How long can rasam be stored in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can rasam be stored in the fridge?”, and what foods should never be kept in the fridge?

How long can Rasam be stored in the fridge?

Rasam has a good therapeutic, and medicinal value – the dietary fibers present in the tamarind helps to lower the cholesterol, detoxify the colon and prevent constipation, potassium reduces blood pressure, and iron improves the hemoglobin value in blood. Garlic and antibacterial relieves digestion and acidity problems; peppercorn upholds urination, cures gastric problems. Depending on the ingredients added to Rasam the therapeutic and medical value of Rasam is enhanced. Rasam can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days (2). Rasam also freezes well and can be safely kept in the freezer for up to 2-3a months (3).

According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, every year nearly 40% of the total food produced in India is being wasted by grower or consumer or its spoiled before reaching to consumers, where wheat is also enlisted in this wasting list which is about 21 million tons of wheat per annum, due to inadequate storage and poor management (1). 

Homemade Rasam mix recipe 

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes – 6 large chopped
  • Tamarind – 1 big lemon size ball
  • Rasam powder – 3 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • For Crushing:
  • Garlic – 2 whole heads
  • Dry Red Chili – 10
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam – 2 tsp

For Tempering

  • Oil – ½ cup
  • Mustard Seeds / kaduku – 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds / Methi – 1 tsp
  • Dry Red Chili – 4
  • Asafoetida / Hing / Kaya podi – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves – a handful

Instructions 

  1. Puree the tomatoes in a blender. 
  2. Crush the garlic, cumin, and chili in a food processor.
  3. Let the tamarind soak in water for about 15 minutes. Then squeeze the tamarind to extract the pulp and strain it.
  4. In a pan, heat oil and add all the ingredients mentioned in the tempering list. Stir in the crushed garlic mixture and saute until fragrant. 
  5. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the rasam powder, salt, sugar, and tamarind puree. Close the lid and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Cook until the oil separates. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  7. Divide the mixture equally into 2-3 freeze containers. Cover the container and label it with the date of freezing.
  8. Pop it in the freezer.

How to make Rasam using the mix?

Defrost the rasam by microwaving it for a minute on high. Then add to a Kadai along with some water and seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil and serve with rice. Finish off with fresh coriander leaves on top.

Important points to remember before freezing (3)

  1. Do not add too much water to the rasam mix or else you will end up with an overly thin rasam.
  2. Rasam should be cooked to the point that the oil comes to the surface. 
  3. Let the mixture come to room temperature before you pack it away for freezing.
  4. Freeze the rasam mixture in small portions so that it is easier to defrost. 
  5. Do not refreeze the rasam mixture once it is thawed.
  6. Labeling helps you in the identification of the frozen product whilst allowing you to keep track of its shelf-life.

Foods you should never keep in the fridge 

Bananas: Bananas are meant to be stored at room temperature because the light and air circulation are important to prevent decay and the warm temperature is important for the ripening of the green bananas. Bananas may suffer chilling injury and become brown when stored in low temperatures (<45°F) (4). 

Coffee: The moist refrigerator air leads to clumping of the coffee powder. Therefore, coffee should be stored in a dark, and dry place, away from moisture and direct heat. Oxygen, light, temperature, moisture, packaging and extraneous odors have the most significant influence on the quality of coffee during storage even those can cause stalling (5).

Tomatoes: Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature where they are allowed optimum air circulation. Refrigeration ruins the texture of this fruit.  Tomato is a climacteric fruit and ripen at room temperatures (6).

Honey: The cold temperature of the fridge messes with the texture of honey by promoting moisture loss and crystallization. The ideal storage place for honey is a cool, dark, and dry pantry spot. Basically, microbes cannot replicate in honey and the existence of high numbers of vegetative bacteria might be due to recent contamination. Besides, honey contamination with spores of Clostridium has been documented in many countries (7).

Fresh herbs: To prevent the fresh herbs from drying out too quickly, trim their stems and dump them, halfway through, in a water bottle or jar. However, if they are not going to be consumed on the same day, it is necessary to store them in the fridge. In a study minimally processed parsley sealed in polyethylene bags was stored at 4°C for 12 days and had a shelf life of up to 12 days of storage, with little modifications of sensory parameters (8). Place on the counter, away from direct heat or sunlight. 

