Out with the old, in with the new yearHave you done an inventory of the foods you have on hand? The new year is a good time to check your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards. To avoid wasting valuable food, plan menus that make use of the food you have. Check your refrigerator first because refrigerated food is perishable food. It needs to be used within a certain period of time for best quality and for safety.
By: Luella Morehouse, The Jamestown Sun
Have you done an inventory of the foods you have on hand? The new year is a good time to check your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards. To avoid wasting valuable food, plan menus that make use of the food you have.
Check your refrigerator first because refrigerated food is perishable food. It needs to be used within a certain period of time for best quality and for safety.
Note your frozen food on hand. Frozen food is safe as long as it is kept frozen. It can lose quality and can get freezer burn (dry out) when stored too long or in the wrong packaging.
Check your pantry. Canned and dry food have a longer shelf life compared with refrigerated foods. Commercially canned food has a storage life of two to five years. Canned tomatoes, fruits and other acidic foods are best used within a two-year time period.
Label the foods you buy with the date you brought them home. Arrange your cupboards and freezer with the “oldest” food in front.
We are having a potluck dinner for New Year’s Day, and I’m in charge of setting it up. What can I do to be sure all the food stays safe?
* Set out serving spoons and/or tongs for each item so people do not touch food with their hands.
* Watch the clock. Perishable food (such as salads, cut-up fruit, meat, gravy) should spend no more than two hours at room temperature.
* Keep hot food hot. Use slow cookers to hold hot foods hot, or keep fully cooked foods warm in an oven set at 200 to 250 degrees.
* Keep cold foods cold. For extra safety when making salads, pre-chill the ingredients (such as cans of fruit and salad dressing). Make an “ice nest” in a bowl and set the bowls of salad or cut-up fruit on the ice.
* Put out smaller amounts of food at a time to maintain quality.
I have a great vegetable dip recipe made with 1 cup of sour cream, but it’s pretty high in fat. What can I do to make it healthier?
Make a simple swap to nonfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt to reduce fat and calories. You can trim more than 44 grams of fat and 309 calories from your recipe with nonfat yogurt. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of regular sour cream is 444 calories, 45 grams of fat; one cup of fat-free sour cream is 195 calories, 0 grams of fat; and one cup of nonfat plain yogurt is 135 calories, 0.5 grams of fat.
Excerpted from “http:// www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletters.htm.” If you would like the “FN-579 Food Storage Guide” publication, contact Luella Morehouse, FNP Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First Street East, Jamestown, ND.
Reach Morehouse at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ ndsu.edu.