell, they’ve probably lost most of their flavor as well. More than 2 to 3 years old? It’s time to replace them.
- Wine will turn to vinegar if it’s held improperly or has been held for too long. Smell and taste it. If the flavor is off, throw it out. Most white wines are meant to be consumed within a year; reds can hold longer if stored in an area with a constant, cool temperature.
Proper storage helps foods last longer
By storing foods in the right way, you can extend how long they stay fresh.
- Nuts contain oils. And like cooking oils, they’ll start to taste rancid over time. Store them away from heat. They’ll stay fresh for up to 6 months in the refrigerator and for up to a year in the freezer.
- Flour needs to be stored somewhere cool. If you use it quickly, keep it at room temperature. If you’re keeping it for a while, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In any case, replace it if it’s more than a year old.
- Store fruits that need to ripen on your counter until they’re ripe. This includes melons, pears, peaches, plums and tomatoes. When they’re ready, move them to the refrigerator to prolong their life.