Storing Meal Preparation (Keep Safe Food 100% Safe!)
Storing Meal Preparation the correct way means the difference between a ton of wasted food and a day of horrible sickness. Storage is extremely important, I mean who likes bacteria in their food? Not me thats for sure.
Have you ever had food poisoning? That’s just one of the issues that we want to avoid here.
There are things you should always be doing in the kitchen and I will be working on a guide for best kitchen practices and will update here when It has been completed.
Now lets get into you handling your food for storage and how to keep your food clean the easiest way.
Food Storage Temperatures
The temperature of which you cook your foods as well as how and at what temperatures you store your food.
Lets cover the best practices for handling your foods temperatures throughout the week!
The Danger Zone is where you want to keep your food out of. It is the range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F in which bacteria grows more rapidly and increases the danger food poisoning.
The Goal is to keep our food out of those ranges.
Your Refrigerator should be kept at 40°F or under.
Your Freezer should be kept at 0°F or under.
You should move always cool food in low shallow dishes.
I would suggest transferring your portioned meal dishes into your fridge to cool, then freeze the portions your do not plan on eating.
Food Left in the DANGER ZONE for more than 2 Hours before being transferred to the fridge to cool has started growing bacteria.
You should never put hot food in the freezer, it can dethaw surrounding food and raise the freezer temperature increasing the risk of ruining other food.
Fridge then Freeze.
To be clear you have 2 hours from when your food is removed from heat to transfer it a cooling dish or storage containers.
Reheating Meal Prep
You can thaw in the microwave by reheating until the internal temperature of the meal has reached 165°F. The meal must be consumed immediately.
You can also thaw by placing your meal prep in the refrigerator until it has thawed. You must eat this meal within 3 to 4 days to avoid contamination.
Never Leave Food in the DANGER ZONE for more than 2 hours.
You can heat the meal up in the microwave, oven or stovetop as long as the internal temperature of the meal has reached at least 165°F.
What Not To Do
Do Not Reheat and Restore. Once food has been reheated it cannot be placed back in the fridge or freezer safely.
Containers for Storing Meal Preparation
The containers can be something that is hard to manage. You might need large containers, small containers all sizes and sorts.
The important part is having varying sizes and that is usually accomplished by getting a pack of the large soup containers and some of the split tray containers and building your way up from there.
Plastic containers offer the best variety of containers for storing meal preparation.
They are easy to replace, most often inexpensive and are built to stack making storing them way easier than most other containers.
The drawback to plastic is they breakdown when you heat food up in them. I will always suggest transferring the food to a plate or a glass dish to avoid residue getting in your food.
Glass containers are more expensive but unless you break them, they do not need to be replaced.
Once you have figured out the style of meals that you enjoy most, I would invest in getting glass versions.
It is easier to reheat your food without ruining the container, and they are easily washable.
Ziplock Storage Bags
The Ziplock Method is something that I have done on and off when we do large stir fry meals or pasta dishes.
I do this mainly when I plan to freeze a large portion for the family. I can transfer the bag to the fridge, once it has thawed it can be dumped into a pan and reheated.
I like the transferability of this method, but sometimes the ziplocks aren’t strong enough.
Labeling is extremely important in storing meal preparation.
You need to know what it is (frozen meals sometimes can be difficult to see without opening them and even then!)
You need to know when you made it and when it should be thrown out.
We use strips of white tape to write on our containers. You can just peel it off and replace it with a different one!
Here is what your label should look like!
-Name of Meal
-2 Months Later (If freezing this is your expiration date)
-Allergens (Only if you have family members that you worry might dig in)
Other Meal Prep Guides!
Show me your Food Prep on Instagram! Tag me @keepitrealrecipes to be showcased!