HOW TO STORE FRESH FOOD

Follow the storage recommendations on packaged foods. The ‘best before’ date is intended as a guide for when the produce will taste best. The ‘use-by’ date on items such as fish, raw meat, cooked products and ready meals deserves close attention as it’s these foods which could cause stomach upsets or full-blown food poisoning if the use-by date is not respected. Think of the ‘best before’ as a quality guide and ‘use-by’ as a health safety check. Make sure that you also finish these products within the stated time from opening – for instance, once opened use within three days.

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• Home-cooked foods and leftovers: Cool down, cover and refrigerate.

• Meat: Store raw meat away from cooked foods and at the bottom of the fridge to prevent blood from dripping onto other food, which can cause food poisoning. Ensure that cooked meat is properly covered and refrigerated.

• Fruit and vegetables: Store in the fridge if not using straight away or you don’t wish to ripen them Onions, potatoes and apples can be stored on a surface away from direct sunlight or in a cool, dark place, such as a drawer or cupboard. Tomatoes should never be refrigerated as they will lose their flavour.

• Eggs: No need to refrigerate.

• Cooked rice: Refrigerate as soon as it’s cool – ideally within 1 hour – and eat within 24 hours, either cold from the fridge or reheated until the centre is piping hot. Never reheat rice more than once.

Shops sometimes display goods in chiller units because they are best served cold and to give them the appeal of fresh food. If in doubt, keep it in the fridge at home.

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