Correct storage

So that everythings stays fresh and tasty

  • … outside the fridge

  • … in the fridge

  • … in the freezer

  • Avoid freezer burn

Toppits® Tips for correct storage outside the fridge

In general
A pantry or larder are fine things, as long as they are dark and well aired. Dry goods should be stored at a maximum of 70 % humidity and a temperature of around 15 to 20 °C. To keep a good overview it helps to keep product types together and to arrange them in compartments. For example, keep rice and pasta in one compartment, tinned food in another. It is important to protect food in glass jars from the light. Make sure that newer products are stored at the back or on the bottom shelf so that older products are used first. Opened foil or cardboard packs can be ideally stored airtight in one of the many Toppits® bags.

Best before date
With the exception of sugar all dry goods have a BBD (best before date) which you should keep an eye on. The BBD on all food should regularly be checked. In order to see all information about the product at a glance, use the labelling area on Toppits® bags. On this easy to see labelling area you can write the contents, amount, storage date and BBD. You don't need a special pen for this, just a normal ballpoint. A good idea for writing notes is to use Toppits® Freezing Labels. They are self adhesive and colour coded so that each type of food has its own colour.

The BBD on the pack is sometimes not enough to ensure that your food is in top condition. If food is contaminated with mould or insects, it should be disposed of immediately. Do not forget to thoroughly clean the shelf or the drawer afterwards. This also goes for when packaging is bloated or lids on jars are not completely closed. The contents should not be eaten.

Important information on certain food
Where should you keep nutmeg or bay leaves until you make the next stew? Unchopped spices or closed spice packs fit perfectly in Toppits® Mini Zip Bags: simply pack each type individually in bags, write clearly on the labelling area of the bag with a ball point pen and store in a case, container or index card box.

There are differences in how biscuits and cookies should be wrapped: Crispy biscuits, especially with nuts, will stay crispy and tasty when wrapped in Toppits® Alufoil. Macaroons and other soft cookies keep their consistency best when wrapped in Toppits® Clingfilm.

Foods which are used daily but not kept in the fridge also need to be stored well. For example fresh sliced bread stays fresh longer when stored in 8l Toppits® Double Closure Freezer Bags. Onions and garlic should be stored in a dry, dark place. They can be kept in the vegetable drawer in the fridge or in Toppits® Fruit and Vegetable Bags. It is also very important to store flour, cornflakes etc in a dry place. Our tip: Fill Mini Zip Closure Bags with coarse salt, put holes in the bag with a thin needle and place next to these foods on the shelf or in the cupboard. This will take the moisture out of the air.

Toppits® Tips to store things in the fridge

In general
Good storage starts when you go shopping. You should keep things cool on the way home. In high temperatures you should use a cool bag to transport sensitive food. In the fridge, packing and covering are important. Storing using suitable Toppits® products protects your food from drying out or transferring smells or germs, and increases their shelf life. Storage times for food depend on how fresh it is to start with, the storage temperature and humidity and the type of packaging.

Fridges
As cold air comes from above and in the lowest uncooled part of the fridge warm air rises, your fridge has different cold zones. These are suitable for storing different types of product. No matter where you store it, food should not be packed too close together. The air in your fridge should be able to circulate well and cool the air sufficiently. New food should be stored at the back and should not come into contact with the back wall of the fridge. Storage in the correct Toppits® products protects your food from drying out or transferring smells or germs, and increases their shelf life. So all food should be well packed before storing. Static, dynamic or with different zones: Different fridges have different cooling capacities.

Conventional fridges have static cooling, this means that cold zones with temperatures between 0 °C and about 10 °C are created.

Compartment

Temperature

Food

Highest compartment 8 - 10 °C

Durable food, cooked food (first cool it down), open packagings, cheese, smoked food.

Central compartment Ca. 5 °C

Dairy products like yoghurt, cream, curd cheese, crème fraîche.

