Culinary

Tips for Unpacking and Storing Groceries

You’ve made it home from the store with all of your groceries in tow, and now you are tasked with safely and efficiently putting them away. Where to begin? Our tips below will help you navigate food storage and organization to make your groceries last longer, and make cooking with them easier, too!

Tip 1: Raw Animal Proteins

Many people purchase a week’s worth of food in one shopping trip. For us, that could mean multiple packages of chicken, beef, turkey, and fish to name a few. Unless you are planning to cook all of your meats within 1-2 days after purchasing, you’ll need to learn the best practices for storing and thawing meat.

If packaging from the store seems like it’s leaking or a bit flimsy, best to wrap your meat in another layer of plastic wrap, or better yet, stick in a freezer safe resealable plastic bag. Store raw meats on the most bottom part of your freezer.

To thaw meats, the safest way to do so is in your refrigerator. About 24 hours before you’re planning to cook your meat, remove it from the freezer and transfer to the bottom shelf in your refrigerator. If the meat is still not properly thawed when you are ready to cook, transfer the wrapped meat to a large bowl and fill with cool water. Allow to sit in the water bath until meat is no longer frozen.

Tip 2: Lettuces, Herbs, and Leafy things

Thoroughly rinsing, drying, and storing lettuces and herbs can be a bit time consuming, but is worthwhile for having prepared greens on-hand for salads, sandwiches, and snacks.

Before even putting the greens away, fill a large bowl with cold water. Submerge lettuces and herbs in the water, separating the pieces and gently rubbing off any visible dirt. Allow the dirt to sink to the bottom of the bowl, then remove the greens and discard the water, repeating as necessary with fresh cool water until all dirt is gone.

Once you have removed the greens from the water, transfer to dry paper towels and allow to dry thoroughly until no visible water remains. Alternatively, if you have a salad spinner, you can use that as well. If desired, once your greens have dried, you can chop up your lettuces or pick herbs from stems to store them completely prepped. Whether prepped or left whole, once greens are sufficiently dried, transfer to a large resealable plastic bag with layers of dry paper towels to soak up any excess moisture.

If you are purchasing pre-rinsed lettuces and herbs, then our only recommendation is to add a dry paper towel to the container with the greens. This paper towel will absorb any excess moisture that tends to build up with greens. You can switch it out after a few days if it appears to be damp.

Tip 3: Fruits and Vegetables

Although you may be tempted to pre-rinse berries and grapes for easy snacking, this will actually make them spoil much more quickly. These fruits are filled with water to begin with, so introducing more water will make them soggy and mushy in no time. Best to store berries and grapes in the perforated containers they came in. This allows for some airflow around the fruit. Then just rinse these items right before consuming. For whole fruits and vegetables (like peppers, cucumbers, and apples), try to store them without any packaging (like produce bags), or transfer them to a large resealable plastic bag with some holes in it to allow for air circulation.

Michelle Gilbert

Michelle leads culinary product development at Season, crafting and testing the recipes that clients prepare at home. Michelle has spent the past 7 years working in recipe development, with a focus on healthy and approachable meals for home chefs. She attended the French Culinary Institute where she was trained in classic French cuisine, and continues to apply those fundamentals to everyday cooking. Michelle’s favorite recipes are seasonal comfort food with a healthy twist.

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