Where to Properly Store Your Food in the Refrigerator
Believe it or not, there are some simple cold storage guidelines that will keep your food very fresh and safe to eat. Keeping your refrigerator organized and clean properly will not only make for better meals, but can contribute to your overall health. It is common practice to place cold storage food items in a dedicated spot in the fridge. Many of us in Austin, TX just follow the labels on the refrigerator drawers, and then throw everything else where it will fit. Certain foods can be detrimental to each other if stored within the same vicinity, while others can help preserve flavor if they are kept close together. Here are a few storage guidelines that are easy to follow:
Domestic diva Sara Lynn Cauchon schools us on what to store, where in the fridge.Door
Because the door is constantly being opened, it is the warmest part of the refrigerator. As such, it’s the perfect place to store condiments and other stable foodstuffs.Meat Drawer
Many newer fridges now have a designated meat drawer, which (surprise, surprise) is designed for storing and thawing meat. If you don’t have a meat drawer in your fridge, use a rimmed baking sheet to prevent leaks and cross-contamination with other foods. Tip: Unopened lunch meats are safe until their sell-by date but, once opened, shouldn’t be kept for longer than five days.
Heat rises, even in the fridge, so items that need to be kept particularly cool should be stored elsewhere. Instead, use the top shelf for chill-injury-prone fruits and veggies, such as mango, papaya, avocado, tomato and pickling cucumbers. (Ripen at room temperature before refrigerating.) Snap beans, berries, citrus and melon are other top-shelf fodder. Bonus: You’ll have easy access to healthy snacks!
Dairy and eggs are your coolest customers, making the middle shelf your best bet for storing them. Also, it’s important that cheese not be exposed to too much oxygen, so wrap it first in parchment or plastic wrap, then in foil or a plastic bag. Eggs can be stored in their original carton but should be kept away from anything stinky as they can absorb odours through the shell.
The crisper’s humid environment provides vegetables with water, which keeps them at their best. Lettuce, asparagus and broccoli are great crisper candidates. Tip: Make sure greens are completely dry before storing; try a salad spinner, which prevents moisture from collecting on the leaves themselves.
Fridge Faux Pas
The following should never be stored in the fridge: garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions and shallots. Stash ‘em in a cold cellar instead. But don’t store onions and potatoes together; they each cause the other to spoil more quickly.
Info courtesy of livewellnetwork.com
Keep in mind that it is best to clean out your fridge right before you go to the market so that you have space. This practice will keep your produce fresh, and will get rid of any permeating odors that can spoil a good meal. Also, you can make sure your cold items have not reached their storage limit so that items do not spoil before you find out the hard way. Leave a comment on our Facebook page if you have food safety tips to add.
Photo courtesy of Don Hankins