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Hello and welcome to part 3 of our mini-series
on Meal Prep Tips and Guidelines. Health, safety, and storage. Would you be able to say what’s the best way
to properly store your cooked food? We’ll answer that in
just a moment. A very important aspect
of meal prepping, is that the food you prepare should always be
consumed within two days, or three days tops. I can hear you saying: “But isn’t the point of meal prepping to make food
in advance for a week, or even more?”. Well, unless you really enjoy gambling
with your own health – and trust me, some people
really like that kind of thrill – you should never keep prepared food for that
long in the refrigerator, as simple as that! Pretty much every respectable health and food
safety organisation in the world agrees on this, and state that leftovers – which is what meals
prepared in advance really are: leftovers! – should be consumed within 48 hours after preparing,
and never be reheated more than once. There are exceptions to the rule obviously. Rice,
for example, is considered a low-risk item, due to the low levels of
protein contained in it. This is because, although they can
grow in just about any food, bacteria are particularly fond of
protein-rich ingredients. Interestingly, the kinds of bacteria that are
more likely to give you food poisoning, are exactly those that thrive in
protein-rich environments, rather than the type that thrive
on starch and sugars. For this very reason, plant-based foods are generally
considered “safer” than animal food, but they are obviously
not risk free. Remember that regardless of the
food you are trying to preserve, the longer you keep it in the fridge, the more you
risk giving yourself food poisoning of some form. The so called “danger zone” – the temperature
range in which food-borne bacteria can grow – is between 4° and 60°C,
or 39° to 140°F, which is why it is mandatory to keep your food either
below 4°C or 39°F, or above 60°C or 140°F, or to make it even simpler, to keep
cold food cold, and hot food hot. In regard to refrigerating your food, the most common cause of food-borne illness
is in fact improper cooling of cooked food. Since bacteria are literally everywhere, cooked food should always be placed in shallow containers
for quick cooling and refrigerated as soon as possible, to prevent the bacteria from getting
back into your food and reproducing. If you want to know more on the topic, there are some
interesting links in the description below the video. Also, upon inspecting a specific food, remember
that you should never use it if it’s discoloured, mouldy, or has an “off” smell. You should also not consume products that spurt
liquid or foam when the container is opened, and most important of all, you should never,
ever taste a product to determine its safety. I know, we all do that at some point,
but we shouldn’t, OK? If I really had to prepare a whole
week’s worth of food in advance, then freezing it would be my best bet for both preserving
the flavours, and to prevent food poisoning. Although freezing does affect the
consistency of some ingredients, it is a much safer option than refrigerating,
especially since your own health is at stake. Reheating frozen food is virtually as
easy as reheating refrigerated food, so in that regard it doesn’t really
make much of a difference. But how can you tell if a food
will freeze well or not? A good rule of thumb is to have a look at
the frozen food aisle of a supermarket; whatever food you see in there, will most
likely freeze beautifully at home as well. This is an easy trick that within seconds
will give you a better understanding about what foods you can efficiently cook
and freeze in the comfort of your home, without impacting too much
on flavour and consistency. Besides, those frozen food packages
have instructions too, so there you go, you now have instructions as well on how to reheat
the foods you made – no effort whatsoever! According to the USDA, hot food can
be placed directly in the refrigerator, as the thermostat will keep running to maintain
a safe temperature of 40° F or 4° C. I find this statement to be acceptable in
relation to professional environments, but I can hardly see how it applies to
the average fridge that most of us own. For this reason, unless you are sure that
your fridge is a food-chilling beast, I do recommend against
placing hot food in it, as it would increase the internal
temperature of the whole thing, and potentially lead to
quicker food spoilage. An interesting fact: have you ever wondered what
the coolest part of the fridge is for quick cooling? There are two answers to this. The first answer is: the back. The reason for this is that the biggest
source of heat in a fridge is usually the warm air that you let in
every time you open the door, and since the back of the fridge is further away
from the door, it tends to stay cooler. The second answer is:
the bottom shelves. This is because cold air sinks, and
collects at the bottom of the fridge. Although you should know that if your fridge has
an ice-making compartment at the top, then the rule is the opposite and the
top shelves are the coldest. This is pretty much all there is to it,
and if all went according to plans, by now you should be some sort
of meal preparation guru! I’m confident that with this
general information you’ll be able to create some seriously delicious and
nutritious food, that is safe to store, travels well, and can be consumed for as long as possible without
being in any way dangerous to your health. I seriously hope that this series will help not only all
the people who are into cooking food in advance, but also all of those who, for
one reason or another, keep sharing meal prep videos without having a clue
about how food preparation and storage really work, potentially putting at serious risk inexperienced
cooks and young viewers. If you enjoyed this series and you know someone
who would benefit from watching it, please do share it and we will
be forever grateful for that. As you probably already know we are all about supporting
young talented artists whenever we can. The Illustrations for this mini-series
were provided by Kesh, a talented fellow YouTuber who kindly
decided to help us with this. We absolutely love his work, and for that we strongly
recommend you to go and check his channel out, as it is not only very inspiring,
but also quite unique. I’ll leave his social media links in
the description below the video. We hope you enjoyed part 3 of this mini-series
on meal prepping, and if you did, please don’t forget to give it a thumbs up before
moving on and subscribe if you haven’t already. Happy cooking to all of you, and thank
you very much for watching!

Randall Smitham

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