March 6, 2017

How To Store Your Dairy Products

There's a lot of debate about whether or not eggs need to be refrigerated.

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not eggs need to be refrigerated.

Keeping your Austin culinary arts ingredients safe all comes down to ensuring you keep your dairy stored properly. We all know that it’s necessary to keep meat refrigerated or frozen, but the lines tend to get a little blurry when it comes to dairy and eggs. Here’s what you should know about storing your food, so all of your culinary creations turn out delicious – and safe:

Milk
Not only does milk taste best when it’s very cold, but the colder your milk is, the longer it’ll last. In fact, you could even freeze milk if you stocked up with a sale. Upon thawing, it will separate, so just shake it up. However, if you’ll be using all of it within a week of opening, it’s important to store it in the fridge properly. While many people place milk on the door, this is the warmest area of the fridge, most prone to temperature fluctuations. Leave your milk in the back of the fridge to ensure it stays cold. Keep it away from any strong-smelling things in your fridge because milk can pick up these flavors. Buttermilk can also be frozen, but lasts for up to two weeks in the refrigerator upon opening.

“Cut the mold off of hard, aged cheeses.”

Cheese
Cheeses are a little more complicated than milk. Depending on the type of cheese, you may not even have to refrigerate it until you open it, as long as your have a cool space to keep it, like in your pantry. Blocks of hard cheese like Parmesan can last for months in your refrigerator, especially if you keep them in the vegetable crisper. This is where the temperature of the fridge is the most consistent. Cheeses like mozzarella, though, have a high water content, and need to stay refrigerated at all times. In fact, you can keep them in water to ensure the water content is stable and doesn’t dry the cheese out. Just change the water every couple of days.

If you have a soft cheese and it begins to develop mold or a funky smell, be safe and throw it out. Hard, aged cheeses can have the mold cut right off, though, as it doesn’t affect the rest of the block.

Eggs
While eggs aren’t technically dairy, they tend to be lumped in with dairy products – and stocked in the dairy section at the supermarket! According to NPR, Americans are one of the only countries that makes a habit of refrigerating their eggs. While Japan and Scandinavia do as well, the rest of the world tends to keep their eggs at room temperature, and sometimes, not even in a carton. In America, we refrigerate our eggs because they’re washed before they hit the stores. Washing the eggs eliminates a coating that keeps bacteria out of the egg if it were to sustain a hairline crack.

If you get your eggs at a farmers’ market where they haven’t been refrigerated yet, you can keep storing them at room temperature. However, if your eggs were cold at one point in time, like at the grocery store, they must stay cold when you get them home. If you don’t refrigerate your eggs, they’ll have a shelf-life of about 20 days. In the fridge, though, they’ll be good for about five weeks. Of course, you should still pay attention to the sell-by date if you get your eggs from a store. You don’t know how long it’s been since the eggs have been laid.