Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. One doesn’t have to adhere to a strict diet or an extensive list of guidelines to follow healthy eating. Centenarians (people who live for more than a century) from the Blue Zones (regions of the world where people live longer lives) can explain the importance of a healthy, plant-based diet which plays a significant role in living a long and happy life. And this should begin with stockpiling goods with long shelf lives in the refrigerator.
Keep the pantry, refrigerator and freezer filled with longevity-promoting foods to create a Blue Zone in the house.
8 Foods to have in the fridge
Dark chocolate is a healthier version of sugar-filled chocolates. With strong disease-fighting polyphenols present in them, dark chocolate has been linked to weight loss.
Always has dark chocolate on stock, and not just for chocolate cravings. It can also be a pleasant surprise in sauces. Dark chocolate can also be an excellent add-on to several dishes.
Having lettuce on hand is crucial because lettuce is a primary component of salads which are fantastic meals or side dishes.
For the longer-lasting freshness of lettuce and other greens, add a couple of dry paper towels to the container and store them in the refrigerator.
One can add lettuce or any greens to any soup or pasta. Also, most lettuces are over 90% water, helping us remain hydrated.
While one may preserve a lot of vegetables in the freezer, it’s wonderful to have fresh options available.
Broccoli is best stored in the refrigerator and is packed with nutrients, as are other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy.
They can be chopped and added to spaghetti, chilli or tacos after being roasted as a side dish. Some of these vegetables match well with dips like hummus and tzatziki and are also tasty when eaten raw.
Since the wheat germ spoils and turns rancid much more quickly than other forms of flour, whole wheat flour should be kept in the refrigerator after being opened. The same is true for nut flour like cashew or almond flour.
Natural, unprocessed peanut butter should be stored in the fridge if it won’t be used within a few weeks, just like other nut butter. The peanut butter will spoil much faster at room temperature than it does in the refrigerator because the oils will separate and may turn rancid. However, refrigeration will also make the peanut butter hard and challenging to spread, so if at all feasible, take the jar out about an hour before using it.
Soy and nut milk need to be refrigerated and used within a week after being opened.
The same goes for nuts and nut oils, which should be refrigerated if they aren’t going to be eaten within a few months.
Since nuts contain relatively little water, they can be stored for up to four months at room temperature, for nearly a year in the refrigerator and even longer in the freezer.
When kept in the refrigerator or on the counter, fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, beets, cabbage, spaghetti squash, rutabagas, pomegranates, carrots and citrus fruits can last for a few weeks or more.
On storing the following fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, they’ll remain fresh and last longer.
- Bok choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Dijon Mustard
This hot mustard is excellent on sandwiches as well as in vinaigrettes. Additionally, it keeps in the refrigerator for months.
- The Tahini
This rich, velvety paste gives dressings a creamy texture and savoury flavour. It is made from powdered sesame seeds. Also, it keeps for months in the refrigerator.
- Pasta, fish and omelettes have the umami flavour when these are added. In the fridge, both kinds last for a very long time.
- Proteins might be challenging for maintaining health. Beans and lentils are excellent choices. Smoked salmon is fantastic for sandwiches, salads, omelettes or pasta. Eggs are one of the meals that cook the fastest and are a great source of protein. A big egg has slightly more than 6 g of protein.
- Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that promote eye health. Boiling them works best for salads.
To keep the eggs at a safe temperature, store them in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C). They will last around three weeks.
- Salted meats
Most beef jerky packets and packages of cured meat don’t need to be refrigerated. However, it is advised to finish the entire package of cured beef within a few days to a week of opening it. If not, cool the cured meat to preserve its freshness.
Depending on the method of preparation and preservation and how they are stored, various cured portions of meat will stay fresh for some amount of time after being opened.
Keep the tofu in an airtight container with fresh water after opening the package. Try to use up all of the remaining tofu within a week of opening it, and change the water every day or two. Eat cooked tofu in two days.
Greek yoghurt contains probiotics, which are good microorganisms that promote intestinal health, in contrast to many sour cream alternatives. Also, it contains less fat than sour cream.
Yoghurt should not be left unrefrigerated longer than two hours. When kept at room temperature, bacteria start to grow.
