Have you ever gone to the fridge to find an item, only to discover it is long past its sell-by date after being shoved to the back and forgotten? Do you have to throw away ham or cheese that is dry and inedible, or wilted vegetables and rotten fruit? Here are some tips to prevent this from happening.
Never place items in the refrigerator randomly. Make sure that raw meat and fish are always placed at the bottom, coolest part and that chilled items such as cream, butter and yoghurts are at the top, in the chiller unit if there is one. Most refrigerators have built-in egg storage, but eggs keep better if they remain in their boxes.
Containers and Bags
If left uncovered, fresh produce can cause contamination and make your refrigerator smell. This essential kitchen appliance will preserve food safely if it is properly stored. All perishable food should be kept in ziplock bags or plastic containers. These should be clearly labeled with contents and expiry dates.
Vegetables, with the exception of potatoes and onions, should be stored in the crisper drawer at the bottom. This usually includes a humidity control, to maintain the moist conditions that vegetables need. Placing them in perforated, plastic bags will further prevent moisture loss. Mushrooms are best kept in a paper bag in the crisper drawer.
Most fruit should be placed in separate plastic bags in the crisper drawer, although tomatoes, melons and citrus fruits taste best when stored at room temperature. Melon can be sliced and stored in an air-tight container.
Many people save food left over at the end of a meal, to be reheated at another time. Keep a supply of plastic, lidded containers to put leftovers in. If you plan to use them within a few days, put them in the fridge; otherwise freeze them. Designate a shelf especially for the plastic containers that contain leftovers, so that they don’t get lost among larger items. Make sure that you clearly label the contents and include the date, as it is easy to forget how long containers have been inside.
Keeping your fridge organized and tidy may seem like too much effort, but it will save you time and money in the long run.