Food Safety Tips In The Time Of Coronavirus Shopping
Coronavirus. Lord. How sick are you of hearing about that? We can't go to bars for a drink. We can't go to church. We can't gather in large groups. And we have to do a helluva lot more cooking because restaurants are only doing take out. So how do you keep the food you are buying safe? How long can you keep meat in the fridge? How much should you be buying for your family so you don't end up wasting food and money?
Here are a few rules of thumb from the USDA:
1. How long will meat last - Red meat and pork will keep in the fridge for up to five days. You can freeze it for four to 12 months. Leftover cooked meat will last three to four days in the fridge. You can freeze it for two to six months.
2. How much meat per person - The traditional serving size for beef or pork per person is 1/4 of a pound. It may not look like a lot, but you can fill everyone up with carbs or veggies.
3. How long will seafood last - Raw fish or shellfish like shrimp can be kept in the fridge for just a couple of days. The quality will begin to deteriorate quickly and you'll start smelling the fishy smell. If you buy it frozen, keep it frozen until you use it. Don't refreeze it.
4. How much fruit or veggies - The food pyramid suggests 3-5 servings of veggies and 2-4 servings of fruit. A serving is considered a cup. If you stretch those out over 3 meals, it's pretty easy to get the proper amount.
5. How many carbs per meal - This is my guideline. A potato, a cup of pasta, or a 1/2 cup of rice per person at a meal.
A couple of tips for how to make things stretch during this crazy time:
1. Make a menu - You hear this all the time but it really helps. Watching our pennies means making sure everything we buy we eat. If you just go buy ingredients you might have to spend more money to make them work in a meal. Plan every meal and only buy what you need for 1-2 weeks. Yes, going to the grocery store is scary but if you only buy what your family will eat you won't overbuy, waste food and money, or prevent someone else from getting what they need.
2. Make something big - A roast will feed your family at least a couple of times, a roasted chicken is good for a meal and leftovers, a pot of beans can last a week or be frozen for later use.
3. Use reduced serving sizes - Americans love a lot of food. It might not be feasible for you to spend that kind of money right now, so think of halving your portions. You'll feed everyone more economically and drop a few pounds in the meantime.
This outbreak will pass. We just need to be smart to get through it.