The Best Places to Store Your Favourite Foods
Knowing where and how long to store food can get confusing. Whether it’s the kitchen bench, in the pantry, fridge or freezer, foods have different storage requirements to keep them fresher for longer.
Some of these might surprise you, but here’s the best places to keep your favourite food:
Garlic, onions and shallots: Store them in a cool, dry place on your kitchen bench for up to two weeks.
Tomatoes, potatoes and whole pumpkins: These vegetables keep for much longer in a cool, dry place on your bench than in the fridge. Cut pumpkins will need to be sealed in plastic wrap and stored in the vegetable compartment of your fridge.
Bananas, citrus and melons: Like the veg above, these fruits are best left on your bench. Once cut, they should be refrigerated, otherwise they’ll dry out.
Bread: To keep bread fresh, store it at room temperature for up to two days, either tightly wrapped in foil or in an airtight bag to minimise moisture loss. After two days, wrap the bread in foil, put it in a freezer bag, and store it in the freezer.
Cakes and pies: Both frosted and naked whole cakes will last for about a week on the kitchen bench when tightly wrapped in plastic. Cakes that have been cut will only last for about three to four days. Fruit pies can be kept on the bench top for up to two days; after that you’ll need to move them to the fridge.
Dry goods: Most dry goods (like pasta or biscuits) will last for up to six months in the pantry. Once you’ve opened dry goods transfer them to an airtight container to avoid them going stale.
Spices: Heat, light, air and humidity are the worst thing for spices. They’re best stored in airtight packaging or tins in your pantry. Whole spices last much longer than crushed or ground spices: whole can be kept for up to two years, ground for around six months.
Yeast: While yeast might not be on your list of “favourite foods”, many people make the mistake of storing it in the pantry. It’s best stored in the fridge or the freezer long-term. If it gets too much heat or light, yeast can easily die.
Eggs: It’s common to find an egg tray built into the door of your fridge, but this is the worst place to keep them. The door is the warmest part of the fridge, eggs are better kept in their carton on a middle shelf.
Vegetables: All vegetables, except for the ones on your bench top, should be stored in perforated plastic bags in your fridge’s vegetable compartment. Make sure you keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits like apples, stone fruits, mangoes, passionfruit, pears and kiwis, as these can speed up the decomposition process of produce around them.
Cheese: Cheese should be wrapped in porous material for storage; like cheese, waxed, or baking paper. Never use plastic wrap, as cheese can absorb flavours and chemicals from the plastic. Before wrapping cheese, scrape down the exposed surfaces with a non-serrated knife. This will remove any excess oils that could have sweat out at room temperature, or foreign objects.
Coffee: Everyone loves a morning brew. And the best way to keep your coffee beans and grounds fresh is in an airtight container in the freezer.
Meat: Freezing meat will keep it fresher for longer and it’s best to do it in its original packaging. Beef and lamb will last for about six months in the freezer, veal, pork, and poultry for about four, and sausages for approximately two months.