An interesting thing happens when foods aren’t laden with artificial preservatives or any unnecessary processing. And that thing is they don’t last as long as less natural options.
Add to that, the fact that organic foods tend to be more expensive, any spoilage can be very costly. So considering all this, here are some things to keep in mind when storing your organic foods.
Buy Produce in Season
Out of season fruits and vegetables generally have a longer travel time, so that can reduce the amount of time you’ll be able to keep them before they spoil. Local produce is also often cheaper and it helps ensure maximum nutrient content. When produce is shipped long distances, it is often harvested just a little earlier than it normally should be.
Wash your Produce
Never assume that the lack of pesticides means produce doesn’t need to be washed. Dirt can still have bacteria and other harmful substances.
Whole fruits can be stored in the usual manner. Use your crisper or storage containers in your fridge. Of course, some produce like bananas, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and onions shouldn’t be refrigerated. If you cut up any fruits or vegetables, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also buy green (or yellow) bags from your health-food store or grocer that will extend the life of your produce.
Store grains like flour and pasta in airtight containers. It will keep longer if you store in the fridge (up to 6 months) and even longer in the freezer (up to 1 year).
Meat and Poultry
Fresh meat and poultry needs to be used fairly quickly. Large cuts last up to 4 days; items like steaks, chops and chicken pieces last up to 3 days; and ground meats should be used within a day or two.
Use The Freezer
Freeze meats that won’t be used right away. Do the same for excess fruits and vegetables you won’t be able to use. Make sure all products you freeze are in airtight packaging. When using storage containers, make sure to fill them as full as possible, so buy a variety of sizes for best results. Any extra air in your container can contribute to freezer burn.
Canning is another possibility for organic produce. You can create jams, pickle a variety of items, make compotes, can fruits and vegetables in water and more. Of course, do note that the high temperatures in canning can affect the nutritional quality of your produce.
Dehydrating food can also help with preservation. Dehydrated fruits make a great on-the-road snack, instead of processed food items. In addition, dehydrated produce is excellent for emergency kits, camping trips and more.
Which ever methods your use to store your food, be sure to include a date on foods you store. This will give you an idea of when foods might spoil and which items should be used first.