One of the most basic appliances in the house, the refrigerator, may not require any complicated instructions for use. However, many people make mistakes when it comes to proper food storage.
This shortens the shelf life and makes it difficult to maintain hygiene inside the fridge. Here’s some useful advice.
Why is a tidy fridge so beneficial?
Of course, it’s easier to find the products you want in it, but the fridge itself isn’t so overflowing that you can’t even do it in a pretty big mess. It’s about something else: the numerous shelves and storage compartments in the refrigerator are installed on purpose. They organize the space, but are also intended to increase the shelf life of the stored food.
Different products – different optimum temperatures
We store very different types of products in the fridge. Rarely are there foods that should be stored at the same temperature. The different shelves and storage compartments in the equipment are intended to vary the temperatures. It is worth remembering that:
- dry foods are best stored at about 10°C,
- fruit and vegetables require around 5 – 7°C,
- dairy products store well at 3°C,
- meat requires a lower temperature – 0°C is best,
- fish and seafood should be kept at temperatures between -1 and 1°C.
A basic rule: the fridge should not be overloaded
Why is this so important? There must be enough space between the products stored in the fridge. This allows for proper air circulation. Only then will the temperatures reached inside be in accordance with the manufacturer’s declaration. This, in turn, is essential for optimal food storage conditions
Shelving: where should each type of product be stored?
The different shelves and drawers have been designed and arranged so that specific types of food can be stored on them. Keep in mind that the temperature inside a refrigerator is not uniform. In particular, keep in mind such locations as:
- the inside of the door – there will be room here for products that react badly to too much cooling or freezing. This is why butter, for example, is placed on the inside of the door so that it does not need to be defrosted before being spread on bread. This is also the right place for drinks, ketchup or mustard;
- lower shelves in the refrigerator – the temperature here is about 2 degrees Celsius. It will work well especially for storing fresh meat and fish;
- middle shelves – here it is slightly warmer, usually from 5 to even 8 degrees. These are ideal conditions for storing eggs, yogurt, cream, milk, but also cold meat;
- lower drawers – this is where fresh fruit and vegetables should be stored. The prevailing temperature, about 10°C, will make the products stay fresh longer without being damaged.
Important: some fruit and vegetables should not be stored in a refrigerator because they quickly lose their properties. These include: onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, bananas, pears, avocados, kiwi and watermelon.
What else is worth remembering? A few useful rules
There are several valuable tricks and rules that allow you to make better use of the refrigerator to keep food in good condition
It is important to remember that:
- do not put hot food into the refrigerator – the cooling unit works to stabilize the temperature inside at a sufficiently low level. The heat evaporating from the food will make it have to do extra work to equalize the temperature;
- the food needs to be sorted first – this helps with the functional use of the fridge;
- remove water from fruits and vegetables – this will increase their shelf life;
- sort food in containers or bags – this keeps the properties of the food longer but also prevents unnecessary mixing of smells.
We also take care to defrost the fridge regularly.
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