Kitchen

How to keep dried foods well

I used to have a helper who would keep the dried foods I bought for the pantry in the packaging they came in, secured by a rubber band. Convenient and easy, but hardly the best way to store, say, dried mushrooms or turmeric powder.

If you want these dried goods to keep well, you need a container that is airtight and strong, to prevent moisture, smells and, yes, little creatures, from creeping in and spoiling them.

For one thing, powdered spices retain their condition and quality best when stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Similarly, nuts and flours stay fresher for longer when refrigerated. I store them in strong plastic containers in my freezer. As I do my Chinese sausages and dried fish.

I also have a walk-in larder where I store other dried goods, mushrooms, lily buds, black fungus, cloves and cinnamon sticks, in stackable Tupperware containers.

Strong, airtight and conveniently see-through.

Glass jars and thick plastic bags with a snap seal would also do. The glass jars especially are reusable and recyclable, airtight and showcase their contents.

But to restrict kitchen clutter, do keep the numbers under control: I restrict myself to just a shelf in my kitchen cabinets for them.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2015, with the headline 'How to keep dried foods well '. Print Edition | Subscribe