We’ve been on a road trip visiting family the last month, and it’s always interesting for me to see how people store the same items in different ways. Take coffee, for instance. At one house, it was on the counter. One family kept theirs in the freezer, and yet another family stored their coffee in the refrigerator. So who had it right?
1. Coffee. Some people insist that coffee stays freshest in the freezer, but experts say the best place is at room temperature in an airtight container away from light in your pantry. That’s because light and moisture can compromise taste. Storing it in the freezer can be OK if you buy in bulk and want to keep it fresh, but it’s better to package it in smaller portions and only defrost what you’re ready to use.
2. Batteries. Again, contrary to popular belief, the best way to store batteries is not in the freezer. Extreme temperatures can harm battery performance, especially if the cold temperatures cause condensation to occur around the battery, making components rust and corrode. According to Duracell, it’s better to store batteries at room temperature, preferably in their original packaging. And keep like charges away from each other, lest they start conducting electricity, which could lead to a fire.
3. Flour. Some people bring their flour home from the store in the paper bag, take out what they need for the recipe, and leave the bag half open in their pantry. It’s a big no-no according to many experts. “The best way to store flour is ideally in glass containers that have a rubber suction attached to the lid,” explains Sam Adler, pastry chef and food blogger at Frosting and Fettuccine. “It keeps the product fresh the longest by keeping air and bugs out.”
What about putting it in a plastic container? “Generally plastic or cardboard is not a good idea, especially with flour, because bugs like weevils (grain-loving bugs) can and will get through it,” Adler elaborates. “If someone really prefers plastic, I like the OXO Pop containers. They have a push top with a suction lid which makes it easy to open and close and they come in a bunch of sizes. I store my sugar, flour and coffee in glass containers in my pantry, and salt in a small marble container on the counter next to my oven for easy access when cooking.”
4. Bottled water. A lot of people store their extra bottled water in the garage, but this may not be the best idea. Even though bottled water is closed and sealed, the International Bottled Water Association says plastic water bottles are slightly permeable and can take on the odor of things nearby, such as paints, chemicals and solvents. Additionally, extreme heat can lead to mold and algae growth, and can cause the plastic to leach more chemicals into the water. Best to store it in your house where the temperature is climate controlled.
5. Bread. A lot of people buy fresh bread at the supermarket and store it on the counter, in a basket or in a bread bin. However, if you’re not going to use it in a couple days, it’s a good idea to store your bread sealed in the freezer. Then, when you need a piece or two, pop it out, stick it in the toaster oven and it’ll taste fresh. I use this trick when making my kids’ lunches. I take out two slices of frozen bread in the morning, slather on some cream cheese (which is easier to spread on frozen than thawed bread) and it defrosts in time for lunch.
Have any other storage tips for common household items? Are things different in your neck of the woods?