Bread: The refrigeration environment speeds up the bread staling and drying. Therefore, you should keep the bread loaves on the counter to keep them fresh for a longer period. Studies show that the storage of bread at refrigerator temperatures accelerates firming (9).

Oil: Most types of cooking oils solidify when stored in the fridge. To prevent this, store your cooking oil in a cool, dark, and dry spot in the pantry.  However, a study showed that cold storage conditions for extra virgin olive oil at 4.5 and -27°C was successful at retarding the oxidation and hydrolysis level during storage with no significant change in the extra virgin olive oil flavor aspect over 18-week storage, while changes were significant when the oil was stored at room temperature (10).

Melons: Unless you have cut your melons, keep them on the counter. Melons may suffer chilling injury in cold storage (4).

Avocado: If you bought your avocado in unripened form, keep them on the counter so that they ripen at a slow and steady pace. Refrigeration interferes with the ripening process. Avocados may suffer chilling injury when stored in low temperatures (<45°F) (4).

Onions: Keep your onions in a basket and store them in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated spot in the pantry. The moisture in the fridge promotes decay in onions. Once cut, store the onions in the fridge. The bulbs remain dormant at both low and high temperatures allowing high temperature storage in the tropics and refrigerated storage in temperate regions (11).

Potatoes: To preserve the texture of the potatoes, keep them in a cool, dark, and dry place in the pantry (12). 

Garlic: The storage of garlic is similar to that of onions. Refrigeration shortens the shelf-life of garlic cloves. Once cut or chopped, store the garlic in the fridge. Studies observed that the antioxidant potential of garlic decreases, with the increasing temperature (13). However, garlic can also be stored at refrigeration temperatures without damage (6).

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “How long can rasam be stored in the fridge?”, and what foods should never be kept in the fridge?

References 

  1. Dandage, K., Ricardo Badia-Melis, and Luis Ruiz-García. Indian perspective in food traceability: A review. Food Control, 2017, 71, 217-227.
  2. Vijayalakshmi S, Arun A, Kanchana Arun. A Study On Standardization And Assessment Of Sensory And Microbiological Quality Of Herbal Rasam. Asian J Pharm Clin Res, 2017, 8, 270-273.
  3. Freezing and Food Safety. US Department of Agriculture. 2013.
  4. Sevillano, Laura, et al. Physiological, hormonal and molecular mechanisms regulating chilling injury in horticultural species. Postharvest technologies applied to reduce its impact. J Sci Food Agri, 2009, 89, 555-573.
  5. Agustini, Sri, and Mimi Kurnia Yusya. The effect of packaging materials on the physicochemical stability of ground roasted coffee. Curr Res Biosci Biotechnol, 2020, 1, 66-70.
  6. Goldy, R. All fruit and vegetables are not created equal when it comes to proper storage conditions. 2019. Michigan State University.
  7. Al-Waili, Noori, et al. Antibiotic, pesticide, and microbial contaminants of honey: human health hazards. sci world J, 2012.
  8. RANGA, Adriana DAVID, and Mircea MUNTEAN. The Effect of Cold Storage on Some Quality Characteristics of Minimally Processed Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Dill (Anethum graveolens) and Lovage (Levisticum officinale) Giorgiana Mihaela CĂTUNESCU, Maria TOFANĂ, Crina MUREŞAN, Floricuţa. Bull UASVM Agri, 2012, 69, 2.
  9. Alpers, Thekla, et al. Impact of storing condition on staling and microbial spoilage behavior of bread and their contribution to prevent food waste. Foods, 2021, 10, 76.
  10. Li, X., Zhu, H., Shoemaker, C.F. et al. The Effect of Different Cold Storage Conditions on the Compositions of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. J Am Oil Chem Soc, 2014, 91, 1559–1570. 
  11. Griffiths, Gareth, et al. Onions—a global benefit to health. Phytother res, 2002, 16, 603-615.
  12. Montero-Calderon, Marta, and Mª MILAGRO CERDAS-ARAYA. Fruits and vegetables for the fresh-cut processing industry. Internal quality profile and influence of packaging conditions on fresh-cut pineapple, 2011, 15.
  13. Martins, Natália, Spyridon Petropoulos, and Isabel CFR Ferreira. Chemical composition and bioactive compounds of garlic (Allium sativum L.) as affected by pre-and post-harvest conditions: A review. Food chem, 2016, 211, 41-50.