You already know that organic food is better for you and your family, but there can be some drawbacks to switching to an all-organic diet. Processed foods come with a number of disadvantages, but they are known to last longer than organic food as they are filled with shelf life extending preservatives and additives.
Of course, you probably want to get away from eating GM foods and foods that are loaded with pesticides. Since organic foods do not have the preservatives found in most other foods, they tend to spoil much faster, meaning you can lose a lot of food and money if you don’t eat them right away.
Unfortunately, you can’t always eat the food you buy in a timely manner. Some nights you may eat out, other nights you might have leftovers, and so on, meaning that your organic foods aren’t always eaten within a few days of purchase.
If at all possible, it’s best to buy a little at a time so you can eat food quickly enough before it spoils. However, most people live busy lives and this is simply not always possible. You also may live too far away from organic food sources to be able to pop in and out of the market at will.
How to Keep Organic Food Fresh Longer
Fortunately, there are some techniques to keeping your organic food fresher longer after you get it home. Here are some effective tips for preserving your organic fruits, veggies, meats, and grain products.
1. Set Your Refrigerator Between 38-40 Degrees Fahrenheit
Cold temperatures are the best to preserve fresh foods, but you want to make sure they don’t freeze. Keeping your fridge at this temperature will ensure that your organic foods are kept as cold and fresh as they can be without freezing over.
2. Be Mindful of Expiration Dates
On some foods, you can safely ignore these dates, but when it comes to organic food, you should always pay attention. Expiration dates will help you plan accordingly when planning your weekly meals. When you know exactly how many days you have until something spoils, you’re more likely to be on top of cooking and preparation. Always pay attention to expiration dates when out shopping for organic foods as well.
3. Wipe Down Fruits and Veggies Before Storage
Always wash and wipe fruits and vegetables before storing to prevent moisture build up. Fruits and vegetables naturally emit a gas, ethylene, when they ripen. This gas causes them to become ripe rather quickly until they eventually spoil.
When you add moisture into the mix, mildew and mold can grow on the fruits and veggies, making them unhealthy to eat. Avoid this by wiping down the foods, storing them apart, and avoiding the use of plastic bags for storage, which can promote condensation.
4. Store Meats Correctly
Depending upon the type of meat and when you’ll be using it, how you store meat can vary. For fresh meats you intend to use within two days, refrigerate between 38 and 40 degrees. If you are going to freeze meat for a later date, be sure to wrap it in freezer paper, foil, or leave it in its original packaging.
Some meats like smoked bacon and ham can simply be wrapped up in vinegar-soaked cloth. For meats you’ve already cooked, allow them to cool completely before placing them in the fridge to ensure freshness and avoid moisture.
5. Store Whole Grains Correctly
Dry whole grains, such as cereals, grains, and bread, must be stored appropriately to ensure freshness. For example, bread should be stored in a cool, dry place like a cupboard or a breadbox. You can also freeze bread you do not intend to use in the next few days. Always be watchful for mold and mildew if breads are stored in or near a moist place.
For cereals, always close the inner bag of the cereal box to keep it fresh. Leaving it open to the air can cause it to become to stale. Lastly, for things like cookies and cakes, keep these in an airtight container and store in a cool location to keep them soft, moist, and flavorful.
Even though natural, organic foods may require slightly more planning and effort to keep fresh longer, it’s well worth it for your health. Keep them fresh and eat clean!