Glass compartment / compartment above the vegetable cooler 0 - 2/3 °C

Food, that is easily perishable, e. g. minced meat, cold meat, steaks, fish. In general, this food should be covered, so that microorganisms can not increase: fish, cold meat, meat products and meat.

Door 7 - 10 °C

Milk, beverages, butter, ketchup, eggs, sauces.

Vegetable cooler 5 - 8 °C

Fruits and vegetables. This food does not belong in the fridge: Tropical fruits that are sensitive to low temperatures, e. g. bananas and pineapples as well as tomatoes.

A fridge with dynamic cooling has a ventilator, which optimises the heat exchange. In a dynamic fridge food can be stored in any compartment.

A modern multi-zone fridge has additional temperature zones, for example a divided cold storage zone for dry (relative humidity from around 50 %) and humid (about 90 %) as well as a cellar zone with temperatures from 8 °C to 14 °C. The different temperatures mean food can be stored for longer.

Clime

Ideal for ...

Zero-degree-zone, dry (rel. air humidity 50-55 %)

Fish, meat, cold meat, poultry, dairy products, cheese (wrapped).

Zero-degree-zone, humid air (rel. air humidity up to 95 %)

Vegetable, not sensitive to low temperatures, Fruits, herbs, mushrooms and salad (stored in Fruit and Vegetable Bags from Toppits®).

Cooling zone (4-8 degrees)

Eggs, marge, jam, pre-cooked food, baked goods and mayonnaise (covered or wrapped).

Basement zone (8-14 degrees)

Food, that is sensitive to low temperatures, e. g. tropical fruits, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes.

Fruits and vegetables
Food changes when for example the natural ripening agent ethylene is emitted or the humidity drops. The colourless ripening agent ethylene is emitted from certain types of fruit and vegetables, this means that other fruits stored adjacent ripen faster. Apples, apricots and tomatoes have especially high emissions and also avocados, bananas and pears. While fruit which is sensitive to ethylene can soon become soft and mushy, other fruit ripens better. The relative humidity is lowered by cold storage, this also extends the shelf life of the food. As fruit and vegetables need high humidity, Toppits® Fruit and Vegetable Bags regulate the atmosphere in an optimal way. It is generally true that with fruit and vegetables which are sensitive to cold, storing in the fridge can affect the consistency and taste. Hard foods (eg onions) can be wrapped and labelled in Toppits® Alufoil. But be careful: Food which is especially sour, salty or alkaline should not be kept in alufoil, as with longer storage aluminium salts can transfer to the food. But this is not dangerous for your health.

To preserve valuable nutrients, the storage time for fruit and vegetables should be as short as possible . The following fruit is sensitive to cold and should be stored in the fridge at 10 °C to 14 °C (e.g. in the vegetable drawer or cellar zone) or in a cool cellar: Guave, citrus fruits, melon, pomegranite, mango, passion fruit and papaya. Fruit can also be stored at room temperature, as can vegetables which will be eaten on the same day or the following day. Fruit with stones should be kept in the bottom compartment of the fridge at 2 °C to 4 °C , then it can be stored for 3 or 4 days. To allow the flavour to fully develop it is best to take fruit out of the fridge one or two hours before eating. To avoid bruising, fruit can be kept in a flat bowl or plate and covered with Toppits® Covering Caps. Storage temperatures for vegetables, like peppers aubergines, courgettes, cucumbers, green beans, pumpkins, tomatoes depend on type, potatoes are ideally stored at 6 °C to 8 °C. With bunched carrots, kohlrabi, fennel and celeriac the green should always be removed to maximise the storage time. By the way, the green can be used as a substitute for herbs or garnish. Fresh herbs can be stored in a glass of water or moistened in a Toppits® Zipper®.

