Food Storage Chart
Freezing Prep Chart
The Well Stocked Pantry
Basic Cooking Methods
for Handling Food Safely
Many do not take food
safety seriously enough. In fact, food borne illness affects an
estimated 70 million or more Americans each year alone. It is
thought that a large portion of what most people believe is the “flu”,
is actually food borne illness.
There are a number of simple ways
that can help reduce your chances of being exposed. The information
found on the
site is both thorough and informative. The following information
on basic food safety and much more can be found there.
Safe steps in food
handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent food-borne
illness. You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may
cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four
"Fight BAC!™" guidelines to keep food safe.
- Wash hands and
- Cook to proper
Purchase refrigerated or
frozen items after selecting your non-perishables.
Never choose meat, poultry
or fish in packaging that is torn or leaking.
Do not buy food past
"Sell-By," "Use-By," or other expiration dates.
Put raw meat, poultry and
fish into a plastic bag so meat juices will not cross-contaminate
ready-to-eat food or food that is eaten raw, such as vegetables or
Plan to drive directly
home from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice
for the perishables.
Unless thoroughly iced,
don't leave seafood - raw or cooked - out of the refrigerator
perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above
Check the temperature of
your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The
refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or
or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within
2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.
Perishable food such as
meat, poultry and fish should be wrapped securely to maintain quality
and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.
To maintain quality when
freezing meat, poultry or fish in its original package, wrap the
package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the
Store fresh seafood in the
coldest part of your refrigerator (usually the lowest shelf at the
back or in the meat keeper).
Don't suffocate live
lobsters, oysters, clams or mussels by sealing them in a plastic bag.
They need to breathe, so store them covered with a clean damp cloth.
Before cooking, check that lobsters are still moving. Make sure clams
and mussels are still alive by tapping open shells. Discard any that
do not close.
In general, high-acid
canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be stored
on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat,
poultry, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years - if the can
remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and
dry place. Discard cans that are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.
Always wash hands before
and after handling food.
Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their
juices away from other food.
After cutting raw meats,
wash hands, cutting board, knife, and countertops with hot, soapy
Marinate meat, poultry and
fish in a covered dish in the refrigerator.
Sanitize cutting boards by
using a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.
Never pre-stuff poultry or
roasts - stuff immediately before it goes into the oven.
The refrigerator allows slow, safe
thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto
For faster thawing, place food in a
leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water
every 30 minutes. Cook
immediately after thawing.
Cook meat and poultry immediately after
a meat thermometer to be certain of the meat temperature in the
thickest part of the center
Cook ground meats to 160
°F; ground poultry to 165 °F.
Beef, veal, and lamb
steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 °F.
All cuts of fresh pork,
Whole poultry should reach
180 °F in the thigh; breasts, 170 °F.
Measure fish and seafood
product at its thickest point. If the fish is stuffed or rolled,
measure it after stuffing or rolling.
At 450 degrees F, cook it
10 minutes per inch thickness of the fish, turning the fish halfway
through the cooking time. For example, a 1-inch fish steak should be
cooked 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. Pieces of
fish less than 1/2-inch thick do not have to be turned over.
Add 5 minutes to the total
cooking time if you are cooking the fish in foil or if the fish is
cooked in a sauce.
Double the cooking time
(20 minutes per inch) for frozen fish that has not been defrosted.
Serve food on a clean,
preferably heated, platter
Hot food should be held at
140 °F or warmer.
Cold food should be held
at 40 °F or colder.
When serving food at a
buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming
trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small
serving trays and replace them often.
Perishable food should not
be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the
temperature is above 90 °F).
any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if
the temperature was above 90 °F).
Place food into shallow
containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for
Use cooked leftovers
within 4 days.
Meat and poultry defrosted in
the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by
other methods, cook before refreezing. Double wrap foods to be frozen in
plastic wrap, covered by foil wrap.
These short, but safe, time
limits will help keep refrigerated food from spoiling or becoming
dangerous to eat. Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely,
recommended storage times are for quality only.
here to get to the printable food storage chart.
Proper preparation will ensure
the best quality for frozen foods - retaining their nutrients and
appearance. Click here to get
to the printable freezer preparation chart.
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