Storage wars – what solutions are best for you?
One of the most important ways to ensure food safety is to correctly store produce so that it remains fresh as long as possible. This way, you can prevent bacteria build up that could spoil your food, either after it has been cooked or even during the cooking process. Storing food items correctly also allows you to manage your stock better so you always have the items you need most frequently on hand, possibly even prepped in a way that saves you time during the cooking process.
Should you use stainless steel?
There’s a well-established reason why stainless steel is such a popular choice when it comes to the hospitality sector. Everything from appliances – both big and small – to cutlery and anything in between is available in this popular metal. It’s the same reason you’ll find it used in other industries that require cleanliness and good hygiene practises, like hospitals and laboratories.
Stainless steel offers one of the most easiest materials to keep clean and can be disinfected thoroughly and quickly. It’s also quite a durable material so aside for the cleanliness, it has the added benefit of lasting wash after wash after wash, without ever losing its aesthetic appeal.
In the catering business, one of the most common ways to store and present food items is through the familiar Gastronorm containers we’re all so used to seeing. These come in standardised sizes that are made to fit many catering appliances. They’re also stackable when not in use so they save a ton of space, and often come with lids that can be used to keep food covered when not immediately needed.
‘It has the added benefit of lasting wash after wash after wash, without ever losing its aesthetic appeal.’
Preference for plastic
At Maxima Kitchen Equipment, our GN containers come in both stainless steel and polycarbonate so you can also enjoy the best of both plastic and stainless steel. If you have a preference for plastic, our polycarbonate GN containers are ideal because they offer not only the same sizing and storing benefits as stainless steel, but they are also transparent, making it easy to see exactly what has been stored.
Plastic solutions often present this as a benefit, and come in a variety of options. Aside for hard and unbreakable versions, like the GN containers, you also have the option for a more flexible solution – literally.
Storing food items, especially liquids, in vacuum sealed plastic bags is another way to solve issues around storage spaces. Plastic bags take up less room that containers and can be packed flat so that you can fit more portions in your fridge or freezer. This is an ideal way to store ready-made soups and sauces. Just simply pop them into a pot of hot water to defrost and you’re good to go.
Vacuum sealers that use plastic bags are a great way to prevent food spoilage. Because all the air is removed prior to sealing, they can help prevent bacterial growth and the dreaded freezer burn on products such as meat. Another useful appliance for packaging food in plastic is a tray sealer, which lets you store things like ready-made meals easily and safely.
Going for glass
The final storage solution is one that’s often used in the home or smaller catering businesses. Because of the trend towards sustainability, glass has become a very popular storage solution. Like plastic, the transparency makes it easier to see exactly what is being contained, and like stainless steel, glass storage products are also very easy to clean.
One thing to note when making use of this material in catering business though is that glass is notoriously fragile so for bustling kitchens where stopping everything for a few minutes to clean up a broken jar is unthinkable, this may not be the ideal storage solution. However, for restaurants looking for an eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing option, this may work best for you.
Storage solutions for food come in a wide variety, each with their own list of pros and cons. The most important thing to remember is that caterers should pick the option that suits their own needs best, taking into consideration the kinds of food that will need to be stored, as well as the amount of storage space available.