So, you stagger through the door, arms laden with bags of food comprising your weekly shop. You’re tired – all you want to do is put the food away as quickly as possible and put your feet up. You open the fridge door, haphazardly grab food and drink, and put everything on the first space you spot before sinking blissfully onto your sofa.
Sound familiar? Well, if this is you after your weekly shop, it might be worth taking a few extra minutes when you unload food into the fridge.
Proper Storage Keeps You Healthy
The way you store items in your fridge can have a significant impact on our health, wellbeing and finances.
Let’s start with the basics. We all know not to eat raw meat and that it needs to be thoroughly cooked at high temperatures. Vegetables are much safer though, right? Sometimes they don’t need any cooking at all. Well yes, they are. However, as many of you know, storing meat above vegetables or fruit can cause contamination. Imagine some raw chicken juice leaking from its packaging and dripping on carrots, apples or that lovely fruit trifle on the bottom shelf.
There’s a good chance you won’t notice anything wrong when you take the food out, which could then make you very ill. Ensuring that all your meat is at the bottom of your fridge so it can’t drip on anything is a simple way of protecting yourself and your family.
If you’re in doubt, take a leaf out of the professionals’ book. Chefs frequently arrange their fridges in cooking temperature order. This means items that require low cooking temperatures are at the top and food that requires high temperatures is at the bottom. This way, if anything drips onto something below, any bacteria will be killed in the cooking process.
Cut Down on Waste
If food goes off, you have little choice but to chuck it away. This is both wasteful and expensive. If the food has gone off because you’ve forgotten about it, it’s annoying, but it’s even more so if food has gone off because it hasn’t been stored correctly.
Our handy guide below outlines where items should be stored for optimum temperatures.
What Should Go Where
OK, let’s break this down into some common food types. Of course, all fridges are a little different and you may not have certain features, such as meat drawers or salad crispers. Don’t worry though, our advice will still help you out.
And no, we don’t suggest keeping your cat in the fridge… (Or letting it eat your sausages).
Keep these towards the bottom, where temperatures are at their coolest, to maintain the bite and crunch, though above the raw meat to avoid any nasty germs. If you have a drawer that’s labelled for fruit, it’s the perfect place to keep it as there is often less moisture in the air.
Veggies prefer a bit more moisture than fruit – it helps keep them fresher for longer. If you can control the amount of moisture in your drawers then crank it up a bit or, if you have one, pop them in the drawer that is labelled specifically for vegetables. Otherwise normal drawers are fine for storage.
Sometimes fridge drawers can be a bit small for a bulky items, or they are specifically designed for fruit and veg. In this case, pop the meat on a shelf above, ideally on a large tray or something similar that will catch any drips.
Cold meats, like ham, should be kept toward the bottom of the fridge, preferably in an air tight container or wrapped in cling film.
Most of us keep the milk in the fridge door, but this area can be susceptible to inconsistent temperatures. It’s better to keep milk near the bottom of the fridge, where temperatures are coldest. This can make the bottom of your fridge a bit crowded, but height adjustable shelves come in handy to fit everything in.
Other Dairy Products
Soft cheeses and butter don’t need to be kept all that cold as it will make them harder than most people want. As such, storing them in the dairy compartment on the door is fine, or towards the top of the fridge
Other dairy products like hard cheeses and yoghurts are best kept alongside the milk at the bottom of the fridge, to keep them at their best.
It’s often best to keep your eggs outside the fridge. This is because changing temperatures in a fridge can cause condensation to form, which in turn can increase the risk of germs growing. If you’re dead set on storing eggs in the fridge, keep them towards the middle of the appliance, where temperatures are at their most consistent.
Thing like sauces and cans of soft drinks can be kept in the door or towards the top of the fridge, as it’s less important to keep these cold. They’re also fairly resistant to temperature fluctuations, which makes the door a good choice.
Now you know how to arrange all your produce inside a fridge, why not explore our range of appliances here?