Restaurants are filled to the brim with food. Have you ever wondered how they are able to store everything properly and nothing goes bad?
You would be surprised at the ways restaurants are able to store so much food in such small spaces. You can use these rules to either help you organize your restaurant or even your home kitchen.
Why Proper Food Storage is So Important
Proper food storage is important because it keeps food ingredients safe to eat. If they aren’t properly stored then it can lead to cross-contamination, food spoiling, and to a messy, unhygienic kitchen.
This can lead to food poisoning. If you have ever had food poisoning, you know how bad it can get. It can also force you to buy more food sooner than you need, creating a lot of food waste.
8 Ways to Store Food Properly
Here are some ways that professional chefs and their restaurants keep everything organized.
1. Use the FIFO Rule
This stands for first in, first out. When you get new food, place the new stuff behind the old stuff. This way the food that is closest to expiring is in the front and you will use it first.
You can also create an organizational chart for all the food and ingredients that you have.
2. Use Labels
Labeling all food items with the date it was bought will help you and your employees keep track of the freshness of your ingredients.
You can even give item its own shelf or area to be even more organized.
3. Get Proper Shelving
You should invest in a quality wire, wall mounted, or polymer shelving to keep your food storage area clean and organized.
Try to maximize the space you have, and keep everything clean.
4. Refrigeration & Temperature Control
Make sure you don’t overfill your fridge with food. You need to give plenty of space between food, containers, bags, and bins in the fridge and freezer. Packing food too tightly makes the fridge work harder or could even make it stop cooling all together.
5. Proper Places for Food
Meats should be stored on the lowest shelf to reduce the chance of dropping juices and contamination of other ingredients. You should also put meat in food pans with lids to prevent spillage in your kitchen.
Produce should be away from fans because fruits and vegetables are more susceptible to damage. You can refrigerate them at the same temperature as your meat and dairy products.
Dry goods need to stay in cool and dry areas with good ventilation and refrigerated between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To reduce bacterial growth, humidity needs to be at 60% or lower. Also, make sure it’s away from any heating equipment.
6. Food Should Be Put in Air Tight Containers
The minute food is exposed to air, it starts to spoil. To increase its shelf life, make sure to put it in an airtight container.
You can use food storage boxes, ingredients bins, and food pans with lids to make sure everything is safe from bacteria and infestations.
7. Store Food Off the Floor
The Food and Drug Administration Food Code says that food should be stored at a minimum of 6 inches above the floor.
This is to prevent any dirt or dust from soaking through bags and such.
8. Clean Everything
This may seem obvious, but you need to make sure everything is clean. Create a schedule for you and your employees so that the food area is consistently clean.
If it gets dirty, it will ruin the food and then you have to throw it away. That’s just a waste of food.
Small Things Can Make a Big Difference
You would be surprised at how small things like this can make a big difference in how long your food lasts. You can easily implement these rules without much trouble. You probably have done some of these things already.
It’s amazing how much longer the shelf life can get with proper storage. You will be amazed at how much more professional your kitchen will feel thanks to this storage preparation.