Cheese and cold meats
Cheese should be kept in the fridge and is at its best if it is taken out half an hour before eating. As good cheese should be allowed to breathe, Toppits® Sandwichpaper is ideal for wrapping whole pieces of cheese. Or use Toppits® Alufoil which should first be perforated using a needle. Grated cheese should be used within a few days to avoid mould developing. Once grated, cheese keeps fresh longer in a Toppits® Zipper® and can be used straight from the bag. Ham, salami and other cold meats can be served on a plate separate from cheese and covered with Toppits® Clingfilm until you are ready to eat it. Alternatively Toppits® Covering Caps are very practical, as they are elasticated and can be simply and quickly removed and then used to cover your food again.

Odours
Everything not in its original pack or which is kept loose, needs special protection to prevent odours from developing. The contents of opened tins should be stored in a suitable container and covered. The flexible Toppits® Covering Caps are ideal as they are available in various sizes. Cooked food should be quickly cooled and hygienically packed in Toppits® Freezer & Cooking Bags. Open containers can be ideally closed with alufoil which is aroma proof . The good air in the fridge can be supported with slices of lemon, baking powder or a small bowl of ground coffee. Diluted vinegar is good for regularly cleaning your fridge.

Toppits® Tips for storing in the freezer

In general
The best possible cooling chain and an even build up of ice crystals are important when freezing food. The quicker food is frozen in a Toppits® bag, the better. The advantages when you defrost it are: The food maintains its consistency, the product only loses a small amount of moisture, and leaked moisture from the cells can be reabsorbed. This is because the main component of food is water, in which salt, protein, carbohydrate etc are dissolved. When freezing, the moisture from the intercellular areas freezes first, and the faster and more evenly ice crystals are formed, the less cells are destroyed.

To freeze well, food should be frozen in small portions, as flat and as quickly as possible. Toppits® products create the best conditions to freeze perfectly. The labelling of Toppits® bags with information on the food and the date means they can be frozen perfectly. For best results do not exceed your freezer's capacity. You can find more information on the model plate and in your appliance's operating manual.

Meat
When freezing meat it is important to know that the fat content of frozen meat still reacts with oxygen and bacteria can build up again when it is defrosted. The shelf life depends on, among other things, the fat content and on how small the portions are. To remove individual portions of meat such as schnitzel they should be frozen individually. Cooked or raw sausage or ham can be frozen perfectly in slices or cubes in Toppits® Freezer Bags. It is best to separate the individual portions with sandwich or baking paper. Later, simply defrost for a short time or add to soup, casseroles or pizza straight from the freezer. Poultry or large pieces of meat should be defrosted before cooking. To allow water from defrosting to drain well and hygienically, use a sieve in the fridge or Toppits® Barbecue Tray or Cross & Frit® paper to soak up the moisture.

Fish
For fish:The leaner it is the better it can be frozen in a Toppits® Freezer Bag. The fish should be filleted, scaled and ready to eat before freezing. Fresh fish keeps fresh for longer in the freezer if it is immersed in ice water before freezing, wrapped in Clingfilm and then frozen in a Toppits® Freezer Bag. Smoked fish and matjes are ideal for freezing: simply take them out of the bag and allow to defrost at room temperature.

Vegetables
The type of vegetable and the harvesting time are important when freezing fresh vegetables. The time from the harvest to the Toppits® Freezer Bag should not be too long. To blanch or not to blanch before freezing? Brief immersion in boiling and then freezing water can affect the colour, taste and quality of the vegetables. As later the cooking time is shorter, the times given in the recipe have to be adjusted. It also saves time later if you freeze fresh herbs (without stalks) in a Toppits® Zipper®. When cooking simply rub the frozen herbs together and use them straight from the Toppits® bag.

Fruits
Fine fruits are happy in the freezer. For example, did you know that apples and pears can be frozen excellently in slices? Before freezing in a Freezer Bag, you can blanch them briefly and dab dry to avoid getting ice on the surfaces when you freeze them. Moist fruits are best frozen as puree or compote, berries should first be frozen loose on a Toppits® Barbecue Tray, so they don't stick together. Then simply put them in a Freezer Bag and when you need them, use frozen to make compote, pudding or sauce.

