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Food Storage Tips and Tricks

October 29, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Portland 0 Comments

Food Storage Tips and Tricks Temperature, light, and oxygen can all impact food’s flavor, texture, and longevity. If something is not packaged or stored correctly, the end result can be disastrous for your meal. Follow these tips and tricks for storing food to ensure the end result tastes great and looks great too.

Best Storage Techniques

Dry Ingredients

Pasta, rice, beans, and grains are cost-effective food items to buy in bulk and to store. Sugar, flour, and other dry baking ingredients also are best purchased in bulk.

After purchasing, take the food from the original packaging and store it in an air-tight container. Place the container in a cool, dark, and dry place. You might also try purchasing food-grade plastic pails and gamma lids to hold these dry foods for long periods of time.


If you don’t plan to eat the meat you purchase within a week, then freeze it. Additionally, if you buy more than you need for one meal cut the meat and freeze small pieces individually. This way, when it’s time to cook the food you won’t need to defrost the entire lot; you can simply take what you need and keep the rest frozen.

Leftover meats can be frozen for two to three months while whole, uncooked cuts of meat can be frozen for up to a year. To avoid freezer burn, wrap pieces of meat in either foil and/or plastic wrap multiple times and store in an air tight container or bag.

Leftover anything

When cooked food is stored it loses moisture, so keep in mind that all food will dry out over time. Keep stored food away from sunlight and tighten packaging so there is no air circulating near the food. Most leftover cooked foods need to be eaten within a week unless they are frozen.

What Not to Do When Storing Food

  • While a food may be stored correctly, that doesn’t mean it will taste good after a certain period of time. Always write the date on the container and eat the food within a year (sometimes sooner).
  • When freezing, do not keep meat in its original packaging, since it is not air tight.
  • Don’t allow foods to defrost on a counter. Keep them in the refrigerator until one hour before cooking. After cooking, refrigerate food within two hours.

Foods That Taste Better After Storage


When food is allowed to rest, starches have time to turn to sugars, making food sweeter and more flavorful. Additionally, foods soften and become tenderer with time.


Cucumbers soaked in salt brine for two weeks will result in a tasty treat. Most anything can be pickled. All you need is a sanitary jar that seals and a cool, dark cabinet to store the jar and its contents.


Because moisture evaporates from food with time, you consume less water and more of the concentrated ingredients when eating food that has had time to rest. This is noticeable in lasagna, meat loaf, and other casserole dishes.

This article is presented by The Western Culinary Institute. The Western Culinary Institute offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/ Portland Chefs.edu/Portland for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. The Western Culinary Institute does not guarantee employment or salary.


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