Remember those days when our moms would fret about keeping the whole month’s food supply safe? She would find different hacks of storing them so the ration did not get infested with insects or molds. At that time, we probably did not understand what the whole fuss was about. However, most of us would have realized what it meant after all that panic-buying
ng we did at the neighborhood grocery hours before the lockdown kicked in. After many trials and errors, we would have eventually found some way or the other to keep our food supply safe. Nonetheless, you would have wished someone informed about it earlier. Yet, like they say, it is never too late to learn. And, of course, we are always there to provide you some tips to keep your food supply safe.
Different Ways Of Food Infestation
Before you start finding ways to keep food safe, you first need to understand the most common ways that food supply can get infested or spoiled. Here are some of the ways that often result in damage of food supply:
Not Following Storage Instructions: Almost every food item comes with a storage instruction. The most common that we come across – “Store in a cool and dry place”, “Keep away from direct sunlight”, “Refrigerate immediately”, etc. But how often do we actually follow them? In all likelihood, the answer to this would be a “No.” Not following storage instructions is, therefore, one of the most common reasons for food supply damage.
Storing In An Improper Manner: In most Indian households, especially large families, the food supply has been traditionally stocked in closed cabinets, big plastic buckets, or even steel drums with a lid.
Even modern families too do not often store their food supply correctly. Loose bottle lids, open noodles/pasta packets spilling over, or different types of flours/pulses squeezed into one big jar is a common sight.
It is very important to store different types of food separately, failing which results in damage to the food supply.
No Routine Check Of The Stocks: Another problem that contributes to food supply damage is the absence or delayed check of stocks. It is pretty common for people to buy food stocks more than the amount that is required. This is then stocked and forgotten in some corner of the kitchen cabinet. It is no wonder then that most of these food stocks often exceed their expiry date. Not checking food stocks periodically also results in the collection of molds due to moisture, spillage, and even insect infestation.
Three Ways To Keep Your Food Supply Safe
Now that you know how your food supply can get spoiled, here’s how you can keep it safe:
Store The Food Supply In The Right Manner
Never store oils, pulses, grains, flours, and sugar packets together. A small tear or burst in any one of them is all it takes to spoil the entire food supply. Also, different types of food items attract different types of infestations. For instance, while sugar attracts ants, pulses and dals can attract aphids (black insects) that spoil these foods. Similarly, different kinds of insects and worms that commonly infect rice can also infect pulses. Thus, it is important to store dry items separately to prevent the spread of these insects.
Even oils and flours should be stored separately as any oil leakage can seep into the flours and spoil them completely. When it comes to instant foods like noodles, pastas, or even quick-fix soups, often people use them partially and store the half-open packets improperly. This results in insects and rodents like cockroaches getting attracted to the smell of the food items. Such insects not only spoil the food but can also contaminate the food items which could lead to serious diseases. To avoid this, once you open a packet of instant food, try to utilize its constants fully. Otherwise, fasten the open end tightly with a rubber band and store the packet in an airtight container.
Follow Storage Different Storage Instructions:
Every food item needs to be stored in a different way. Therefore, it is imperative to read the instructions on storing them. Certain foods that have to be stored in cool and dry places should be kept in dry, airtight containers away from direct sunlight. Oils, such as olive oil, are a good example. Such foods tend to oxidize when kept in direct sunlight. Some ready foods that contain milk as an ingredient have a shorter shelf life and need to be consumed within a short time. These types of foods need to be kept in a refrigerator. Other foods that have a very short shelf life are fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, poultry products, meats, etc. All of them need to be either refrigerated or frozen to keep them safe from spoiling.
Check The Dates
Checking the expiry dates of products is important, both at the time of purchase as well as when it is stored at home. Make it a habit to periodically look up the dates of the stored products. Do not peel away the labels so you don’t miss out on it. If some products have the expiry date or period mentioned on the outer cartons, make a note of it on a sticky note before discarding the carton. Stick the note inside the storage cabinet or put it inside the box containing the product so you do not miss it. You need to do the same with all products that are stored in the refrigerators or frozen as the moisture can wipe out the dates.
Food is an essential commodity and needs to be stored properly to avoid damage. We need to remember that a lot of hard work, labor, and time goes into cultivating, nurturing, and bringing us the food the way we see it. Therefore, during these difficult times, it is important that we ensure good ways of storing it and avoid wastage. This is the least we can do from our side for the betterment of the society as well as ourselves. Don’t you agree?