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The way you handle food influences its quality and has a direct impact on your health. When shopping, it is therefore important to pay attention to certain features: Is the package damaged? Has the expiry date not yet passed? Is the salad still fresh? Isn't the fish spoiled?
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It is often inevitable that small things are hastily procured in the supermarket. With larger purchases, however, it is advisable to take your time in advance and check the supplies in the kitchen. What do you want to cook in the next few days? Have you announced a visit? Is there enough to give the children a healthy school snack? A well thought-out shopping list not only protects against bottlenecks. (Superfluous) bad purchases, which sometimes end up spoiled in the garbage can, can be avoided.
What to look for when shopping
- Writing a shopping list: A well thought-out shopping list will guide you through the supermarket and prevent something important from being forgotten.
- Plan enough time for shopping: If you don't have enough time, unnecessary items quickly end up in the shopping cart. In addition, checking the goods or the expiry dates takes time.
- Pay attention to the condition of the packaging: Check that food packaging is intact - stay away from damaged packaging or inflated cans.
- Check the shelf life: Check the best before date or use-by date on the packaging.
- Well chilled: Perishable goods should be transported home quickly (less than an hour) or protected by using a cooler bag - this applies in particular to raw poultry meat, minced meat, offal, briefly matured raw sausages such as sausage as well as fish, milk and raw milk products. When purchasing frozen goods, make sure that the goods do not thaw during long transport times (over an hour) or in summer temperatures. Cooling or insulating bags are helpful for this. If possible, get frozen products at the end of your shopping spree.
- Heavily iced up: If a frozen product is heavily iced up, the cold chain has probably been interrupted.
- Take care during transport: Meat, fish and poultry should be well packaged during transport. Leaking (meat) juice must not come into contact with food to be consumed raw. Separate plastic bags or well-sealing plastic trays are suitable for this. Fruit, vegetables and eggs should be packed for transport in such a way that they are not crushed, pressed or damaged.
Pay close attention to the freshness of easily perishable goods such as fish or meat, fruit and vegetables.
- Freshness indicators for meat: Meat should have moist cut surfaces. Under no circumstances should dry edges be visible or the meat should not lie in its own juice. Freshness can also be recognized by the color of the meat - young beef has a strong red color. Be careful with light or very dark colors. Pork should be pink to light pink.
- Freshness indicators in poultry: Depending on the species, the color of the meat can range from light yellow to pink to light red. Depending on the feeding, the meat can also have a strong yellow color (feeding with corn). Typical signs of spoilage in poultry meat are graying and a greasy to stringy surface (especially turkey meat). Hygienic poultry meat always has a neutral odor. A pungent or sour smell is an indication of spoilage. Vacuum-packed goods can smell slightly sour immediately after opening, but the goods need not be spoiled as a result. If the sour smell remains open after a few minutes, the meat should be disposed of as it has spoiled.
- Signs of freshness in fish: Fresh fish has light to shiny red gills, clear and curved eyes and a clear and shiny layer of mucus. In addition, fish must never smell unpleasant. The fishy, ammonia-like odor only arises when it goes off.
- Freshness indicators for fruit and vegetables: Seasonal or regional fruit and vegetables usually have less storage and transport time behind them. Fruit and vegetables should look fresh or crisp. Pressure points, visible mold (e.g. on the core), rotten spots or brown edges (e.g. on lettuce leaves) indicate that the goods have been lying around for a long time and are no longer fresh. Leaves shouldn't be withered. Cut surfaces must not have dried out.
The seasonal calendar for fruit and vegetables tells you what to look out for when shopping for certain types of fruit and vegetables.