How to Prevent Mold on Food
Comments 0 | 2012 Nov 20 | Author John Ward
Mold spores are transferred through the air. When specific condition are met, mold spores can grow from a tiny, non-visible fungi to a huge mold colony on your wall, window or anywhere else.
One of the conditions that mold needs is food, and it enjoys human food, too – from fresh strawberries, to pasta and french fries. Since it’s not entirely possible to stop food from going bad, at one point or another, you’re bound to find mold growing in that basket of raspberries that’s been sitting in your fridge for a few days.
Although people often think that fridges are too cold for mold, the truth is quite the opposite. Fridges can be the ideal places for mold to develop as it has enough moisture (especially if there are problems with the door, so hot air can get inside) and, of course, food. With that in mind, it’s only natural that mold in the fridge is not as rare as one may thing, so it is very important to pay close attention to the inside of your fridge.
To conclude, moldy food can be found anywhere where you store your food for a longer period. Of course, when you find mold on a piece of food, there is no cutting around it or eating it. All you can do is toss it away and ensure this doesn’t happen next time.
Before you get too discouraged, there are ways that can help you keep your food fresh for longer.
Quick tips for preventing food mold
- It takes one moldy food item to get the whole basket covered in mold! This is very important rule to remember the moment you are at the market. If you are buying nonpacked items, ensure each of them is fresh. If you notice mold on any single piece, simply don’t buy it. Examine each item for bruising, softness, oxidation or signs of mold before you buy it and avoid any items that look overly ripe.
- On the other hand, when buying pre-packed food you cannot examine every single piece, meaning that moldy items can go unseen. In that case, ensure you checked the date and chose the one that was most recently packed. Instead of buying processed or pre-packed food, where you often don’t have control of the freshness (the story of wrong dates is not rarely heard), choose local markets and stores you can trust.
- Once you buy your delicious food, especially fresh fruit and veggies, it is important to keep it covered until you’re ready to eat it to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with bacteria, mold, dust and debris from the environment. Use plastic wrap to cover foods you want to keep for longest, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, salads and cheese.
- Rinse the contents of canned goods under water and store them in your fridge in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers.
- Refrigerate leftovers and use them within four days.
Mold proofing kitchen and cleaning tips
Since food is stored in the kitchen (most of the times), keeping your kitchen clean and well-aired will also have a big impact on your food’s life. For example, mold will develop anywhere where there is a leak, and if you are storing food close to that it can easily transfer from a corner and attack your favorite otherwise fresh food.
In order to prevent mold on food you will have to work on overall kitchen mold prevention. In most cases it includes either ensuring there is enough fresh air or regular cleaning. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent mold in the kitchen.
- As said above – mold can grow in the fridge and, thus, it is important to keep the inside of the refrigerator clean. We suggest cleaning it every few months with one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly before storing food again.
- Ensure your food is still fresh by checking it every day or two. Toss away anything that has a sign of mold or that started rotting away.
- Replace sponges at least once a week and always use clean dish clothes and towels. If you notice a musty smell coming from a sponge or towel, replace it immediately.
- Wash the dishes at least once a day. Don’t leave food leftovers in your sink behind you once you are done with the meal. Throw them away immediately. If you are in a rush, keep your dishes under water to prevent food stains from hardening until you can wash them properly.
- Mold can be found in dishwasher and garbage disposals. It can be the reason behind the odors, thus keeping it clean should be your priority. At least once a week pour baking soda, salt and vinegar (or lemon) own the sink and leave it for 10 minutes. You can add lemon or orange peels and even essential oils to give it a nice smell. After that all you have to do is pour boiled water to wash it up and your disposal and sink will be clean, mold-free and refreshed.
- Kitchen tools, especially wooden ones should be washed and well dried before set aside, because wood is one of the favourite food for mold. All you have to do is simply wash them after you used them and leave them to dry well somewhere where it is not wet and it has enough fresh air and light. (for example if you are done with cooking and your stove is still warm, you can put it next to it to dry.
- Don’t forget about unused kitchen appliances. They are often sealed and if not well dried, mold can form due to water evaporation inside. The best way to prevent mold from developing inside is to ensure it is well dried before storing and, if there is a possibility, keep it open.
- And last but not least, make sure that the relative humidity in your home is between 30% and 50%, especially in the warmer months, when mold is known to flourish. The easiest thing you can do to control the humidity level is to keep your windows open as often as possible. If that is not possible your next steps should bes either air vents or even a dehumidifier.
If you find that the mold has spread and become a larger issue in the house, you need to take action. Never hesitate to seek professional help from a certified mold removal company.