Some people keep the butter out of the refrigerator to make it easier to spread. It’s better to only leave a little portion out at a time while keeping the remainder in the fridge because it should last for one to two weeks.
Scrambled eggs, salads and tacos are some of the foods to eat with cheese on top.
Other alternatives, such as goat, blue, Parmesan, sharp cheddar, or feta, can be used since there will be fewer calories and saturated fat, which may aid in weight management.
When choosing the cheese, keep in mind that harder cheeses like Parmesan and cheddar keep better in the refrigerator for 3–4 weeks after opening than other softer cheese.
- Plant and animal-based milk
Milk is a mandatory food to store in the refrigerator as it is used in many dishes.
Whole milk has a wonderful flavour, but depending on the preferences and health objectives, low-fat or plant-based alternatives are also completely nutritious.
When selecting plant-based milk, make sure to choose the unsweetened, plain version and choose varieties that have been supplemented with calcium and vitamin D.
Avocados can be kept from ripening by storing them in the refrigerator. Keep them in the fridge while not eating them immediately to prevent them from over-ripening. Leave them on the counter until they are ripe.
- Ripe bananas
Unripe bananas shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator since doing so would stop the ripening process, which might not start again even after taking the bananas out of the fridge. A ripe banana will prevent over-ripening by keeping it in the refrigerator. Although the peel will darken, the banana will still taste perfectly ripe.
For extending their shelf life, grapes should be refrigerated as soon as they are brought.
- Citrus fruits
Although it’s not strictly essential, storing oranges and lemons in the refrigerator will extend their shelf life by up to four times.
- Fresh herbs
Herbs are best stored with tissues in the refrigerator or kept in water to keep them fresh.
Why storing foods in the refrigerator is helpful?
The primary function of a refrigerator is to maintain the coldness of food. Food retains its freshness longer in colder temperatures. Refrigeration works by reducing the activity of the germs that are present in food, which means that it will take longer for the food to get spoiled.
For instance, if milk is left out at ambient temperature on the kitchen counter, germs will contaminate the milk in two to three hours. However, lowering the milk’s temperature will stay fresh for a week or two as the refrigerator’s cold temperature reduces the bacteria’s activity.
The milk can be preserved for months by freezing to completely eliminate microorganisms (until effects like freezer burn begin to spoil the milk in non-bacterial ways).
Two of the most popular methods of food preservation used today are freezing and refrigeration.
Perishable foods like fruits, vegetables and freshly cooked food are preserved and usually used for later use and kept in the refrigerator.
Food deterioration can be significantly slowed down by refrigeration. Microorganism growth and the pace of chemical and enzymatic changes in food are both slowed down by low temperatures. These are the reasons why food spoils. The refrigerator will function at various temperatures for various components.
What is your top 3 must-haves in your fridge?
Milk and curd are two of the essential dairy products that frequently play a crucial role in daily life.
Butters and sauces, lemons, juices, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, cheese and canned foods are some foods to have in the fridge.
What foods should not be kept in the fridge?
1. Fruits that are not suitable for refrigerator storage.
Fruits that can be left out on the counter include apricots, pears, avocados, bananas, guava, kiwis, mangoes, melons, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pineapples, plantains, plums and starfruit.
Shallots, onions and garlic
Vegetable, olive, coconut and other cooking oils can soon solidify in the refrigerator, just like honey does.
What should go on each shelf in the fridge?
1. Upper shelf
Foods that don’t require cooking, such as meats and leftovers, are kept on the upper shelves.
2. Lower/middle shelves
Middle shelves are reserved for dairy items such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter.
Raw meat and fish that have been wrapped should be kept in this refrigerator’s coldest section.
4. Bottom shelf
Cross-contamination risk is reduced by storing raw food on the bottom shelf.
Fruit, salads and vegetables should all be kept in their original packaging in the salad drawer where they will be contained.
Herbs can’t freeze when placed too much inside the refrigerator, so this is a nice spot to keep them.
6. Door shelves
The warmest and most sensitive part of the refrigerator to changes in temperature is here. Keep condiments, jams, juice and other items with natural preservatives here.
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