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When storing a fruit or vegetable that tends to be watery, such as peaches or cucumbers, try not to leave it in a plastic bag. Condensation can build up easily (as shown), and the fruit or vegetable can become moldy. This is also the case with mushrooms, or any food that has been put in a plastic bag before properly drying.
The mold feeds on the water as well as the fruit or vegetable. You could say it needs something to drink with whatever it eats. The microorganisms that mold is made up of cannot easily reproduce when they are dry. Foods that are completely dry usually have no microorganism growth present. Mold is a specific general classification of microorganisms.
Microorganisms can be bacteria, viruses, amoeba, and other types of tiny creatures. These creatures don`t only feed on humans. Plants, and even microorganisms can get sick as well. Viruses usually try to attach to a specific recognition protein on the outside of cell walls. They get inside by using chemicals to break down the proteins that the creature they`re exposed to makes for that type of cell tissue. The creature is then called a host. Even some recognition proteins can vary in the same tissues in the same species. This can cause immunity to specific types of viruses. Other biological factors play a role as well in whether or not a host (the creature exposed to the microorganisms, usually after they get inside their cells or their body in general) can get sick. Maybe they`re just not tasty or nutritious enough for that type of microorganism. Maybe the microorganism just can`t get inside the cells.
Depending on the microorganism and its ability to eat (which came from how it evolved): it could either be harmful towards its host, it can be neutral, or it can even be beneficial. Harmful organisms are the ones that will eat the host or cause other problems (such as poisoning). Neutral ones are ones that do not do anything to their host. Beneficial ones will provide some sort of benefit to their hosts.
Probiotics are friendly organisms that help you eat your food and live mainly inside your intestinal tract. In contrast, mold is most likely never going to be a safe type of organism to put into your body. Unless you know the type of microorganism it is, and that it can`t harm you by eating you or the products your body makes to be able to continue functioning (or doing something else harmful towards you), don`t risk it. Never eat something after the microorganism buildup is so large you can see it (usually people call this mold). The only exceptions are for when you`re eating safe molds such as what is present in blue cheese. If you know the mold is safe, go ahead and eat it. If you don`t, never risk putting it into your body. Most people don`t have microscopes in their houses, and an identification kit that clearly shows what something is.
Always be sure to throw out any food you aren`t sure is safe. Signs that something isn`t safe are things like a smell that isn`t normal for the food you`re sniffing, taste that isn`t normal for the food you`re eating (or any ingredients present that may have altered the normal taste), if a can is bulging (even slightly), and if a safety seal on a jar is popping up before you open it for the first time.
So, how do you store your food properly? Don`t keep it unfrozen or wet for too long. Freezing can slow down the biological processes of microorganisms, and the chemical processes of food that will decay naturally. Heat can promote their energy to move around and digest their food. If microorganisms are too dehydrated, they won`t be able to easily eat anything, and in many cases they`ll die. If a food is already prepared and ready to eat, keep it in the refrigerator if appropriate to do so (not all foods can be stored this way and keep their quality). Don`t pull them out and repeatedly heat them up. These foods could still have a microorganism problem anyway. A safe temperature range to keep food at is below 40 degrees (make sure your refrigerator is at least that cold), or above 140 degrees. Always be sure to reheat your food appropriately. If it`s steaming for at least a few minutes, it`s probably good enough. It depends on how long you were storing your food. Don`t store something past a few days that you already exposed your saliva to. Your mouth has a ton of microorganisms in it because it`s so moist, and you`re always exposing it to small amounts of microorganisms from the environment around you (including when you eat). That`s also why you need to brush your teeth often, especially when you`ve just eaten something (they can eat the food sitting around in your mouth as well, causing the buildup you can see when you don`t brush your teeth for a while). Uncut fruit and vegetables can be stored on an open table or counter space in your kitchen or pantry. You can also put them into a cotton bag if you`d like some ventilation, but don`t want them to take up too much horizontal space. A paper bag is acceptable as well. Just be sure not to store them too close together or for too long. If one starts to rot, the others can easily rot as well at the same time.
Don`t put fruit in your refrigerator or freezer that hasn`t ripened yet. It will stop the ripening process, and your fruit cannot continue to ripen after you take it out of the freezer or refrigerator. Be sure to allow fruit to ripen before storing it in any cold storage units.
Putting regular bread in the refrigerator isn`t exactly a good idea because it can get stale faster than if you left it out. Freezing it is a better option. Just be sure to double bag it, or you`ll have a bag full of super icy bread when you pull it out. When it defrosts, there`ll be water everywhere and your bread will easily become moldy. You can try to dry it off in the oven if possible on a baking sheet (usually my family puts things we put into the oven on parchment paper to keep the baking sheets clean), but be sure not to overheat it. You might begin to toast it, or even burn it. If a type of bread is acceptable to store in the refrigerator, such as tortilla bread, then store it there. Always remember to read labels, and be sure to check expiration dates. If you`re not sure how to store something, pay attention to how the grocery store you purchased it from stores that type of food. If you need to, ask some staff members what`s the best way to store something for whatever time period you`re keeping it for.
Always remember to be safe whenever you make any decisions about foods that you or someone else is going to eat, even if it`s just going to be one ingredient in a dish. Sometimes things can go bad before their expiration date. It usually just depends on if you stored them properly or not.