Food is stored mostly because we want to keep it safe and prolong its shelf life. There are three types of food storage. These are:-
- Dry storage
- Refrigerator storage
- Freezer storage
Dry storage: Foods that need to be kept dry are usually stored in cabinets or store rooms. Cereals, canned foods packaged foods and other dry food items should be kept in cool dry and clean places in the kitchen. Food should not be stored above refrigerator or cooker or near any heat outlet. The temperatures of these areas are warm and favourable for the growth of microorganisms. Storage areas must be kept clean so, you should wipe spills as soon as they occur to avoid attracting insects.
Refrigerator storage: Refrigerator temperatures should be between OºC and 7ºC. Temperatures in the refrigerator vary depending on the part of the refrigerator. The shelves on the door are not as cold as the inside. This area is good for storing eggs. The lower part of the refrigerator is also not very cold so vegetables can be stored there. Foods stored in the refrigerator must be covered well so that it would not dry out or absorb odours from other foods.
Freezer storage: The temperature of the freezer should be - 18ºC or below. Frozen foods their original packages in the freezer. Foods to be frozen should be wrapped in moisture and vapour proof wrapping and arranged properly in the freezer.
After purchasing the food, store frozen foods immediately in the freezer, so that they will not thaw completely. After this you can store other foods that need refrigeration like eggs. Wash fresh vegetables before storing in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Store yams, potatoes and onions in a cool dry place.
If fruits are not fully ripe they should be kept at room temperature until they are ripe. Then they can be put in the refrigerator. Do not store bananas in the refrigerator because they darken and do not look attractive.
Canned and packaged foods should be placed in a cool and dry cupboard. When opened they must be refrigerated.
In many catering establishments, this department is not considered to be a very important one hence less staff with no specialized knowledge will be recruited. But unless this department operates efficiently, it becomes almost a waste of time for the purchasing manager to prepare purchase specifications and to negotiate price and trading terms with suppliers as it becomes a weak link in the food control cycle. All goods being ordered and received into an establishment have a monetary value – need to be properly accounted for and received.