Read these 9 Food Storage Supplies Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Restaurant Supplies tips and hundreds of other topics.
Smaller restaurants and cafes typically turn out the same amount of food as a large family might in a day. Because of this buying in bulk is not necessary. Still, keeping food fresh is . One of the hardest food items to keep "restaurant fresh" is lettuce.
Try wrapping extra leaves in paper towels, then sealing in a plastic (Ziploc) bag. Lettuce stays much fresher, much longer, which saves you money!
Make the most of the storage space you have in your restaurant's pantry by storing dry goods in stackable food storage containers. Plastic or stainless steel vessels are best for this type of storage, as the materials are not as heavy as glass and are also less likely to break. Choose containers with rubber or plastic air-tight seals around the edge of the lids or the mouth of the container whenever possible, to keep air out.
Arrange your stacks back to front on the shelving units, with items less likely to be used at the back. Specialty flours, grains, etc. fall into this category. Keep staple dry goods like sugar and salt at the front for easy access.
Environmentally speaking, glass food storage containers are one of the best options for both dry and wet foods. Not only can you avoid the waste of plastic bags or containers (not to mention Styrofoam or other earth unfriendly materials), but glass does not absorb odors and is dishwasher safe. The downside is their weight. Alone, glass containers are often hefty enough, but once you add food to them, you're adding considerable ounces or even pounds. When it comes to storage, this can be a problem. One easy way to avoid damage, is to never stack glass jars. The jars on the bottom of the stack can (and probably will, eventually) crack with the weight of the jars on top.
Anyone who works in the restaurant business know how quickly you can go through food storage bags. Unfortunately, our landfills are piling up with these storage bags -- particularly the ones that are not accepted for recycling. (Anything but #2 and #5 is not accepted in New York, for example. Check your local municipality for recycling regulations.) Sturdy plastic food storage bags can be reused, however. Wash them as you do your other plastic containers. Bags can be propped or hanged -- open and upside down -- on hooks or stands to dry.
Bags that have held dry foods only are best for this recycling tip. Do not recycle bags that have held raw meat or that have been microwaved.
Proper commercial food storage requires knowledge of the difference between food quality and food safety . A low-quality food like an overripe piece of fruit can still be safe to eat, while a high-quality food such as a piece of cooked, Grade A meat may be unsafe because it has touched a plate with a high bacteria count on it. Many factors make up a food's quality level: the standard its raw state, its processing methods, its storage, and the length of storage. Bacteria can enter food through negligent food handling. Be sure to keep your hands as well as anything the food touches clean—from counters to storage receptacles.
To keep your restaurant stocked safely, use these guidelines for canned good storage:
To run a tight restaurant business, organization of your food supplies is key. Food storage shelving should be kept clean, not overcrowded, and above all you should be able to find what you need fast.
An efficient way to store many of your smaller restaurant supplies is though a vacuum seal food storage system. Food items that you wish to preserve exactly as is -- bananas, berries, soup bones, cold cuts, etc. -- are placed into the food storage bag and excess air is removed from the bag through either a mechanical vacuum, pump, or by hand. The bag is then sealed tightly, keeping the food fresh (perishables must still be frozen or refrigerated). Even bulkier non-food items such as aprons and hand towels can be sealed into bags as well. They'll take up less space in your storage cabinets.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that plastics used for packaging food must be of greater purity than plastics used for the packaging of non-foods. As a result, this type of plastic is referred to as food grade plastic. Food grade plastic may not contain dyes or recycled plastic that has been considered harmful to humans. Recycled plastic can be used to create food grade plastic food storage containers, however. When using food grade plastics to store your foodstuffs, note that highly acidic foods like tomatoes or foods that contain alcohol and/or fats may leech plastic additives from the packaging or container into the food. Be sure to select only FDA-approved plastic food containers.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|