Baked goods
Sweet or savoury, sliced or whole: When freezing and defrosting baked goods there are a few things to consider. Cream cakes are best frozen first in slices then put together again as sliced cakes, they can then be frozen in Toppits® 8L Double Closure Freezer Bags. Slices of bread can be removed individually if the slices are separated with Sandwich Paper or Alufoil before freezing. Talking about defrosting: Toast can be taken straight from the freezer and put in the toaster. Bread and rolls should be briefly defrosted then heated in the oven for about 5 minutes to make them crisp. It is best to completely defrost cake mix or dough at room temperature before use.

Milk / Milk products
Fatty milk products and many types of cheese are very suitable for freezing. The more fat in a milk product and the less moisture in cheese, the better they are for freezing, cream and mascarpone for example. Cream cheese, soft cheese and blue cheese on the other hand are usually mushy after freezing. If it is first grated, then hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino can be frozen and separated into portions. Sliced cheese can be removed in individual slices, if you separate the slices before freezing with Toppits® Sandwichpaper or Alufoil and then put them in a Freezer Bag.

Food, not suitable for freezing
Not everything stays good or improves when it is frozen. Some foods are not suitable for freezing. This includes products with a high water content, such as lettuce, melon, cucumber and tomatoes. Grapes are also not suitable (become mushy) or bananas in their peel. Raw eggs cannot be frozen as they would burst in the freezer. However if you separate the white and the yolk they can be frozen separately. Dairy products such as milk, sour cream, custard, yoghurt or ricotta are best enjoyed fresh. When they are defrosted they become grainy or flocculate. Butter cream and meringue are also not suitable for freezing, as they become watery or tough in the freezer.

Defrost
Food should be defrosted as gently as possible. Freezing stops the development of microorganisms. When defrosting, the microorganisms can multiply as the temperature rises. The more gently you defrost, the better, whether in the fridge or a steamer. There is a good place to defrost each product. In the fridge at 5 °C: meat, poultry and bread. In the oven or kitchen at 20 °C to 30 °C: sensitive foods such as cream cake, chops, and steaks. In the microwave on defrost setting (see manufacturers instructions): meat, poultry, baked goods and fruit. In a steamer at 50 °C: meat and dairy products. Larger foods defrost quicker if placed on an aluminium tray or in an iron pan. The metal conducts heat, and the large surface area allows the ambient air to affect the product. Smaller products can defrost in a cold water bath in a Toppits® Double Closure Freezer Bags. First, stroke the air out of the bag and close completely. Important: Defrost liquid from meat, fish and poultry should be disposed of immediately. Defrosted food, with the exception of cooked food, should be used quickly and should not be re-frozen.

What is freezer burn?
If air gets to your frozen goods or if there are fluctuations in temperature, then your frozen food could dry out in places. Food with a high water content is especially prone to this. Freezer burn manifests as discolouring on parts of the food which looks white to greyish brown. The discolouring looks like burnt areas, which is how this process got the name freezer burn.

What effect does freezer burn have?
Food with freezer burn is not spoiled nor is it harmful to health. However, it changes the consistency and flavour of food when cooked. Loss of water leads to denaturation of proteins and oxidation of fats and other substances. This can affect the digestibility, edibility and flavour of food.

How to avoid freezer burn?
Use tight fitting and water vapour proof packaging, such as Toppits® Freezer Bags or Toppits® Double Closure Freezer Bags. Pack food as flat as possible. Stroke out air with your hand and close the bag as airtight as possible. This is especially easy on bags with a closure, for bags without an integrated closure freezer clips are ideal. Try to ensure short transport times and suitable containers for transport (e.g. cool bags). Open the freezer as briefly as possible to avoid temperature fluctuations. Freeze food in a freezer which can reach -18 °C. Other appliances or freezer compartments are only suitable for short to mid term storage of already frozen food.