Prof. Enzo Palombo: How to Keep Your Food Fresh With the Right Storage | On the House #25

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Prof. Enzo Palombo, a renowned Professor of Microbiology, an Associate Dean of Research, and an expert in food microbiology, environmental microbiology, and virology

Have you ever wondered how to keep your food fresh as long as possible? The right food storage is your answer.

Join Gabriella Joustra and Prof. Enzo Palombo as they delve deep into the proper ways to store your food with minimum waste and maximum freshness, sharing information about the different containers and packaging options and the best ways to use your refrigerator and freezer to ensure the best quality of food.

Meet Prof. Enzo Palombo

Prof. Enzo Palombo is an Associate Dean of Research at Swinburne University of Technology. He has a Ph.D. from La Trobe University and is an expert in the genetics of bacterial conjugation. He conducted research on gastroenteritis viruses at the Royal Children’s Hospital for 10 years, focusing on rotavirus and astrovirus.

His research interests include food microbiology, environmental microbiology, biopolymers, and virology. He also teaches microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Prof. Enzo is a member of the Australian Society for Microbiology, holds an executive position at the Australasian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, and served on the Victorian Branch Committee.

About the episode

In this episode of On The House: Household Management Insights, Prof. Enzo Palombo defines household management as ensuring that the household is functioning well in terms of finances and time management for tasks. He states that household management requires handling the house’s needs while raising children and working full-time jobs.

According to Prof. Enzo, different foods require different storage methods. Proper storage does not mean infinite preservation, which necessitates common sense and sensory tests to determine food safety and quality. He also differentiates between quality and safety.

Prof. Enzo encourages adhering to hygiene practices and highlights the importance of kitchen hygiene, including regularly cleaning and sanitizing utensils and knives. He also advises people to follow storage guidelines and use separate containers or ziploc bags in the fridge. Prof. Enzo moves on to packaging, which differs according to the product. 

Prof. Enzo also addresses the issue of food waste, as a misconception about “use by” and “best before” dates contributes to unnecessary discarding of still safe-to-eat food. According to Prof. Enzo, food wastage is a significant problem in Australia, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions by the US and China. Around 20 billion dollars’ annual worth of food is wasted, and nearly half of it occurs by consumers.

In the same light, Prof. Enzo urges people not to be too paranoid about food safety. He also explains the two-hour, four-hour rule. Moreover, Prof. Enzo tackles the idea of seasonal availability, urging people to reduce expectations of year-round access to certain foods for more responsible consumerism.

Towards the end of the episode, Prof. Enzo emphasizes the excessive materialism in people’s approach towards food, where they expect everything to be available year-round. He sets communities with fewer resources as a positive example of appreciating the bare essentials and embracing the seasons’ offerings.

In conclusion

This episode explores how household, proper food storage, hygiene practices, and understanding use-by and best-before dates contribute to food safety and minimizing waste. It manifests how mitigating food consumption, planning meals, and embracing seasonal produce leads to more responsible and sustainable practices, reducing consumerism and excessive materialism. Conscious changes cultivate a more organized, efficient, and sustainable home.

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