There are a few rules of storing food in your fridge to follow in order to keep your fridge organized. Perhaps you think that when you throw your food in the fridge, it does all the work, but it’s much more complicated than you think. Food storage rules to follow are all about preventing cross-contamination of raw v cooked, fresh v processed, and making better use of the varying temperatures of certain areas of your fridge. Here are a few tips to follow:
1. Salads and vegetables
To stay fresh the longest, vegetables and salads prefer not extreme cold and less humidity. The vegetable/salad drawer is the moistest place in the fridge. Isn’t it great how manufacturers really help us with how to keep our fridge organized by giving us plenty of compartments, spaces and drawers?
I’ll probably never understand why most manufacturers have designed refrigerators with the idea that people store milk in the refrigerator door, since that is the fridge’s area that gets the biggest temperature fluctuations. Sometimes we also put milk on the top shelf of the fridge and that is another mistake. Make it a rule to store milk on the bottom shelf, where it’s coldest.
Many people think there’s no need to keep eggs in the fridge. I recommend you to keep them on the middle shelf of your fridge, where the temperature is most consistent. However, if you buy small quantities, there’s no need to refrigerate them. The dating on the box is a great indicator when you’re concerned about the freshness of the eggs. All boxes are stamped with two dates – the date in which it was packed and the use-by date. According to the USDA, the expiration date must not exceed 30 days.
4. Dairy products
Like milk, cottage cheese, cream and yogurt must be stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge. As for hard cheese, you can store it anywhere. Just be sure to remove it from the fridge an hour before serving as hard cheese tastes better at room temperature. Butter and soft cheeses can be stored in the door shelves since they don’t need to be extra cold.
Since I have a very small fridge, I don’t keep condiments in the fridge but only due to lack of space. Most condiments you purchase have a lot of preservatives. They contain plenty of sugar, salt and vinegar, so it would be a nice idea to keep them in the fridge. You can keep them in the door of your fridge, or anywhere you have space for it.
6. Fruit juices
If fruit juices are pasteurized, they should be stored in the fridge door. But, if you have any freshly-squeezed juice, make sure you place it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. I personally didn’t know about it before, but when I started to follow this tip my freshly-squeezed juice stays fresh longer.
7. Deli and cooked meats
Do you have a shallow meat drawer? If so, this is great for deli and cooked meats. The thing is that a meat drawer is a bit colder than the rest of the refrigerator. If you don’t have specific meat drawer, you can store your deli and cooked meats on the bottom shelf of the fridge.
8. Raw meat
Most of these tips on how to store food in your fridge do actually mean that the bottom shelf of your fridge could be over-packed and other spaces could be empty. If you are going to follow these tips you will have to think about what you purchase and how much of it will go on the bottom shelf. Raw meat should be also stored on the bottom shelf since it helps prevent cross contamination between processed foods and raw meat.
Just like vegetables and salads, fruits thrive best in the low humidity drawers. Try to keep them in a loose plastic bag or in their original packaging. Don’t wash fruits as well as veggies before you put them in your fridge.
Do you know how to keep your fridge organized? Did you know above these tips? Will you use them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.