Food Storage Tips for Caterers
The world of catering is one that is in high demand and can be truly profitable.
However, along with the advantages such an industry can present, it can also bring with it a few pitfalls if food isn’t taken care of properly. In today’s blog, we’re going to offer some simple food storage tips for you to take note of.
Please be sure to keep in mind that the information provided is general advice and that you should investigate proper food storage procedures further to figure out the most effective – and legal – approaches for your business.
Remember that, depending on the food, sunlight can either have a positive or negative effective on the health of food. Typically, certain foods during their growing phase benefit from sunlight, such as many fruits including apples and oranges. However, once these types of fruits have ripened, excessive exposure to sunlight can speed up their rate of deterioration.
Most perishable foods such as biscuits should be stored in dark areas away from sunlight. So keeping them in a pantry-like area is a good idea. And, of course, dairy products should never be left out in the heat as this can cause them coagulate and go off within a matter of a few hours.
Fruits and vegetables
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it’s important to remember that most will deteriorate far quicker if they are left in bags to sweat. When possible, it’s better to allow most fruits and vegetables to breathe. If you must transport them in plastic bags, then be sure to let them breathe as soon as possible. Fruits such as bananas will start to bruise much faster if kept in plastic bags.
Of course, there are certain exceptions to these rules. Lettuce is commonly stored in some form of plastic covering. Don’t forget that before you use lettuce that you should run some cool water over it beforehand.
Many fruits and vegetables can last longer and will stay crisper if kept in the fridge. This is notably applicable to vegetables and fruits such as watermelon and rock melon. However, there are a number of fruits that survive perfectly at room temperature. What’s important is that you avoid excessive humidity and, on most occasions, any sunlight.
Dairy and meats
Dairy and meats would certainly have to be some of the most temperamental perishables out there. If not maintained properly, these foods can deteriorate and develop harmful bacterias very quickly.
As a quick point of reference, if you intend to use meats not too longer after you purchase them, then storing them in the fridge should be fine. This is a common practice among catering companies. However, if you will need to be holding onto any meats for an extended period of time, then you’ll definitely have to freeze them. Freezing meats essentially stops their ageing process. Keep in mind, however, that when defrosting meats, you should do so in the fridge over a period of 24 hours. Simply defrosting meats at room temperature – especially during warmer months – can lead to a host of harmful bacteria essentially coming back to life.
As for dairy products, while freezing can be done, it’s best to simply refrigerate these products and use them before their expiration date.
Use By and Best Before
As a footnote, knowing the difference between the terms “Use By” and “Best Before” is important. Of course, it’s likely that you already know what they mean, but whereas they can be a general guide for consumers, the catering world needs to apply stricter rules surrounding it.
“Use by” means that the product should be used by that point and, if it goes past that expiration date, thrown out. “Best Before” denotes that the product will be at its best quality before the listed date, but could still be consumed a day or two afterwards. However, as a catering company, make sure that any products that go beyond their listed date – whether noted as “Use By” or “Best Before” – are thrown out.
If someone gets ill off food you serve, you could be held liable.
If you’re providing a catering service to regional areas in Queensland or Northern NSW, Cannon Logistics can help transport your goods efficiently while ensuring the quality of your produce. To find out more, call us on (07) 3217 9211.
* Image source: sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net