More and more pantries offer fresh vegetables and fruits. A challenge sometimes is making it last when it gets to your kitchen. Following are a few tips to help keep the food better. Even though it’s only going to be around for a day or two before you eat it, you want it to look its best, taste its best, and have the most nutrients possible.
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Store LETTUCE, SALAD GREENS, and MUSHROOMS in a refrigerator on the middle or lower shelf away from fans because these items freeze quickly.
CUCUMBERS suffer from chill damage. You’ll have better luck with them if you store them on an upper shelf or on the door of the refrigerator.
CITRUS FRUITS release ethylene gas so it’s best to separate CITRUS FRUITS, MELONS AND APPLES away from delicate foods such as LETTUCE.
Some fruits and vegetables should not be refrigerated: BANANAS, GRAPEFRUITS, LEMONS, LIMES, MANGOES, MELONS, ORANGES, PAPAYAS, POTATOES, ONIONS, TOMATOES, AND AVOCADOS all do better when stored on a counter top.
Ripening some fruits on a counter top is best: AVOCADOS, KIWI FRUIT, NECTARINES, PEACHES, PEARS, AND PLUMS. After these foods are ripe, you may choose to put them in the refrigerator.
Fruits to store in the refrigerator include: APPLES, APRICOTS, BLACKBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, CHERRIES, CUT FRUITS, FIGS, GRAPES, ASIAN PEARS, RASPBERRIES, STRAWBERRIES
Vegetables to store in the refrigerator include: ASPARAGUS, GREEN BEANS, LIMA BEANS, BEETS, BROCCOLI, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, CABBAGE, CARROTS, CAULIFLOWER, CELERY, COLLARD GREENS, CUT VEGETABLES, ESCAROLE, GREENS, GREEN ONIONS, LEAFY VEGETABLES, LEEKS, LETTUCE, MUSHROOMS, PEAS, RADISHES, SPINACH, SUMMER SQUASHES, AND SWEET CORN.
When working with poultry, the wrapping should be completely unbroken with no punctures.
Raw poultry should have a fresh smell with no odor. It should be firm to the touch. It should not be sticky. There should be no discoloration. The internal temperature of raw poultry should be lower than 40F degrees.
Poultry should be stored separately from all other foods. It should be kept on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator to prevent contamination from dripping.
Anything that comes in contact with poultry or its juices should be cleaned and sanitized immediately.
Frozen poultry should have no soft spots.
Partially thawed poultry should be used immediately.
Poultry cannot be kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
Wash hands immediately after handling poultry.
Milk stays fresh up to six days past the sell-by date. Frozen milk can be stored longer.
If milk sours, use it in a baking recipe calling for buttermilk.
Sour milk is not unsafe to drink.
COTTAGE CHEESE, YOGURT, SOUR CREAM, AND CREAM CHEESE are considered to be cultured products with a longer shelf life than milk. If the container is open, cultured products can be used up to six weeks past the sell-by date.
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Peace and food for all.
I stand before you humbly, O Holy One, the One God of Israel as I offer a prayer for the hungry .
I offer thanksgiving, praises, blessings in this prayer for the hungry.
I ask for your forgiveness and mercy, O God. All life is in Your hands.
I come to you humbly, asking for protection – not for myself but for those hungry individuals and families who shop in food pantries everywhere. This hunger weaves the souls of these shoppers together for all time.
Grant them hope and strength to travel through their days courageously.
O Holy One, give them grace, mercy, harmony, peace.
Teach those of us working in pantries to have patience as we support the hungry in their struggle to carry on day after day after day against all odds.
Please let us remember that, through religious teaching everywhere, we know You feed all of us – not only physically but spiritually. Let this awareness give the hungry confidence that their needs are being met. Let this knowledge inspire us to make sure that everyone shopping at pantries everywhere receives the food and support necessary to carry on in the never relenting struggle. Remind us continually that we are doing Your work.
Help us choose the right words as we communicate with the hungry so that a chance remark won’t make things worse.
Make us always aware of the hungry who are homeless and suffering with mental illness. May you grant them complete healing – of body, mind, and spirit.
O God to Whom we all Pray, I offer you my most sincere gratitude for all you have don, are doing, and will do for those of us who suffer with hunger and homelessness.
And, now I say Amen.
O Heavenly Father
I offer You gratitude for all Your blessings and love which You continually share with parents struggling with underemployment, poor health, insufficient food, transportation challenges.
I ask You, the source of all living things, to protect and guard parents who shop at the pantry.
Help them listen to their children’s needs as they struggle to live a life with insufficient resources… time, money, housing, health care.
Offer the peace which can only come when they know that You are a part of their lives every day.
O Heavenly Father, help them overcome their greatest fear – hunger.
Guide their lives so that no one in their household is hungry.
Encourage them to see the positive aspects of their lives.
Teach them to co-create abundance
Give them the courage to reach out when their needs are overwhelming.
Let them know that they can be secure in their paths.
Teach them to travel through their lives with grace.
Offer them the wisdom they need to hear Your guidance.
When, if…they question the struggle, please let them know You are with them always.
Please, gently touch their lives with your healing hands when health issues become almost too much to bear.
I ask these things in Jesus’ name.
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Art Work donated by Jennette Nearhood
Allow me to serve the hungry with an understanding heart.
Give me the courage to distribute food without strings being attached.
May I never need to keep score.
Give me the physical strength to keep the shelves of the pantry stocked with as much food as we can pack on them.
Please help me to understand the many needs of the shoppers.
Never let me get so tired that I forget that we are all one group – Yours, O God.